LONDON, July 26, 1909 (UP) - London gave a tremendous welcome Monday to Louis Bleriot, the French aeronaut who crossed the English channel in his monoplane Sunday morning, when 500,000 people met him at the station and another half million cheered him on his way to the Savoy hotel, where the daring aeronaut was the guest of honor at a luncheon.
Hundreds of notable figures in England joined in the vast throng and submitted to all sorts of inconveniences just to get a glimpse of the aviator who in 30 minutes accomplished a feat that has immortalized his name.
Bleriot was overcome by the intensity of enthusiasm and the wild display in his honor. He declared that the honors shown him compensated him a hundredfold for the fortune he has spent mastering aviation.
The Daily Mail's 5,000 pound prize was formally turned over to Bleriot when he reached the Savoy by Lord Northcliffe, amid scenes which for enthusiasm have seldom been equaled.
Most of Dover was still asleep Sunday when the monoplane swept over the chalk cliffs, after a trip averaging more than 45 miles an hour, and at times approaching a mile a minute. Two of his countrymen, who had been waving the French colors as a signal marking the landing place, kissed Bleriot and pounded him on the back, and with a few soldiers, who were the only other spectators at the landing, escorted him to Dover.
Bleriot's wife had arrived by boat, and with her husband was soon the center of an admiring crowd at breakfast.
Londoners flocked by the thousand Monday to the American department store of Henry C. Selfridge to view the Bleriot monoplane. Selfridge gave $1,000 to a London hospital in return for permission to exhibit the aeroplane, and his enterprise is being richly rewarded.
English aeronauts are keenly disappointed that the honor of being the first to cross the English channel fell to a Frenchman, but they are not chary in giving Bleriot full credit. The feat has served to intensify the outcry against England's backwardness in aviation, and there is apprehension lest the development in aeronautics by other countries, particularly Germany, lead to the downfall of England in the event of war.
The achievement of Bleriot has increased private subscriptions to purchase airships for the government. A $5,000 subscription was received Monday from Waldorf Astor, the self-expatriated American millionaire.