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Author Topic: Short Brothers of Rochester  (Read 111264 times)

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Offline peterchall

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #67 on: September 03, 2012, 18:06:06 »
Footage of stills and flight of Shetland MkII taking off and landing at Rochester. What a sight this must have been!
Thanks for posting that RWTA. Good job the M2 bridge was not there then otherwise they would have had to have flown under it! Amazing to see something that size fly off from a place most of us know. Did they ever attempt to land(?) from the other direction? Or even fly off down river? Surely during the War they would have had to have got them airborne regardless of wind and weather.
S4.

There was only 1 Shetland I built, as an intended replacement for the Sunderland. Despite its specification being issued in 1940 its first flight didn’t take place until 11 December 1944, by which time the urgencies of war didn’t apply. The Shetland II was intended as a civil airliner and first flew on 1 September 1947 and was intended to go into production at Belfast, but again only one was produced.

To answer the question regarding direction, I never heard of any take-offs or landings other than as mentioned, even by the Sunderlands.
Take-off run was tight even for the smaller Sunderlands. They started their run from right up against the bridge and could just about lift off over the low ground opposite the factory. They couldn't have cleared the bridge if going the other way, so presumably were limited to flying on days when the wind was in the right direction.

When 'landing' (do seaplanes do that?) it meant just clearing the bridge by a few feet - quite a sight when looking down on them from the Castle Gardens.

Then they would lose enough speed to be able to follow the bend in the river by the factory, then turn and come back to the moorings by Wingets, from where the crew would be collected by a little open motor boat.
I don’t know for certain, but I’m sure there must have been limitations imposed by the weather, although they only ever flew lightly loaded.

It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Dolly

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #66 on: September 03, 2012, 17:13:07 »
Thank you for answering Herb Collector, so it will remain a mystery for some time if not ever :(
I don't suppose you have any ideas how to track his life 1911 -1917
This is on his attestation ;-  PI 42776 Alfred Glanville Bishop. classed as A1 fit. Qualified Wireless Operator. occupation in civil life- officer in charge of wireless telegraphy ( examinators service ) commander officer F W Mace RNR ( Royal Naval Reserve ), Mersey Dock, Harbour Board, Liverpool from Aug 4 1914 to Oct 1917. Transferred to Calshot 10.12.17 then to  Eastchurch 29.12.17.
I have become quite fixed on his short life!
thanks again  Dolly

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #65 on: September 02, 2012, 23:36:11 »
I am hoping :) that someone may know of the whereabouts of the Short Brothers company records 1911-1917.

Sadly I think they no longer exist. I know that drawings pre 1945 were disposed of. Recently drawings of the Short Stirling were discovered in a scrap yard office being used as note paper!
The Short Brothers photo archive has recently been transferred  to the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. Long term it is hoped to put them on line. It remains to be seen if any documents will be transferred.

Offline Sentinel S4

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #64 on: September 02, 2012, 18:02:08 »
Footage of stills and flight of Shetland MkII taking off and landing at Rochester. What a sight this must have been!

Thanks for posting that RWTA. Good job the M2 bridge was not there then otherwise they would have had to have flown under it! Amazing to see something that size fly off from a place most of us know. Did they ever attempt to land(?) from the other direction? Or even fly off down river? Surely during the War they would have had to have got them airborne regardless of wind and weather. It was nice to see that even toward the end of the flying-boat era that certain of the early design parameters were still in place, ie. build them ugly. I refer to that awful Armstrong Argosy and not the Handley Page HP 42's. It is a pity their kind are not still with us, imagine something the size of the Airbus A380 thundering down the Thames/Medway Estuary............... :)

S4.
A day without learning something is a day lost and my brain is hungry. Feed me please.

Dolly

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #63 on: September 02, 2012, 17:00:04 »
Hello Forum,
 I am hoping :) that someone may know of the whereabouts of the Short Brothers company records 1911-1917. An ancestor, Alfred Granville Bishop, may have been trained/worked for them prior to WW1 as a 15+ year old. His Shorts seaplane crashed (report says "pilot error") and he was presumed dead in Sept. 1918. Already a trained wireless operator and pilot before joining the RAF, he was "sent to Borstal " by family repute from home near Hackney.
I have his service record and this gives no clue as to his training.
Please can anyone advise
Thank you,  Dolly

Offline peterchall

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #62 on: May 24, 2012, 22:53:51 »
Take-off run was tight even for the smaller Sunderlands. They started their run from right up against the bridge and could just about lift off over the low ground opposite the factory. They couldn't have cleared the bridge if going the other way, so presumably were limited to flying on days when the wind was in the right direction.

