Featured Destination

September 2019: Autumn in the Southern Chilterns

We feel an autumn break should be about embracing the beauty of the season rather than trying to escape it in the search for year-round ...More
More Uk destinations

Francis Chichester
- Favourite Briton.

Born in Barnstaple, Devon
Born on 17th of September 1901
Died on 26th of August 1972

Sir Francis Chichester is best known for his exploits on the high sea. On August 27, 1966 he sailed his ketch Gipsy Moth IV from Plymouth, England in an attempt to sail single-handedly around the globe. After 226 days of sailing, on 28 May 1967, he returned to Plymouth having circumnavigated the globe, with one stop (in Sydney, Australia). By doing so he became the first man to complete the circumnavigation via the Great Capes.

On his return to England, in a rare public investiture, Chichester was knighted at Greenwich by HM Queen Elizabeth II using the very same sword with which Queen Elizabeth I had knighted Francis Drake. Chichester had already crossed the Atlantic several times prior to that. He won the first single-handed transatlantic race in 1960.

What is less well known is that Chichester was also an aviator, and one of the early pioneers of long distance flying. In 1929 he had made the world's second solo flight to Australia from England. He was the first aviator to make the solo flight across the Tasman Sea from East to West. Chichester also attempted a solo circumnavigate the world by air. He flew from New Zealand where he had a successful mining and forestry business. He made it to Japan but when taking-off from Katsuura Harbour Wakayama he collided with an overhead cable, sustaining serious injuries.

After his business interests dissolved in the Great Depression he returned to England. After the war he founded a successful map making business which is still trading to this day.

The remarkable Chichester was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer in 1958. His wife Sheila put him on a strict vegetarian diet and his cancer went into remission and he survived.

Back in 1944 the pair purchased the William and Mary house in the fashionable St. James's Place, London. This was their home but and also the headquarters of their business interests. It remains the home of the Francis Chichester Limited company to this day.

Links: Gipsy Moth web site

More famous Britons here

Contributors: Do you have a site related to Francis Chichester?
Supply some content for this page and we will gladly add a link to your site. Email here.

6167 views since 31st January 2007

Brit Quote:
Men of my age live in a state of continual desperation. - Vita Sackville-West
More Quotes

On this day:
Worlds Oldest Football Club Founded - 1857, Wall Street Crash - 1929, Formation of UN - 1945, Last Commercial Concorde Flight - 2003
More dates from British history

click here to view all the British counties

County Pages