Flying Boats & Fellow Travellers


In January 2007 a group of oral history interviewers began recording the memories of people who had been employed by Short Brothers at White Cross Bay and others who had lived at Calgarth throughout its twenty year existence.

On these pages you will be able to hear extracts from each of the fifty recordings, download whole transcripts and view personal photographs and documents, which together give a fascinating insight into work at the factory and life in the unique community of Calgarth.

Browse interviews ( 1 to 12 of 50 )


Wing Commander Derek Martin

Born in 1920, Derek began flying Sunderland Flying Boats at the age of twenty.On 15th March 1941, he suffered major injuries in a serious crash off Oban


Mayer Hersh

In August 1945, Mayer was amongst the three hundred child Holocaust survivors who were airlifted from Prague to Crosby in Eden airfield near Carlisle.

Jeff Gill

Jeff Gill

Jeff was born in 1925 in Kendal and left K Shoes in 1942 to work at the Shorts factory in Windermere. He started work in the Detail Shop and moved shortly afterwards to the Hangar.


Marjorie Crosland

Marjorie was about twenty years old when the Shorts factory opened in 1941, and she went to work in the blue print office.

L Hills

Les Hills

Born in 1917 in Kent, Les worked for Shorts Brothers in Rochester.

L Hills

Vera George

Vera was born in Windermere and went to the Shorts’ factory in 1942 from school at the age of fifteen.


George Lidster

George was born in 1914 and served his time at the rail works at Doncaster, where he worked on the Flying Scotsman.


Mr and Mrs Heighton

Miss Marjorie Sanderson was employed in 1945 as the nursery teacher at Calgarth School.


Velma Smith

Velma was born in South Shields in County Durham in 1934. In 1939, she was evacuated to Crook in the Lake District.


Eleanor Blezard

Eleanor Hicks was born in 1944 at 11 Park Hill Road, Calgarth.


Ronnie Jones

Ronnie’s family moved to Calgarth in 1941 after their house was bombed in London, and he was born at 1 Calgarth Road.


Mrs Marjorie Lavender

In 1942, at the age of seventeen, Marjorie went to work at the Short’s factory at White Cross Bay.