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

1917 - 1968

My grandfather, Frederick Gibbs, worked for Short Brothers from the early 1920's through to the end of the war. It was while living at Sheerness that he first had contact with Oswald short whom he greatly admired.


After the company transferred to Rochester he moved to live in Strood and began working at the Esplanade Works, initially as an machinist. A reference letter included in David Smith's recollections (Short Boy) and relating to his father Harry Smith, is signed by my grandfather, showing him as Foreman of the Millwrights Dept. The menu below dated Feb 1921 is signed by Harry Smith, but also contains Eustace and Oswald's signatures.

FREDERICK GIBBS by Michael Gibbs


My grandfather was affectionately known as FAG's (his initials) was obviously in charge of the 'ciggies'.


This group photo dates from 1925 and shows the winning team of 'Tug of War' contest that my grandfather captained, (He is the one with the bow tie).

As production moved from buses back to aircraft my grandfather took on responsibilities for plant maintenance, both at the Esplanade and at Rochester Airport, the home of the Stirling bomber. It was whilst working on a wing jig for the Stirling in the Airport hanger that he arranged for my father to fly, unofficially, in the half size pre-production aircraft known as the M4. John Lankester Parker, the pilot, was well known to my grandfather.


Towards the end of his time at Shorts his maintenance responsibilities meant that he was present during many of the launchings of prototype flying boats such as the Maia and the Mercury and the iconic Sunderland.

4 - Tug of War'