Claude Grahame White
Claude Grahame White was an English pioneer of aviation
Aviation is the design, development, production, operation, and use of aircraft, especially heavier-than-air aircraft. Aviation is derived from avis, the Latin word for bird.-History:...

, and the first to make a night flight, during the Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

 sponsored 1910 London to Manchester air race
1910 London to Manchester air race
The 1910 London to Manchester air race took place between two aviators, who each attempted to win a heavier-than-air powered flight challenge between London and Manchester, first proposed by the Daily Mail newspaper in 1906. The £10,000 prize was won in April 1910 by Frenchman Louis Paulhan.The...


Early life

Claude Grahame-White was born in Bursledon
Bursledon is a village on the River Hamble in Hampshire, England. It is located within the borough of Eastleigh. Close to the city of Southampton, Bursledon has a railway station, a marina, dockyards and the Bursledon Windmill. Nearby villages include Swanwick, Hamble-le-Rice, Netley and Sarisbury...

, Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

 in 1879. He learned to drive in 1895, was apprenticed as an engineer and later started his own motor engineering company. In 1909 he learned to fly in France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and became one of the first Englishmen to qualify as a pilot
An aviator is a person who flies an aircraft. The first recorded use of the term was in 1887, as a variation of 'aviation', from the Latin avis , coined in 1863 by G. de la Landelle in Aviation Ou Navigation Aérienne...

. In 1912 he married his wife Ethel.

Achievements in Aviation

Grahame-White became a celebrity in England in April 1910 when he competed with the French pilot Louis Paulhan
Louis Paulhan
Isidore Auguste Marie Louis Paulhan, known as Louis Paulhan, was a pioneering French aviator who in 1910 flew "Le Canard", the world's first seaplane, designed by Henri Fabre....

 for the £10,000 prize offered by the "Daily Mail
Daily Mail
The Daily Mail is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust. First published in 1896 by Lord Northcliffe, it is the United Kingdom's second biggest-selling daily newspaper after The Sun. Its sister paper The Mail on Sunday was launched in 1982...

" newspaper for the first flight between London and Manchester in under 24 hours. Although Paulhan won the prize, Grahame White's achievement was widely praised.
On July 2, 1910, Claude Grahame-White, in his Farman
Farman Aviation Works was an aeronautic enterprise founded and run by the brothers; Richard, Henri, and Maurice Farman. They designed and constructed aircraft and engines from 1908 until 1936; during the French nationalization and rationalization of its aerospace industry, Farman's assets were...

 biplane, won the £1,000 first prize for Aggregate Duration in Flight (1 hr 23 min 20 secs) at the Midlands Aviation Meeting at Wolverhampton
Wolverhampton is a city and metropolitan borough in the West Midlands, England. For Eurostat purposes Walsall and Wolverhampton is a NUTS 3 region and is one of five boroughs or unitary districts that comprise the "West Midlands" NUTS 2 region...

. In the same year he won the Gordon Bennett Aviation Cup
Gordon Bennett Cup
There were three Gordon Bennett Cups, all established by James Gordon Bennett, Jr.*Gordon Bennett Cup in auto racing*Gordon Bennett Cup in ballooning — for a time, a separate cup was also awarded for powered air racing...

 in Belmont Park
Belmont Park
Belmont Park is a major thoroughbred horse-racing facility located in Elmont in the Town of Hempstead in Nassau County, New York, on Long Island adjoining New York City. It first opened on May 4, 1905...

, Long Island
Long Island
Long Island is an island located in the southeast part of the U.S. state of New York, just east of Manhattan. Stretching northeast into the Atlantic Ocean, Long Island contains four counties, two of which are boroughs of New York City , and two of which are mainly suburban...

, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, for which he was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Aero Club.

On October 14, 1910 while in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 Grahame-White flew his Farman biplane over the city and landed on Executive Avenue near the White House
White House
The White House is the official residence and principal workplace of the president of the United States. Located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW in Washington, D.C., the house was designed by Irish-born James Hoban, and built between 1792 and 1800 of white-painted Aquia sandstone in the Neoclassical...

. Rather than being arrested Claude was celebrated for the feat by the newspapers. His noted achievements though were centred in the commercialisation of aeronautics. He was also involved in promoting the military application of air power before the First World War with a campaign called "Wake Up Britain", and experimented with fitting various weapons and bombs to planes. During the war itself he mounted the first aerial defence of a city.
In 1911 he established a teaching school at Hendon
Hendon is a London suburb situated northwest of Charing Cross.-History:Hendon was historically a civil parish in the county of Middlesex. The manor is described in Domesday , but the name, 'Hendun' meaning 'at the highest hill', is earlier...

