Hengist Way, SM6

Place Name

One of a number of roads commemorating some of the eight biplanes that were used by Imperial Airways, that were named after historical and quasi-mythical heroes. Hengist was an Anglo-Saxon leader who, along with his brother Horsa, came to Britain as a mercenary in the 5thCentury, betraying his paymasters, he became king of Kent. The plane Hengist first served on the European route, taking up to 38 passengers and a few stewards, until 1934 when it was converted to the ‘eastern type’, meaning that it could take only 24 passengers but could carry more fuel to be able to cross further distances without stopping. These four-engine aircraft made by engineers Handley Page in 1928 operated out of Croydon Airport in the 1920s and 1930s where Imperial Airways’s headquarters were based. Hengist first flew on 8 December 1931. It was destroyed by a hanger fire in Karachi in May 1937, while making the first ever UK to Australia postal flight.


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