Ron was employed by Short Brothers in 1942 in the Planning Office. He and his friend, Arthur Butler, had to spend time in No.3 shop before moving to an office, as an office boy, at the Strood Extension factory.
One of his jobs was to investigate the problems caused by the dropping of a heavy tool such as a ‘riveting dolly’ that made a hole in the aircraft wing or fuselage and then to follow it through to being fully repaired.
His wife’s family lived on a boat moored on the Medway that they had to move when incendiary bombs were dropped on the Seaplane Works factory. Ronald and Arthur later found unexploded bombs that had had a soft landing in the river mud and pulled them from the mud unaware of the danger.
Ronald’s father in law was a founder member of the Royal Aeronautical Society [R.Ae.S.] and a marine engineer – George Batchelor.
His sister in law, Gladys Batchelor, recalled “ I learned to fly at Gravesend Airport, taught by Alan Cobham and by 1934 I was flying a British Klemm Swallow monoplane, G-ACXD, that was registered to Uncle Albert as I was too young to register it in my name. I kept it at the newly established Short Brothers private airfield at Rochester and I was the first private pilot to have permission to fly from this airfield. Shorts also allowed me to build a small shed in which to keep my aircraft.
I used to commute down to Ramsgate to see my school friend, Mary Gaunt, and I would land in a cabbage field at Westwood.”
Memories of Rochester’s Air Queen – Gladys Batchelor. Bygone Kent 1983