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Short biographies of our Honorary Fellows can be read from the menus below.

1941 - Sir John Edward Thornycroft

Sir John Edward Thornycroft was born in Chiswick 1872. He was educated at St Paul’s School and gained his engineering training at the Central Technical College.

He was the eldest son of Sir John I Thornycroft, the founder of the Thornycroft Shipyard at Chiswick. On completing his technical training he joined his father’s shipyard working on construction. He achieved the position of managing director in 1901.

The main interest of the family business after 1901 was the development of the torpedo boat destroyer. Thornycroft’s design and construction work during the First World War led to a knighthood which was conferred in 1918.

Aside from ship design, the business also developed road vehicles, including the steam wagon and oil engine tractor. Thornycroft’s diverse engineering interests led him to gain Presidential positions with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1937 and the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Thornycroft died in 1960.

1941 - Professor Dempster Smith

Dempster Smith was born in 1874.  He began his engineering career in 1890, when, at the age of sixteen, he became an engineering apprentice with Sharp, Stewart and Company, in Glasgow. He was subsequently to work for a number of other well-known engineering firms, including the Armstrong –Whitworth Company Ltd, of Manchester, and the Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day Company Ltd, where he was works manager responsible for some 750 staff. This company was situated in the Stockport area, and was subsequently to become a part of Hawker Siddeley.

In 1902 he moved from industry to academia, accepting the post of lecturer at what was then the School of Technology, Manchester. During the First World War he served as an adviser, in an honorary capacity, to the Royal Naval Training Establishment at HMS Vernon, in Portsmouth. In 1919 he was created MBE.

In 1926 he was appointed to the position of Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University and College of Technology, Manchester, as the School of Technology had by then become. During the Second World War he served as the senior production officer, North Western area, for the Air Ministry. He retired from the University and College of Technology in the 1940s, and was subsequently appointed Professor Emeritus.

He had a long association with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, becoming an Associate Member in 1907 and then a full Member in 1913. He was Honorary Secretary of the North Western Branch from 1918 to 1921, becoming Chairman in 1932, and he served on the Council of the Institution from 1932 to 1949. In 1924 he was awarded the Institution’s T. Bernard Hall Prize, and he was elected an Honorary Member in 1941.

He died on 21 March 1953 at the age of 79.

1941 - Sir Alfred Edward Herbert

Alfred Edward Herbert was born on 5 September 1866 in Leicester.  He was the second son of William Herbert and his wife, Sarah Anne, née Thompson. He was educated at Stoneygate House School in Leicester, before joining the firm of Joseph Jessop & Sons as an engineering apprentice.

Before he completed his apprenticeship he moved to Coventry to become the manager of a small engineering firm. Within a year, with a former school friend, William Hubbard, he bought this operation, and the firm of Herbert and Hubbard was established. They initially made boilers and general engineering equipment, but quickly moved into the manufacture of machine tools. He bought out Hubbard, and by 1894 he was taking on agencies for other, especially American, machine tool manufacturers. He established agencies in virtually all the major manufacturing centres in the UK, and also in France, Belgium, Spain, Italy, India, Japan, Canada, and Australia, at the same time establishing himself as a machine tool manufacturer in his own right. The original factory in the Butts area of Coventry was moved to Edgwick, when he established a foundry there in 1899.

He recognised the need to employ people of real talent, and with this ethos the company flourished, gaining an enviable reputation for both the quality of its products and its after-sales service. By 1900 Herbert’s was the largest machine tool factory in Coventry, and by 1938 was the largest, in terms of staff employed, in the world.

During the First World War he was Controller of Machine Tools at the Ministry of Supply, and in 1917 was knighted, as well as receiving the French Légion d’Honneur. In the inter-war years his company continued to be successful, maintaining processes of incremental innovation. In the years leading up to the Second World War he was invited to participate in the Shadow Factory scheme, and during the War his company produced over 65,000 powered machine tools. His expansion continued after the War, with the acquisition of Sigma Tools in 1948. He never retired. Even into his 80s he was still prepared to take advice and make changes if he thought it necessary.

He believed strongly in high-quality apprenticeships, and he was also an early pioneer of industrial safety and welfare programmes, establishing a fully-equipped surgery at Edgwick to deal with industrial accidents.

