SHORT BROTHERS AVIATION PIONEERS
Their Contribution to Aviation Heritage 1894 - 1947
Project Principal is Liz Walker, great, great niece of the three Short brothers
The SHORT BROTHERS, Horace, Eustace and Oswald were true aviation pioneers and made many highly significant contributions to UK and modern world-wide aviation and yet the importance of their pioneering work and their innovations in the design and manufacture of early aircraft and the impact of these innovations on modern aviation is not widely recognised.
The Brothers set up the worlds’ first aeroplane factory at Shellbeach on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent in 1909 and started production with a licence from the Wright Brothers to build six Wright ‘Flyers’ and their own Short No.2 aeroplane. These aircraft were all bought by The Aero Club members e.g. The Hon. Charles Rolls; Frank McClean; Griffith Brewer et al.
The famous aviator and aeroplane manufacturer C.F. Fairey wrote of Horace Short….
J. Lankester Parker O.B.E, one-time Chief Test Pilot and later Company director, wrote of Oswald Short…..
“The contribution made by Oswald Short to the technical side of aviation is, I think, far greater than is generally realised and in my view he has never received the rightful tribute for his imaginative and practical work in this connection.”
Oswald feared this lack of awareness of the important role Short Brothers played with their contributions to aviation. This fear is, even now, reflected in the shocking state of their graves. They are in such a poor condition and almost unmarked in terms of their importance to our heritage. They are three national monuments.
The installation of stainless steel plaques on each grave has given investigators the information and the help needed for them recognise the importance of these remarkable brothers, highlighting the enormous contribution they made to aviation.
The main outcome of our Project would be the raising of awareness and provision of free access to information hitherto ‘buried’. We are bringing together the myriad strands of ‘stories’ from SHORTS BOYS – the men women and boys employed by Shorts into a coherent ‘SHORT’ STORY told on this website and so engage aviation heritage researchers, from school age to old age, with the materials and knowledge needed to place the Brothers in their true position in aviation history.