At Dover on 6th September 1911, under a warm blue sky, Yorkshireman Thomas Burgess, aged 37, started his 16thattempt to swim the English Channel.
He was stark naked except for a pair of motorist’s goggles and a rubber bathing cap, and was smothered with lard. Badly seasick and stung by jellyfish, his spirits were lifted by an accompanying boat crew singing to him whilst he was fortified by hot chocolate, grapes and 20 drops of champagne each hour.
He land near Sangatte, almost an entire day later. Remarkably he had only done 18 hours training for the swim that year.