He was a founder member of the Coventry and District Engineering Employers Federation in 1907 and was President of the Machine Tool Association for 20 years from 1912. He was President of the Institution of Production Engineers and a Fellow of the Society of Arts.

He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1941.

He was married three times: in 1889 to Ellen Adela, née Ryley, with whom he had four daughters; in 1913 to Florence, widow of Lieutenant-Colonel H. E. Lucas; and in 1933 to Marian, née Arundel, widow of Lieutenant-Colonel Pugh.

He died on 26 May 1957 at Compton Manor in Hampshire at the age of 90 – still holding the title of Chairman and Managing Director of the company he founded more than 60 years earlier.

1942 - David Evan Roberts

David E Roberts was born in 1867 in Merthyr Tydfil, where his father was manger of the Plymouth Ironworks.  He was educated at Christ’s College, Brecon, then apprentices to the engineering department of the Rhymney Iron Company.  He soon became their chief draughtsman.

He returned to Merthyr Tydfil to become assistant engineer of the steelworks section of the Dowlais Iron Company, and was soon promoted to engineer of the department.  In 1902 he became chief engineer of the Dowlais Iron Company, but soon left.  He went to Cardiff where he set up as a consultant on ironworks and steelworks practice. 

This period was a time of great change and progress in the technology and practice of iron smelting and steel making.  Roberts soon built up a world-wide clientele, working in many parts of the world and acquiring a reputation as an expert in his area. 

During the First World War Roberts was attached to the iron and steel department of the Ministry of Munitions, particularly involved with the control of the Cardiff National Shell Factory.

Roberts was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1938.  He also served as President of the South Wales Institute of Engineers.  He died in 1950.

1942 - Orville Wright

Orville Wright was born on 19 August 1871 in Dayton, Ohio.  He was one of seven children.  His brother Wilbur, with whom he worked closely, had been born in 1867.  His father, Milton Wright, was a bishop in the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.

In 1889, Orville dropped out of high school to start a printing business. With the help of Wilbur, he built his own printing press, and the two were soon publishing a local newspaper called the West Side News.  In 1892, inspired by the bicycle craze sweeping the nation, they opened a shop to sell and repair bicycles.  They were manufacturing their own bicycles by 1896.  By this time they had become deeply fascinated by attempts at flight then going on around the world.   

Orville and Wilbur realized that they would need to master gliding before attempting powered flight.  They worked on a suitable control system, and in 1900 took their glider to Kitty Hawk, Carolina, for testing.  These early experiments were less successful than the brothers hoped, and they came to realize that a key component of the lift equation, the Smeaton number, was incorrect.  They returned home and carried out experiments which led to an accurate calculation of this number, allowing for much more realistic predictions.  It also allowed them to experiment on miniature wing designs, saving much time and other resources.

They continued experimenting with gliders for a few years, until they were totally convinced that they had achieved a true system of control.  In 1903, they applied for a patent for their ‘flying machine’.  Many historians feel that the control mechanism detailed in this patent was as significant in the history of flying as the addition of a motor to the powered flyer later in the year.   

The brothers designed and built a four-cylinder four-stroke engine which was light in proportion to its power.  This drove two wooden propellers in opposite directions through chains.   The propellers were designed and tested by the brothers using their wind-tunnel.  They returned to Kitty Hawk, and after initial delays made the first attempt on 14 December 1903.  This first flight lasted only a few seconds.  Minor damage meant that the next attempt was not made until 17 December, but on this occasion they made two flights each.  After landing the plane was severely damaged when it was picked up by a strong gust of wind, and it never flew again.  Despite the significance of these flights, the world’s first manned, powered flights, the brothers were unable to get interest from the press.

Orville and Wilbur continued to build on their success.  They withdrew from their bicycle business, and began to concentrate on flight as their means of livelihood.  They were granted a patent in 1906, and in 1908 signed contracts with the US Army and a French company, and as part of these contracts had to stage demonstration flights, in which they carried a passenger.  Wilbur successfully carried out demonstration flights in France, beginning on 8 August 1908, and Orville carried out demonstration flights in Virginia, beginning on 3 September 1908.  On 17 September 1908, Orville suffered a serious accident when the propeller of his plane shattered, sending the aircraft out of control.  Thomas Selfridge, his passenger, died of his injuries on the evening of the accident.  Orville was hospitalized for almost two months.  His sister, Katherine, helped him during this time, and was able to negotiate an extension of their US Army contract.   

