Saunders-Roe was formed in 1928 when Sir Alliot Verdon Roe, the founder of Avro, purchased S. E. Saunders Ltd, a builder of amphibious aircraft based on the Isle of Wight.
Saunders-Roe produced a series of flying boats, starting with the Saro A17 Cutty Sark of 1929. Their most successful military aircraft was the Saro London, one of the last biplane flying boats to enter RAF service. The monoplane Saro Lerwick was rather less successful. The prototypes of 1938 needed so much work that the aircraft didn’t enter service until late in 1940, and the type was withdrawn in May 1941.
After the war Saunders-Roe produced the massive SR45 Princess. This aircraft was powered by ten turboprop engines, and could carry 220 passengers for 5,000 miles. The Princess made its maiden flight in 1952, but never entered civil service. By then Saunders-Roe had taken over the Cierva Autogiro Company of nearby Eastleigh, and concentrated on producing small helicopters. Saunders Roe was taken over by Westland Aircraft in 1959.
Major Military Aircraft
Saro London, 1934-1941
Saro Lerwick, 1938-1941