Grahame Park Way, NW9

Place Name

Claude Grahame-White (August 21, 1879 – August 19, 1959) was a pioneer of aviation, and the first to make a night flight, during the Daily Mail-sponsored 1910 London to Manchester air race. He became the sixth Englishman to qualify as a pilot, becoming the holder of Royal Aero Club certificate No. 6. He went on to compete in various competitions on both sides of the Atlantic, winning prizes including the Gordon Bennett Aviation Cup. He heavily promoted the uses of flight for both commercial and military aims, he also experimented with fitting various weapons and bombs to aircraft. During the war itself he flew the first night patrol mission against an expected German raid on September 5, 1914. In 1911 Grahame-White had established a flying school at Hendon Aerodrome, which was lent to the Admiralty during the war, and eventually taken over by the RAF in 1919, being bought by them six years later. After this he lost his interest in aviation, eventually moving to Nice, where he died in 1959 having made a fortune in property development in the UK and US. The aerodrome later became RAF Hendon but after flying ceased there in the 1960s it was largely redeveloped as a housing estate which was named Grahame Park in tribute to Grahame-White. An original World War I Grahame-White aircraft factory hangar was relocated a few years ago to the Royal Air Force Museum London, where it houses the museum’s World War I collection and is named the Grahame White Factory.

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