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

1917 - 1947

“I started work as a fourteen-year-old apprentice in 1942 working a 42-hour week that included day and night school. My training involved moving around at both The Seaplane Works and the Rochester Airport factory. At the Airport I was employed on both Stirling four-engined bombers and making fins for the ‘Tall-Boy’ bombs.


I remember playing football between the hangers one lunch time when an American bomber, a Flying Fortress, came in low and circled looking for assistance after having been shot at.

I saw the bullet holes in the turret, the gun-turret being underneath the plane. I saw the gunner and the ambulance racing over to help.


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“I saw another American plane unable to stop, that crashed into the works canteen

in 1944.

It was a ‘Thunderbolt’,

a single engined

American fighter plane.”


photo R.Ae.S. Rochester

I also remember the ‘DOLLY’ boys and girls’. These were people who held a ‘Dolly’ machine for riveting. You had to be supple to reach into the corners.”

In 1946 Jack was ‘called-up’ for his two years National Service and went into the R.A.F. at Cosford working as an airframe fitter, rank Training A.C.2 until 1948 when he became an A.C.1 and received an extra 6d, (six old pence), a day.

The photograph is of Jack at the time of his call-up.

“My wife’s mother, Nelly (nee Osbourne), worked in the tunnels during the war.”

JACK RALPH...... by himself