Medway Branch

The Medway Branch, based in Rochester (Kent), was founded under Short Brothers, holding it's inaugural General Meeting on 19 September 1938. The branch is now based at BAE Systems, Rochester, and serves the interests of both members of the Society and the public in all aviation-related topics throughout Kent and adjacent areas.

Contact Details:

President: Mr Malcolm Moulton

Chairman: Mr Ian Brimelow

Secretary: Mr Robin Heaps

Contact: Mr Robin Heaps

Email: robin.heaps10@btinternet.com

Tel: 01634 377973

Branch Profile:

The Medway Branch, based in Rochester (Kent), was founded under Short Brothers, holding its inaugural General Meeting on 19 September 1938 in the Short's Canteen at Airport Works. The gounding Committee comprised Mssrs C P Lipscombe (Chairman), H Lingwood, JG Knowles, CG Rogers and J W Loader (Hon Secretary and Treasurer). The General Meeting was chaired by Mr (later Sir Arthur) Gouge who also gave the inaugural lecture at Chatham Co-Operative Society on 'The Growth of Aviation'.

After an initial season in which the Branch presented six lectures, activities were severely curtailed during the early war years, with three lectures in 1940 and no more until 1944. The period up to mid 1946 saw a return to a regular series of lectures. At that time, the government decreed that Short Brothers should move to Northern Ireland, where the company had already set up design and production facilities in association with Harland and Woolf.

An extraordinary General Meeting discussed the future of the Branch, and it was agree that a further season of lectures be held. However, it became increasingly clear that continuation of the Branch was impossible and the formal winding up of the Branch began in September 1947, with all assets being transferred to the Belfast Branch.

Fifteen years of growth led to the company employing a peak of over 7,000 personnel, mainly electronic engineers at the factory, specialising in the design and production of flight control, mission control and head-up display systems, the world leader in these products at the time. The time was also rife for the re-founding of the Medway Branch in 1975 under the Chairmanship of Peter Hearne, later to become the first industrialist to be President of the Society. Malcolm Moulton was the first secretary and Colin Dear the first Treasurer.

The Medway Branch rapidly took off becoming one of the largest, and has never looked back. It organises eight lectures each year and has been able to attract the world's best speakers in the aeronautical sphere.