David Johns, CBE, DSc, FREng.

Attended St Brendan's 1942 - 1949

I entered St Brendan's College in Clifton in 1942 and left in 1949 having stayed on for a third year in the Sixth Form in order to improve my A-level Results. I then joined the Bristol Aeroplane Co Ltd on a 5- Year Apprenticeship, which included a three year degree course at Bristol University in Aeronautical Engineering. I was then recruited into Guided Weapons and specialised in Aero structures;  getting early experience into the problems of supersonic flight up to Mach 2 on the Bloodhound project. I also taught part-time, evening courses at the local technical college.

At the age of 26 I moved to Coventry and started working for Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft Ltd. working in their GW Future Projects Group on supersonic, naval weapons. In 1958 I decided to become an academic with my first full-time Lecturer appointment at the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in a new master's level degree course on GW Technology. My research activities grew and I successfully submitted to the University of Bristol for my Master of Science Degree by Research!

In 1964 I joined Loughborough College of Technology as its first Reader in Aeronautics and stayed for 19 years with successive promotions in the new, technological university to Professor, Head of Department, Dean of Engineering Faculty, Pro Vice Chancellor (PVC) and Senior PVC. I supervised many Research Scholars and their work towards Master's and Doctoral degrees. My personal research record enabled me to submit successfully for the degrees of PhD and DSc.

In 1983 I successfully applied to be the Foundation Director of the City Polytechnic of Hong Kong and oversaw its initial recruitment of 1000 students within 1 year of my arrival as well as the design and construction of the new City University of Hong Kong.

My last full-time academic post was as the Third Vice Chancellor & Principal of the University of Bradford from which I retired aged 67. I had overseen its merger with the Bradford & Airedale College of Health and was responsible for 10 academic departments teaching and researching on health topics.

In 1998 I was appointed Commander of the British Empire for services to Higher Education and recognition by various professional bodies is seen by my status as Chartered Engineer (CEng); and Fellowships such as:

  • Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS)
  • Aeronautical Society of India (FAeSI)
  • Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (FHKIE)
  • Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng)