Short Brothers Aviation Pioneers

1917 – 1947

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

HARRY JAMES WOOLLEY.... from Lyn and David Woolley

My husband’s grandfather worked for Shorts in Rochester from 1927 – 1947. He started in the coach building department as a sheet metal worker working on a variety of aircraft. He then became a Progress Engineer spending the last three years on the development side.

In 1938 Harry was sent to Alexandria, Egypt to repair an Imperial Airways plane (a Calcutta?) which was damaged on landing in the harbour and hitting a half-submerged log. The journey out took two days and was broken by a night’s stay. He was away until June and we have his tickets, photographs and some letters he sent and received whilst out there. What an amazing adventure it must have been for a working class man back then.

My father-in-law can remember his dad, during wartime, going off to work and coming back days later as he did his shifts and then was a fire watcher at the factory. We have his pass for the factory and a pass to use ‘the tow-path’ which we assume was The Esplanade.

Somewhere we have a letter opener made from a piece of aluminium from a Sunderland’s rib and the handle is part of a throttle lever.

Harry also has a commendation for a Sunderland safety door he designed.