When 'landing' (do seaplanes do that?) it meant just clearing the bridge by a few feet - quite a sight when looking down on them from the Castle Gardens.

Then they would lose enough speed to be able to follow the bend in the river by the factory, then turn and come back to the moorings by Wingets, from where the crew would be collected by a little open motor boat.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

Offline Riding With The Angels

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #61 on: May 24, 2012, 22:24:43 »
Footage of stills and flight of Shetland MkII taking off and landing at Rochester. What a sight this must have been!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy86aHpOdkg

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #60 on: May 10, 2012, 18:03:14 »
In 1913 Lord Northcliffe offered a prize of £10,000 to the crew of the first aeroplane to make a direct flight across the North Atlantic between any point in North America to any point in the British Isles. The flight could be made in either direction and had to be completed within 72 hours.
The Short Shamrock was one of several aircraft and crews that were attempting to win Lord Northcliffe's prize.

7th April 1919

The Transatlantic Flight.
Entrant to Fly from East to West.
Short Seaplane’s Prospects

As The Times has announced, Messrs. Short, of Rochester and Bedford, have now entered a machine for the cross-Atlantic air contest, and have decided to flu from this side.
.........The biplane with which the Atlantic flight is to be attempted was laid down on March 17.  Since then an army of men and girls have been at work upon her day and night, and to-day the wings were being finished and prepared for fixing to the body.  Mr. Short believed – and indeed most of the constructors with whom I have discussed the problem of Atlantic flight are of the same opinion – that the standard modern aeroplane of good make is quite capable of flying the journey, if room can be found aboard for sufficient fuel, and so in the Short machine, as in others that are competing, it has been decided to modify an existing type rather than design a special one; moreover, there is not now sufficient time to do anything else.
This biplane is of the same pattern, with minor adaptions, as many supplied to the Government and originally intended for war work with torpedoes.  The most impressive thing about her is the enormous aluminium petrol tank that has been fitted.  Slung just below the centre section, this gives the machine a fuel capacity of 600 gallons, which will keep her flying at from 90 to 100 miles per hour for 20 hours.  There is a special feature in the location and construction of the tank.  It has been so placed that if a forced descent has to be made at sea it can be emptied rapidly by an appliance fixed near the pilot’s seat, and will then act as a float sufficiently buoyant to keep the craft on the surface for some considerable time.
The biplane, which is painted white with grey wings and has a Union Jack in colours on her rudder, has a span of 60ft. and an over-all length of 34ft.  She is fitted with a Rolls-Royce engine of 360 h.p., dual control mechanism, wireless – both sending and receiving – and fixtures for storing food and drink for the trip.  In contrast to some machines recently seen, the Martynside “Raymor,” for example, the pilot’s seat has been placed in front of the navigator’s quarters.  She will make trial flights in a few days.  The pilot for the Atlantic flight will be Major J. C. P. Wood and the navigator Captain C. C. Wylie.  It was from these officers that the idea of entering a Short plane first came, for they approached the firm and offered their services before Mr. Short had decided to compete.....

The Shamrock was a modified Short Shirl torpedo bomber with an increased wing area, a crew of two and a large fuel tank in place of the torpedo, giving a maximum range of 3,200 miles.
The aircraft was completed at Rochester in March 1919.
Crewed by Major J. Wood (pilot) and Captain C. Wylie, it took off from Eastchurch on the 8th April 1919 to fly to Curragh from where the Atlantic flight was to start.
Rather naively they thought that they would be assisted in their navigation over the Atlantic by smoke from the funnels of ships plying the sea route. Perhaps luckily, the Shamrock ditched in the Irish Sea due to an airlock in the fuel line. The crew were rescued and the Shamrock was towed to Holyhead. It was not repaired.
A couple of photos of the Shamrock @ http://www.flightglobal.com/pdfarchive/view/1919/1919 - 0503.html?search=short shamrock

The first air crossing of the Atlantic was made by the crew of the USN flying boat NC-4, who flew from Newfoundland to Portugal, via a stop at the Azores, May 26-27, 1919.
John Alcock and Arthur Whitten-Brown made the first non-stop Atlantic flight, June 14-15, 1919.

