Philip was a few weeks short of his 90th birthday when he died on 23rd February 2013.
Sir Philip Frank Foreman, CBE, passed away on February 23 at Richmond Nursing Home, Holywood, Co Down. Beloved husband of Margaret and devoted father to Grahame. House private. A Service of Thanksgiving took place on Thursday (February 28) at 3pm in First Presbyterian Church, Holywood. A private committal took place at Roselawn Crematorium.
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry
Philip's own recollections and from the Soham Grammarian
27 Feb 2013 Belfast Telegraph Obituary: Ex-Shorts chairman Philip Foreman was leading light in the field of aeronautics
Sir Philip Foreman was a leading figure in the British aeronautical industry and a former managing director and chairman of Shorts. He was 89. He made his name nationally and internationally in the aeronautical business, and made a significant contribution to the economic life of Northern Ireland, where he made his home. He was widely regarded as one of the most important industrial figures in Northern Ireland in the second half of the 20th century.
Philip Foreman was born in Suffolk and educated at Soham Grammar School in Cambridgeshire. He won a scholarship to Loughborough College. In 1943 he graduated with a first-class honours degree in mechanical engineering. He wanted to join the Royal Navy, but was turned down because of his colour-blindness. Instead, he worked for the Royal Naval Scientific Service from 1943-1958. He then joined the guided-weapons team at Short Brothers, where he was responsible for all shipborne and depot equipment associated with the Seacat missile weapon system.
During his career at Shorts he was managing director from 1967 and also chairman from 1983-88, during which time the company made a major contribution to world aeronautical manufacture, including guided missiles, commuter aircraft and aerostructures. The company was later taken over by the Canadian Bombardier group.
The industrial correspondent Eric Waugh once noted that when Foreman took over the firm it had accumulated debts of some £12m at a time when a weekly household bill was only about £7. The fact that the company had become a "saleable, surviving entity" prior to the Bombardier acquisition "was a tribute to the team and to Sir Phil Foreman's leadership of it".
Sir Philip was awarded many honours, including a CBE in 1972 and a knighthood in 1981. He was president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1985. He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1980 and he was awarded a honorary DSc from Queen's University in 1976. He was a Belfast Harbour Commissioner from 1974-79 and also a member of the Senate of Queen's University (1993-2002).
Sir Philip is survived by his wife Margaret, son Grahame, daughter-in-law Serina and twin grandchildren Cormac and Ambrose.
Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Feb 28 2013
It is with sadness that we announce the death on 23 February 2013 of Sir Philip Foreman, who, in 1985 became the 100th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Sir Philip was not from Northern Ireland but he was to spend most of his life here. His contribution to making Shorts aircraft company in Belfast one of the world’s respected aerospace companies and a cornerstone of the Northern Ireland economy, was immense.
Sir Philip Foreman was born in Exning, Suffolk, in 1923. While he was a young boy, his father became tractor driver on a farm in Cambridgeshire. He was also responsible for the installation, repair and maintenance of all the farm machinery, and this early experience awoke a keen interest in mechanics in the young Foreman.
He attended the local elementary school, and Soham Grammar School, from which he won a British Empire Open Scholarship to Loughborough College. He graduated from Loughborough in 1943 with a First Class Honours Diploma in mechanical engineering.
After graduation, Foreman wanted to join the Royal Navy, but was turned down due to his colour blindness. Instead he joined the Royal Naval Scientific Service, which was a department of the Civil Service, working at the Admiralty Research Laboratory at Teddington. He remained at Teddington until 1958, when he resigned in order to join the guided weapon team at Short Brothers and Harland Ltd, where he was responsible for all shipborne and depot equipment associated with the Seacat missile weapon system.
In 1961, he became Chief Engineer of the guided weapon division, and in 1964 was appointed Company Chief Engineer, in which position he assumed responsibility for all the Company’s engineering activities including aircraft design. He was elected to the Broad in 1965 as Deputy Managing Director and became Managing Director in 1967. In 1983 he became Chairman and Managing Director.
Sir Philip had a reputation for being a straight-talking leader who set high standards but who was highly respected by both his staff and his business competitors. The late journalist Bob Rodwell, who had joined Shorts as public relations manager in the late 1960s, recalled how a mix-up had led to an advertisement appearing in the press which announced that the company had again won a Queen’s Award for Industry. Unfortunately, it turned out that the company had surprisingly missed out on the award that particularly year. On the morning the ad appeared, Bob would recount how he was having breakfast when his boss telephoned. The conversation was short and to the point: “Rodwell, you’re fired” was all Sir Philip said before he rang off.
The industrial correspondent Eric Waugh once noted that when Foreman took over the firm it had accumulated debts of some £12m at a time when a weekly household bill was only about £7. The fact that the company had become a "saleable, surviving entity" prior to the Bombardier acquisition "was a tribute to the team and to Sir Phil Foreman's leadership of it."
At Short Brothers, Sir Philip concentrated particularly on the export market, and in 1972 was awarded the CBE for services to export. He was knighted in 1981, and in 1985, he became the 100th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Sir Philip retired as Chairman and Managing Director of Shorts in 1988. He remained active in his retirement. As well as setting up an engineering consultancy firm, Foreman Associates, he also served as chairman of the British Standards Institution from 1988 to 1991 and was the organisation’s President from 1994 to 1998.