Orville and Katherine travelled to France early in 1909 to join Wilbur for more demonstration flights, which were witnessed by thousands, including royalty from across Europe.  On their return to the US, the Wrights were invited to a reception at the White House with President Taft, and their hometown of Dayton threw a two-day celebration of their homecoming.  On 22 November 1909 the Wright Company was formed, with Wilbur serving as President and Orville as Vice-President.

Wilbur Wright died in 1912 of typhoid fever.  Orville took over his position as President of the Company, but he sold up in 1915.  He made his last flight as a pilot in 1918.  After retiring from business he served on many committees, including the precursor to NASA, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA).  

During the course of his life he received many honours,  He was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1909, and the medal of the Royal Academy of Arts in 1917.  He received the first Daniel Guggenheim Medal in 1930, and was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1936.  In 1942, he was made an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.  Orville Wright died on 30 January 1948.

1943 - Edmund Bruce Ball

Edmund Bruce Ball was born in 1873 in Norfolk. He showed an early talent for engineering, apprenticing at Charles Burrell and Co in Thetford. This talent was rewarded with two science scholarships, a Whitworth Exhibition and the Queen’s Prizeman for Science. The scholarships ensured he was able to complete his technical training at the Manchester School of Technology.

Practical engineering experience followed as a draughtsman with Benjamin Goodfellow and Co. He soon progressed to the position of works manager with Reavell and Co and then Clarkson Ltd. His specialist subject was hydraulic engineering, in particular the storage and distribution of water.

Ball’s experience took him overseas to Italy and then China. On his return he took the position of works manager at D Napier and Son, Acton. His last position was as Managing Director with Glenfield and Kennedy Ltd, which also gave him management of British Pitometer and Hydrautomat Ltd.

He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1939, and was also made an Honorary Life Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

He died in 1944.

1943 - Dr Harvey Nathaniel Davis

Harvey Nathaniel Davis was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1881. His father was a teacher of mathematics at Brown University, and Davis grew up on the Brown campus. He graduated from the university in 1901. From Brown he went to Harvard, receiving a MA in 1903 and a PhD in 1906. He went on to teach physics at Harvard, and was later made Professor of Mechanical Engineering. He also held positions in a number of companies, including the General Electric Company, the Franklin Railway Supply Company, and the Air Reduction Company.

During the First World War, Davis did research work on helium gas for the Army, Navy and Bureau of Mines. His particular areas of speciality were thermodynamics, and he worked with Lionel S Marks to compute the 'Tables and Diagrams of the Thermal Properties of Saturated and Superheated Steam'. He also co-authored 'Practical Physics' and 'New Practical Physics' with N H Black.

In 1928 he became the third President of the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey. He remained as President for twenty-three years. He advocated a general, unspecialised training for engineers, concentrating on the fundamentals, as well as skills needed for the administrative demands of business and industry. He established an evening graduate school as well as research laboratories.

The Second World War brought particular challenges to the Institute. The US Navy's V-12 programme brought thousands of students to the campus for speeded up engineering work, and a War Industries Training School was set up. All students were required to spend a number of weeks each year in war-time industries. In 1942, Davis headed the Office of Production Research and Development, a technical advisory group to the War Production Board in which scientists and engineers worked together to develop new processes to speed-up war production. Davis led a mission to London in 1943 to establish closer links with British research and production authorities. It was soon after this that he was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

Dr. Harvey Nathaniel Davis died on 3 December 1952. 

1943 - Professor Sir Charles Edward Inglis

Charles Edward Inglis was born in Worcester in 1875. He was educated at Cheltenham College, and in 1894 he went to Cambridge with a mathematical scholarship. He was graduated with first-class honours in 1897, and went into the engineering school, gaining first class honours in the Mechanical Sciences tripos the following year.

He then went to Sir John Wolfe-Barry, consulting engineer, for a three year pupillage, spending part of his time in the office, and part on docks and railway construction. He was transferred to the staff of Wolfe-Barry's resident engineer, Alexander Gibb, to work on the new extension of the Metropolitan Railway between Whitechapel and Bow. He worked particularly on the design of the nine bridges crossing the railway.

In 1901, he was made a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and became a lecturer in the engineering department. His dissertation was on the subject of balancing of engines.

