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ADDers Meet

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With roots in Short Brothers, a transition to Elliott Automation, Marconi Avionics then GEC Avionics these days the company is better known as BAE Systems

Company History

Marconi 1980s Logo BAE Systems Logo

Let's begin with some history with a series of lovely photographs from the Andrew Clarkes collection of Short Brothers Aircraft pictured being launched from their Aircraft Factory on the River Medway at Borstal near Rochester on 29th September 1930

Calcutta Amphibian

1. Titled 'On the Slip' (Shorts Calcutta Amphibian)

Calcutta Amphibian on River Medway

2. Shorts Calcutta Amphibian on River Mooring

Calcutta & Tiger Moth on the Rriver Medway

3. Shorts Calcutta Amphibian mid river & Tiger Moth

History of the Calcutta Flying Boat

Shorts F5 Flying Boat

4. Shorts F5 Flying Boat fited witn 2 x 375 HP Rolls Royce Eagle 8 Engines

Information on the Shorts F5 Flying Boat

Albert Bibby with Calcuta on slip

5. Shorts Production Director Albert Bibby right maternal grandfather to Dick Amos see below, on the Shorts Slipway with a Calcutta Flyingboat 1935 (Dick Amos Archive)

Shorts Mercury Floatboat

6. Shorts Miai/Mercury Floatboat

The Miai/Mercury Flyingboat Experiment

A number of people have asked if there's an evidence of the old Shorts Aircraft Factory. Sadly the riverside site at Borstal has been developed to housing & all the related local metal forging businesses, along with sites & buildings at Gads Hill, New Road* & Rochester Airport have gone the same way

However the remains of the slipway (5) are still visible from the Esplanade

* It was often said that Russian Submarines travelled upstream to pass the New Road building in the hope of photographing plans on the walls of the drawing office

Shorts Slipway towards Rochester

7. The Shorts Slipway at Borstal, Esplanade looking towards Rochester

Shorts Slipway towards Medway Bridges 1

8. The Slipway looking towards the Medway M2 Motorway & high speed rail bridges

Shorts Slipway towards Medway Bridges 2

9. Similar view to 8 but showing brickworks of outfall

Shorts Slipway brickworks Shorts Slipway close-up 1

10 & 11. Brickwork of outfall & the Slipway in close-up

Shorts Slipway close-up 2

12. Dereliction of the old Shorts Slipway (Photographs 7 - 12 from 18th November 2011)

Short Brothers were based at Borstal Rochester from 1914 - 1948, they's begun their business in 1908 selling Wright Flyers under licence from Battersea, London

The Short Brothers Horace, Eustace & Oswald moved to Eastchurch on the Isle-of-Sheppey building a works at Muswell Manor 1 : Muswell Manor 2 & the Shellbeach Leysdown Aerodrome in July 1909

Muswell Manor Holiday Park now occupies the Airfield

Download Eastchurch Airfield pdf

Leysdown 1st British flight plaque

13. Aviation history - The plaque at Leysdown Airfield marking the 1st British Flight in a Wright Brothers Aircraft licence produced by Shorts flown by JTC Moore-Brabazon on 2nd May 1909 photographed on 3rd July 2007

Against that historic backdrop the Airborne Display Division (ADD) built it's reputation designing, testing & producing a range of Head Up & Head Down (HuD & HDD) Systems for the UK & overseas clients from their Rochester Airport site

A7 ARF Corsair Logo

Most notably HuD Systems for Vought Corporation MkII A7 Corsair & General Dynamics Corporation F16 Aircraft

F16 Flying Falcon Logo

HuDs also made for the Boeing C-17, Lockheed Martin F-22 & the Eurofighter Typhoon

A7 Cut AwayA7 Plan & Evelavtions

14, 15 & 16. ARF A7 Corsair, F16 the Fighting Falcon, & cutaway, plans & elevations of the MkII A7 Corsair

Another world another lifetime, but good to meet up with some colleagues from the heady days of ADD (Airborne Display Division) Rochester at the Bull at Penenden Heath, Maidstone on 9th of August 2011

Charlie Oliver, Keith Barnet, Ed Cheesman, Ted Smith

17. Project Engineers Charlie Oliver, Keith Barnett, Mechanical Design Draftsman Ed Cheesman & former Consultant Ted Smith

4355 & or 4356

Dave Carder & Jack Milner

18. Dave Carder Principal Hardware Engineer with Components Engineer Jack Milner

4357 & or 3458

Vought A7 Corsair in US Navy Colours

19. Vought Corporations MkII A7 Corsair In US Navy livery

Bill Burke, Tony Crack & Nigel Gunyon

20. Principle Quality Assurance Engineer Bill Burke & Senior Quality Assurance Engineers Tony Crack & Nigel Gunyon

4359 & or 4360

GD F16 Plan & Elevations

21. Plan & elevations of the General Dynamics F16 Fighting Falcon

Sue Smith, Maureen Milner, Joyce Smith

22. Sue Smith Secretary (Ted’s wife) Maureen Milner Confidential Secretary (Jack’s wife) & Sheila (Bryan’s wife)

4361 & or 4362

F16 Fighting Falcon

23. The General Dynamics F16 Fighting Falcon

Brain Smith, Martin Redfern

24. Bryan Smith Deputy QA Manager & Martin Redfern Chief Hardware Engineer

4363 & or 4364

F16 Cockpit

25. F16 cockpit & HuD

Dick Amos & David Reeves

26. Project Manager Dick Amos & Commercial Director David Reeves

4365 & or 4366

F16 Drawing

27. F16 Drawing

General Dynamics Logo

With grateful thanks to Suzanne Clarke for the Shorts Aircraft Photographs, Dick Amos for sharing his family photograph, Valve for the Borstal Esplanade Slipway photographs

ADD Equipment Seal circa 1982

28. Equipment Seal (not to scale)

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