He had a long standing involvement with the British Standards Institution, serving as Chairman from 1988 to 1991, and President from 1994 to 1998.
He was made a Freeman of the City of London in 1980 and he was awarded an honorary DSc from Queen's University in 1976. He was a Belfast Harbour Commissioner from 1974-79 and also a member of the Senate of Queen's University (1993-2002).
Sir Philip passed away at a nursing home in Holywood, County Down in Northern Ireland on 23 February, only weeks before his 90th birthday. He is survived by his wife, Lady Margaret, and son Grahame.
The Times - 24 April 2013
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography entry: FOREMAN, Sir Philip Frank
Born: 16 March 1923; son of late Frank and Mary Foreman; lived in Fordham and then Ely: married 1971, Margaret Cooke; one son.
Education: Soham Grammar School, Cambridgeshire; Loughborough College, Leicestershire. (DLC (Hons)).
Details: Knighted 1981; CBE 1972; DL; FREng, FIAE, FIMechE;
Shorts - The Foreman Years by Guy Warner (Ulster Aviation Society, 2008)
Career: Royal Naval Scientific Service, 1943–58.
Short Brothers, 1958–88: Managing Director, 1967–88; Chairman, 1983–88.
Director: Simon Engineering Ltd, 1987–94 (Deputy Chairman, 1992; Chairman, 1993);
Progressive Building Society, 1987–2000 (Chairman, 1990–2000);
Ricardo Group (formerly Ricardo International) plc, 1988–97 (Chairman, 1992–97);
Consultant, Foreman Associates, 1988–2001.
Member Council, 1986–98, Chairman, 1988–91, and President, 1994–98, British Standards Institution;
Member: Design Council, 1986–92; NI Economic Council, 1972–88; Chairman, Teaching Co. Management Committee, 1987–90;
Trustee, Scotch-Irish Trust, 1980–.
Member Senate, Queen's University Belfast, 1993–2002.
President, IMechE, 1985–86. FREng (FEng 1982); FIAE 1997; Fellow: Irish Management Institute, 1986; Irish Institute of Engineers, 1987; MInstD 1987; CCMI. FRSA 1978.
A Freeman, City of London, 1980; Liveryman, Engineers’ Company, 1992–.
DL Belfast, 1975. Hon. FRAeS 1983. Hon. DSc QUB, 1976; Hon. DTech Loughborough, 1983; DUniv Open, 1985.
Publications: papers to: Royal Aeronautical Society; Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
Lives in Northern Ireland.
based on entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Philip's own recollections and from the Soham Grammarian
2008: Philip writes: I recently came across this snap in an old family album - Victor Ludorum 1940!
Soham Grammarian Summer 1941
EDITORIAL At this point it is fitting that we congratulate our popular Head Boy, PF Foreman, on his magnificent achievement. He has won a British Empire Open Scholarship and is to begin his course at Loughborough College in September.
On the result of an examination in April, PF Foreman has been awarded a Scholarship of the value of £75 a year tenable for three years at Loughborough College. Four others were awarded to pupils of scondary schools in the British Empire. [He was Captain of Rugby for his House (Cromwell) and played in the School's 1st XV and the Cricket 1st XI].
Soham Grammarian Autumn 1941
PF Foreman passed the Preliminary Examination in Mathematics and Physics at Loughborough College , and is thus excused one year of the full course. He is playing for the 1st XV.
from the 1937 School photo
Soham Grammarian Autumn 1942
Congratulations to .. P. F. Foreman on gaining First Class Honours in the Intermediate Year Examination in Mechanical Engineering at Loughborough College.
Soham Grammarian Autumn 1943
PF Foreman gained the 1st Class Honours Diploma in the Faculty of Engineering at Loughborough College.
Soham Grammarian Autumn 1944
PF Foreman has been appointed to the Admiralty Research Laboratories.
from a local newspaper, probably the Ely Standard, presumably 1972, a cutting found in the papers of Mr TL Riley by his daughters Susan and Brigid.
A former Soham Grammar School boy who ins now managing director of Short, Brothers and Harland of Belfast and whose father lives in Ely has been awarded the CBE in the New Year Honours for service to export.
Mr Philip Foreman,, whose father Mr Frank Foreman, of 2 Downiham-road, Ely, has lived here since 1938, went to Loughborough College after leaving Soham. In 1943 he joined the Admiralty and for the following 15 years worked in the Royal Naval Scientific Service.
Much of his work was concerned with research and development in the field of high precision servo systems for gun mountings.
He joined Shorts, the famous Northern Ireland firm, in 1958 as head of ship equipment, responsible for the design and development of all depot and shipborne equipment for guided missiles projects. Responsible for all aspects of the Seacat missile programme, he became managing director in 1967.
Sir Philip Foreman CBE DL FREng FIAE FIMechE;, 1983: source Guy Warner
6 Nov 2007: Wilkes Walton writes: Phil was a sturdy lad and pretty quick, who took some stopping on the rugby field. After he moved from Fordham to Ely I seem to remember him on the right wing with the round ball for Ely City FC or Ely Wanderers as I think they were called in wartime.
I played with Phil in the Cricket XI in 1941 - my first season and Phil's last year at school. By chance I still have the score-cards for the two games against Newmarket Secondary School.
Philip was the speaker at the Grammarians' 1981 Dinner
If you can add further recollections or photos please contact the editor
page last updated 16 Oct 16