The Gloucester & Cheltenham Branch was formed on 14 November 1930, with H P Folland, Chief Designer of the Gloster Aircraft Company, as Chairman.
President: Oliver Towers
Chairman: Kerissa Khan
Secretary: Richard Hodgkinson
The Gloucester & Cheltenham Branch was formed on 14 November 1930, with H P Folland, Chief Designer of the Gloster Aircraft Company, as Chairman. Membership was drawn from the Gloster Aircraft Company which, at that date, was the only aeronautical firm in the district. Prior to the formation of the Branch there had existed for a number of years the Gloucestershire Aircraft and Engineering Society but its activities ceased when the Branch was started. In those days membership was approximately 80.
The Branch has been fortunate in the support it has had from well-known people working in the local area, both as officers of the Branch and behind the scenes. For instance T O M Sopwith was Branch President in the 1930s. Sir George Dowty was a member from the early 1930s and was Branch President for many years in the 1950s and 60s. Sir Robert Hunt, Sir George Dowty’s successor to lead the Dowty Group, also served as Branch President for a period. Sir George went on to be President of the Society.
In 1962, the Gloucester & Cheltenham Branch was one of the first to host the Branches’ Conference when it was decided the Spring conferences should be taken out of London. The Branch was delighted to also host the conference in 1979 and then again in 2004. In 1966, in the Society’s centennial year, the Branch celebrated by organising an airshow on the Staverton airfield — Gloucestershire’s airport. This was the first large airshow held in the district and attracted an estimated 10,000 people.
The highlight of the annual lecture programme is the named lecture and dinner held in April, commemorating originally H P Folland and, since 1982, in alternate years, Sir George Dowty. The 15th Sir George Dowty lecture and dinner took place in 2012 and was be delivered by Dr Oliver Towers, FRAeS, President of Dowty Propellers.
The Branch has been very fortunate in the past to enjoy the patronage of the local aerospace industry that includes major companies GE Aviation and Messier-Bugatti-Dowty. Branch lecture evenings are kindly hosted by MessierBugatti-Dowty at their Restaurant Conference Room, off Down Hatherley Lane. Lectures begin at 19:30 (with the exception of the annual named lecture) and all are welcome to attend.