Offline kyn

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #59 on: April 22, 2012, 15:47:34 »
20th August, 1926

New All-Metal Flying-Boat
Duralumin Developments.

A new coastal flying-boat, the largest all-metal seagoing aircraft yet built in this country, was launched this week from the works of Short Brothers, on the Medway, at Rochester, and promised to mark a distinct advance in this type of coastal and long reconnaissance vessel.
The boat, with its white pained hull and wings aroused much interest locally when it was brought out for its first brief flight.  It is a large twin-engined flying-boat, with a biplane superstructure, in which the top planes overhand the shorter lower wings.  The stern is swept well up above the waterline, and from the clean way it rose form the water the hull appears to be of low-water resistance.  It has been built to the order of the Air Ministry, and has obviously considerable range and speed.  Its completion is a milestone in the progress of the firm of Short Brothers, whose aircraft history goes back to the pioneer days of 190? As it marks the acceptance of the all-duralumin system of construction, for which Mr. Oswald Short has worked persistently since the end of the war.  There has never been any question that the wooden hull was ultimately doomed for flying-boats, as water soakages of four five hundred pounds in wooden hulls seriously diminish carrying capacity.
A duralumin hull built as a test some 18 months ago has been exposed almost continuously to the sea water at the Felixstowe Experimental Seaplane Station of the Air Ministry and has been reported upon most favourably.  At the present time, in the workshops of Short Brothers, there is the duralumin hull and steel and duralumin wings of the Cockle, a small all-metal flying-boat which has also had some hard wear.  This shows conclusively that there has been no deterioration in the hull, except at two places where local reasons for the corrosion have been satisfactorily determined and where measures can easily be taken to prevent any recurrence.  The duralumin ribs of the wings show no signs of deterioration at all, although the steel strip of the spars have rusted to a considerable extent in places.
A form of duralumin spar has now been evolved which is capable of being made in large sizes, and it is claimed that, owing to the greater ease in working a light alloy, it will be less expensive to build than a steel spar, while the greater thickness of the sheet gives it several advantages over the thinner section steel strip.  A system of monocoque construction is used for all fuselage, and the strength of this particular form has lately received a convincing demonstration.  The Short Satellite, a light aeroplane, which competed at the Lympne trials, made a forced landing and broke off its undercarriage in hitting a heap of rubbish.  With an ordinary fuselage the whole of the nose would have been crumpled; the Satellite merely received a few dents.  A high speed experimental tank has been of considerable service in designing clean hull shapes, and as a result of the experience gained here Short Brothers are now the chief designers and constructors of all-metal floats.
Other all-metal aircraft are in construction, and Great Britain may well lead the world in the all-metal construction of seagoing aircraft, as a result of the independent work done at Rochester during the last few years.

Offline kyn

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #58 on: April 22, 2012, 15:23:33 »
A mention of their wartime work is made in the document below.

Offline kyn

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #57 on: April 21, 2012, 19:29:34 »
7th April 1919

The Transatlantic Flight.
Entrant to Fly from East to West.
Short Seaplane’s Prospects

As The Times has announced, Messrs. Short, of Rochester and Bedford, have now entered a machine for the cross-Atlantic air contest, and have decided to flu from this side.
Mr. Oswald Short has shown me the aeroplane which he is building for the flight, and I have also been allowed to examine the plans and working models of the Short system of launching, landing, and housing seaplanes.  This firm has built many aeroplanes, but its specializes in seaplanes and flying boats.  A small scale of the latest design in the last named shows a twin-boat triplane for passengers.  She is fitted with two tractor and one pusher engines, she has ample cabin space, and in building will probably work out at about a 25-ton machine.
The biplane with which the Atlantic flight is to be attempted was laid down on March 17.  Since then an army of men and girls have been at work upon her day and night, and to-day the wings were being finished and prepared for fixing to the body.  Mr. Short believed – and indeed most of the constructors with whom I have discussed the problem of Atlantic flight are of the same opinion – that the standard modern aeroplane of good make is quite capable of flying the journey, if room can be found aboard for sufficient fuel, and so in the Short machine, as in others that are competing, it has been decided to modify an existing type rather than design a special one; moreover, there is not now sufficient time to do anything else.
This biplane is of the same pattern, with minor adaptions, as many supplied to the Government and originally intended for war work with torpedoes.  The most impressive thing about her is the enormous aluminium petrol tank that has been fitted.  Slung just below the centre section, this gives the machine a fuel capacity of 600 gallons, which will keep her flying at from 90 to 100 miles per hour for 20 hours.  There is a special feature in the location and construction of the tank.  It has been so placed that if a forced descent has to be made at sea it can be emptied rapidly by an appliance fixed near the pilot’s seat, and will then act as a float sufficiently buoyant to keep the craft on the surface for some considerable time.
The biplane, which is painted white with grey wings and has a Union Jack in colours on her rudder, has a span of 60ft. and an over-all length of 34ft.  She is fitted with a Rolls-Royce engine of 360 h.p., dual control mechanism, wireless – both sending and receiving – and fixtures for storing food and drink for the trip.  In contrast to some machines recently seen, the Martynside “Raymor,” for example, the pilot’s seat has been placed in front of the navigator’s quarters.  She will make trial flights in a few days.  The pilot for the Atlantic flight will be Major J. C. P. Wood and the navigator Captain C. C. Wylie.  It was from these officers that the idea of entering a Short plane first came, for they approached the firm and offered their services before Mr. Short had decided to compete.

