Short Brothers Aviation Pioneers

1917 – 1947

SHORTS BOYS | These are the men, women and boys who worked for Short Brothers


“My paternal grandfather, Arthur Henry Crowe (1876 – 1947), worked for Short Bros at Eastchurch. He was a labourer. He used to tell me how he was in charge of the horse that used to pull the flying machines from the hanger and had his photographs in the early issues of Flight Magazine.”

“The person leading the horse in the first photograph might well be my grandfather. In the second photograph the person next to the horse with his back to the camera might also be. Even if I had a photograph of my grandfather it would be difficult to make the comparison since the definition is so poor. So I can never be sure.”

Other anecdotes: “Horace Short suffered from brachycephaly and was very short-tempered with my grandfather but apparently tolerant. After a bust up between the two of them my grandfather had been called all the names under the sun, grandfather replied ‘At least you wouldn’t call any one Bighead Guv.”

The early machines had skids and when they landed they dug their noses into the ground and often the propellers broke. Grandad suggested fitting landing wheels.

Horace was furious. “You keep your mouth shut, Arthur”. It meant more money for Shorts if they had to fit new propellers.