Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William S. Farren

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Sir William Scott Farren (1892–1970), aeronautical engineer

1892 born in Cambridge, the son of (Alfred) William Farren, print seller and taxidermist, and his wife, Harriet Emma, née Scott.

Educated at the Perse School

Scholarship at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied mathematics

1914 Graduated with first-class honours in the mechanical sciences tripos.

Joined British Thomson-Houston at Rugby

1915 Persuaded by Mervyn O'Gorman to move to Farnborough to join the rapidly developing Royal Aircraft Factory. On 1st May William S. Farren was appointed chief aerodynamicist at the Royal Aircraft Factory.

He learned to fly, and played a significant role in the design of the SE5a, a highly successful combat aircraft which went into large-scale production.

1917 Faced with the need to combat the submarine menace, he was given responsibility for the immediate production of a flying boat, the CE1; under his supervision the machine was designed and built in only seven months.

1917 married Carol Erica Warrington; they had one daughter.

1918 Joined Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft

1918 Awarded MBE

1920 returned to Cambridge as lecturer in aeronautics and engineering.

1937 Joined the Air Ministry as deputy to David Randall Pye, the director of scientific research.

1939 Farren became deputy director of research and development of aircraft under Roderic Maxwell Hill

1940 Moved to the new Ministry of Aircraft Production, later becoming director of technical development.

1941 Returned to Farnborough as director of the Royal Aircraft Establishment

As well as managing a key wartime facility, he began laying firm foundations for the future, giving support to research in aeronautics, especially in the development of the jet engine and supersonic flight.

1943 Conferred CB

He also played a leading part in setting up the new RAE airfield and facilities near Bedford.

1945 Elected to the Royal Society

Led a post-war Anglo-American mission to Germany to study German aircraft, aircraft engine and armament industries

1946 Joined the Blackburn Aircraft Co as technical director

1947 Moved to A. V. Roe as technical director

1952 Knighted

1953 Elected President Royal Aeronautical Society.[1]

1956 Also became technical director of the Hawker Siddeley Nuclear Power Company

1959 Became a director of the parent company, Hawker Siddeley Aviation.

1961 He retired but continued with Hawker Siddeley as consultant.

1970 Died at Kingston, Cambridge.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1953 Jan-Jun: Index
  • Biography of William Scott Farre, ODNB