Question of Air Currents.

The determination hitherto generally shown to attempt to fly across the Atlantic from West to East is based upon the hope that a good deal of help may be got from the prevailing west wind.  Mr. Short is inclined to scout this theory.  It was to be regretted, he said, that the reports on the air soundings now being made over the Atlantic from the steamship Montealm will probably not be available in time for the flight.  In the meantime all the pilots were in the same condition of ignorance so far as the upper air currents over the mid-Atlantic were concerned.
After all, most winds were swirls, and, that being so, the current that had been a head wind when one started off would probably be found to be blowing in the opposite direction when one was half-way over.  Air currents generally were so erratic that on the whole they might be expected to average themselves out.  The provision of some kin fog safeguard for the flying men in the shape of warships cruising at intervals about the Atlantic would be greatly welcomed by everybody who was following the competition, the public no less than the pilots.
One model I saw was an apparatus for landing machines by means of a submerged platform worked by compressed air.  This platform is moved on rails that lead it down an inclined concrete plane form the hangers and on to the water.  The compressed air in chambers below the platform is then exhausted and supplanted by water, so that the platform sinks and remains on the rails.  The seaplane is then steered over the platform, the water is forced out by air pressure, and the platform rises, bearing the plane with it.  A reversal of the process launches the machine again.  A launching apparatus in daily use at Rochester consists of twin floating platforms that extend the slope from the sheds, not under the water but on the surface.  The machine is brought out and run down between the platforms, and can be manipulated from them by a relatively small party of men after she is afloat.  The movement of the tide keeps the device perpetually in the right position.  It is claimed for this apparatus that it enables six men to do the work of 20, and that none of them need wade out with the machine.  Anybody who has watched the struggles that attend the removal of the trolley from a departing seaplane will understand what this means.

Offline smiler

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #56 on: March 09, 2012, 10:05:13 »

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #55 on: January 23, 2012, 22:13:49 »
When the paper slid off, the blade would, just as slowly, return to its original postion.
Having had a think about it, and having seen Far Aways post, why was it deleted? I realize that the above sentence makes no sense.
A fully balanced propeller would remain in any position you placed it, if it moved it was not balanced. The blade would fall when the cigarette paper was placed on it, but would remain in that position and not swing back.
Its probably my memory at fault.


Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #54 on: January 20, 2012, 22:13:35 »
Many years ago, c 1970, when I was a student at the Medway College of Art, there was an old chap, Cecil, ex Short Brothers, who would come in a couple of mornings a week to service the machines.
We would get him reminiscing about his time at Short Brothers and one of the tales he told was about a glass walled draught proof used to check the balance of wooden propellers.
The propeller would be mounted on a very sensitive bearing. A folded cigarette paper, placed on a horizontal blade would, over twenty minutes or so, cause the blade to fall.
When the paper slid off, the blade would, just as slowly, return to its original postion.

Offline peterchall

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Re: Short Brothers of Rochester
« Reply #53 on: August 07, 2011, 08:53:00 »
Thanks Herbcollector, that seems to fit, although from the scale on the original plan the circle was 150 feet diameter, so it was a big crane. I wonder what for.
It's no use getting old if you don't get artful

 

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