Short Brothers Aviation Pioneers

1917 – 1947

Rochester: 1917 - 1947

1917 - 1918

It was to the end of the First World War, in 1917, that Horace died at Eastchurch and Oswald, the youngest of the three brothers took over the management of the company and revealed himself to have sound judgement and the ability to exercise skilful direction of affairs.

1919 - 1924

Oswald never lost faith in the future of aviation and focussed his attention to the development of design and innovative manufacture of aircraft. He foresaw and championed the use of stressed metal-skinned aircraft.

1926 - 1927

The investment in the testing tank and the development of long single-stepped metal floats that eliminated the need for tail floats improved the ‘posture’ of seaplanes and led to the next phase of light seaplane aircraft development and the

S7 Mussel. Sets of landing gear were produced for both land and water

1926 - 1928

In 1926, following the fitting of a new design of metal hull to an otherwise standard ‘F’ Class flying boat, the Singapore 1, a completely ‘new’ aircraft emerged.

1930 - 1935

Although flying boats had proved to be a huge success it was still felt that seaplanes were superior for certain duties and so in 1930 Shorts developed a large three-engined seaplane and called it the Valetta.


A modification of the Empire flying boat was chosen for one of the most daring aeronautical experiments ever undertaken – The Short Mayo Composite.


Their majesties, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth’s interest in the building of the famous Short flying boats at the Seaplane Works on the banks of the Medway and new landplanes at the Rochester Airport factory was indicated by their historic tour of the works and was marked by the production of a souvenir booklet entitled ‘A ROYAL VISIT'

1943 - 1947

1943 March of this year saw the takeover of Shorts by the government under the ‘guidance’ of Stafford Cripps and the compulsory acquisition was completed when the directors of the Company were ‘invited’ to resign. They all did so!