Short Brothers Aviation Pioneers

1910 – 1915

Eastchurch: 1910 - 1915

Eastchurch 1912

PUSHER – Propeller behind wings pushing

TRACTOR – Propeller in front of the wings pulling

HYDRO – An aeroplane built for take-off and landing on water DATE – The year the plane went into service

Further development followed and in 1912 Commander Samson flew a modified Short S38 from a platform erected on the deck of H.M.S. Hibernia.

During the naval manoeuvers of the following year the performance was repeated whilst the carrier ship, H.M.S. Africa, was steaming into Weymouth Harbour at 15 knots. By this time Shorts float planes were being used extensively in naval manoeuvres.

The first man ever to fly underneath several bridges on the River Thames, between Tower Bridge and Westminster was Frank McClean in a Short S33 pusher biplane on August 10th 1912.

He landed on the water alongside the Houses of Parliament to draw attention to the efficiency of the hydro-aeroplane and to demonstrate it to the thousands who had never seen one before. It was a publicity ‘stunt’ to show the float planes wonderful capabilities.

During the period 1911 – 1914 the history of the Short Brothers at Eastchurch was the history of our naval airpower.

The twin-float SHORT seaplanes did fine work all through the war in places where war and water met.