, which quickly became Hendon Aerodrome
Hendon Aerodrome
Hendon Aerodrome was an aerodrome in Hendon, north London, England that, between 1908 and 1968, was an important centre for aviation.It was situated in Colindale, seven miles north west of Charing Cross. It nearly became "the Charing Cross of the UK's international air routes", but for the...

. The Aerodrome was lent to the Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

 (1916), and eventually taken over by the RAF in 1919. Grahame White's aerodrome was purchased by the RAF
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 in 1925, after a long and protracted legal struggle. After this he lost his interest in aviation, eventually moving to Nice
Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of 348,721 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of more than 955,000 on an area of...

 in his old age, where he died in 1959 having made a fortune in property development in the UK and US.

Hendon Aerodrome later became RAF Hendon but after flying ceased there in the 1960s it was then 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 relocated a few years ago at the RAF Museum
RAF Museum
The Royal Air Force Museum London, commonly known as the RAF Museum, is a museum located on the former Hendon Aerodrome, dedicated to the history of aviation and the British Royal Air Force. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Ministry of Defence and a registered charity...

 houses the museum's World War I collection and is named the Grahame White Factory.

Grahame-White Aviation Company
Grahame-White was an early British aircraft manufacturer, flying school and later manufacturer of cyclecars.The company was established as Grahame-White Aviation Company by Claude Grahame-White at Hendon in 1911...

In 1911 a company was formed to cover his aviation interests, including the aerodromes and developed some aircraft. One of the designers was John Dudley North who would become Boulton & Paul's chief designer.
  • Grahame-White Baby
    Grahame-White Baby
    |-See also:-References:NotesBibliography*Lewis, P. British Aircraft 1809-1914 London, Putnam 1962*Taylor M.J. H. Jane's Encyclopedia of Aviation.London: Studio Editions, 1989* Flugsport 1911*...

  • Grahame-White Type VII Popular
  • Grahame-White Type X Charabanc
  • Grahame-White Type XI
    Grahame-White Type XI
    The Grahame-White Type XI was an early aircraft built in the United Kingdom and marketed as being particularly well-suited to military applications. It was a two-bay biplane of pod-and-boom configuration with unstaggered wings of slightly unequal span...

  • Grahame-White Type XIII
    Grahame-White Type XIII
    The Grahame-White Type XIII was a racing seaplane built to compete in the Daily Mails 1914 Circuit of Britain air race, to be flown by company founder Claude Grahame-White. It was a conventional single-bay biplane with staggered wings of equal span braced by N-struts...

     Circuit of Britain biplane/scout
  • Grahame-White Type XV
    Grahame-White Type XV
    -External links:*...

  • Grahame-White Type 18
  • Grahame-White G.W.19 (License-built Breguet Bre.5)
  • Grahame-White Type 20 Scout (Prototype only)
  • Grahame-White Type 21 Scout (Prototype only)
  • Grahame-White Ganymede
    Grahame-White Ganymede
    -References:*"" . Flight, 10 April 1919, p.472.*Bruce, J.M. British Aeroplanes 1914-18. London:Putnam, 1957.*Jackson, A.J. British Civil Aircraft since 1919: Volume 2. London:Putnam, Second edition, 1973. ISBN 0 370 10010 7....

  • Grahame-White G.W.E.7
    Grahame-White G.W.E.7
    -External links: Contemporary technical description of the G.W.E.7 with photographs and drawings....

  • Grahame-White Bantam
    Grahame-White Bantam
    -References: Contemporary technical description with photographs and drawings....


As well as his success in aviation Claude Grahame White was a published author whose works include:

The Story of the Aeroplane;
The Aeroplane, Past, Present, and Future, 1911;
The Aeroplane in War;
Aviation, 1912;
Learning to Fly, 1914;
Aircraft in the Great War, 1915;
Air Power', 1917;
Our First Airways, their Organisation, Equipment, and Finance, 1918;
Books for Boys;
Heroes of the Air;
With the Airmen;
The Air King’s Treasure;
The Invisible War-Plane;
Heroes of the Flying Corps; Flying, an Epitome and a Forecast, 1930

He also made many contributions to the daily papers, reviews, and monthly magazines dealing with the subject of aeronautics in its military and commercial aspects.

External links

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