Henry Sullivan being greased on French beach

Glass negative showing Henry Sullivan, channel swimmer, on a beach in France with a group of people, some of whom are applying grease to the swimmers torso.

Henry Sullivan, from Lowell, Massachusetts, USA, was the 3rd man to swim the Channel, on his 7th attempt, at age 34 in 1923. Left Shakespeare Cliff and landed at Calais sands, 26 hrs 50 mins.  Accompanied by the Folkestone lugger ‘Day Spring’ and 2 Dover galleys.

He won the Channel Swimming Cup presented by A. Alexander. The Cup was made of silver, was 37 3/4 ins tall, and weighed 26lbs (the Cup was auctioned in America in 2011 for $20,000) and £1000 prize from the Daily Sketch.

He was in Dover preparing for another attempt in August 1914 when the declaration of war forced him to cancel and return to the USA

England to France: 25/8/13 (failed), 25/8/20 (failed), 8/9/20 (failed), 9/9/21 (failed), 21/9/21 (failed) 5+6/8/23 (success), time 26 hours 50 minutes – the longest time for a successful swim untill 2010

France to England: 25/8/21 (failed)

Comments about this page

  • I believe the tall man to the right of Henry F Sullivan greasing him, was my grand uncle John J Conlon from Crossmaglen County Armagh. He lived in Lowell MA, USA as did Sullivan. He died there in 1940. After this swim, Sullivan, Conlon and a Captain Smith sailed from Tilbury Docks on the President Polk. This was written in a notebook my grandfather Richard Conlon had.

    By Richard Conlon (12/05/2020)

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