He served with the Royal Engineers between 1914 and 1919. As a consequence of his earlier work on portable bridges with the University Officers Training Corps, Inglis was placed in charge of the design and supply of military bridges. He was awarded the OBE in recognition of his work at this time.

He returned to Cambridge in 1919, prepared to continue his work as lecturer, but instead was elected to the post of Chair of Mechanical Sciences. Before the war, there had been 250 undergraduate engineering students, and this number has placed great strain on the existing accommodation. The immediate postwar intake was 800, and Inglis had no option but to move the department to new facilities. A new four acre site was acquired and the Inglis building erected between 1920 and 1923.

Inglis remained in the Chair of Mechanical Sciences until his retirement in 1943. He was against premature specialization in engineering students, and advocated the teaching of aesthetics for engineers.

Outside of academia, Inglis served on the Bridge Stress Committee which had been set up in 1923 to look into the behaviour of railway bridges under moving loads. He also worked on the enquiry into the loss of the airship R101. He served on the Councils of the Institutions of Naval Architects, Civil Engineers and Water Engineers, and was President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1941. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1943.  Two years later he received a knighthood. 

He died on 19 April 1952. 

1944 - Asa Binns

Asa Binns was born in Keighley in 1873 and was educated at Keighley Grammar School and Leeds University. He was awarded a Whitworth exhibition in 1896.

Practical training followed at engineering works in Leeds and Bradford but it was an appointment to the civil engineering department of the Admiralty at the Hull docks of the North-Eastern Railway that was to set the path for the rest of his working life.

The training he received with the Admiralty led to an appointment with the London and India Docks Company, later the Port of London Authority. Through his talent and determination he achieved the position of chief engineer in 1928 and stayed with the authority until his retirement in 1938.

His main interest was dock construction and he worked on the George V Dock at North Woolwich and the Royal Albert Dock.

He was President of the IMechE in 1940 and of the Institution of Engineers-in-Charge from 1936-37.

Binns died in 1946.

1944 - Air Commodore Frank Whittle

Frank Whittle was born near Coventry on 1 June 1907 In 1923 Whittle was accepted by RAF Cranwell to train as an aircraft fitter and rigger. During his three year apprenticeship, he was a keen member of the Model Aircraft Society. In 1926, out of six hundred apprenticeships, he was awarded one of only five cadetships, and joined the RAF College at Cranwell as a Flight Cadet. It was here that, at the age of 21, he wrote a thesis entitled ‘Future Developments in Aircraft Design’, in which he envisaged speeds of over 500mph in the stratosphere. This was at a time where the maximum speed of RAF fighters was 150mph.

In 1928, Whittle joined the No 111 Fighter Squadron, and spent just over a year there before being posted to the Central Flying School as a pupil on the 30th Flying Instructors’ Course. During his time here, he continued to work on his ideas for a high-altitude high-speed aeroplane, and it was at this time that he first considered using a gas turbine to provide jet propulsion. His earlier thesis had only considered rocket propulsion and a gas turbine driving a propeller. With support from his Commandant, Group Captain Baldwin, Whittle’s ideas were brought to the attention of the Air Ministry, and a meeting arranged with Dr. A. A. Griffith, who was interested in gas turbines for driving propellers. Despite the promise shown in Whittle’s ideas, Griffiths was unimpressed. The Air Ministry rejected Whittle’s proposals and denied him funding. Despite this setback, and with the support of Flying Officer W. E. P. Johnson, Whittle filed a patent on 16 January 1930. As the Air Ministry showed no interest, it was not placed on the secret list.

Once he had completed the officers’ engineering course at Henlow, the RAF sent him to Cambridge University, where he spent most of his time working on his engine project. In the middle of his two year course, Whittle received word from one of his former RAF colleagues, Rolf Dudley Williams, who wrote to say that he had interested a ‘big noise’ in the engineering firm General Enterprises Ltd. in Whittle’s ideas. After a meeting to discuss the project, they agreed to cover the expenses of patents and raising money for research, and to act as Whittle’s agents. Although by this time the original patent had lapsed, a new one was obtained by patenting a series of improvements to the original specification. Eventually a firm of investment bankers, O.T. Falk and Partners, became interested in the project and funding became forthcoming. On 27 January 1936, an agreement was signed between Falk & Partners, the Air Council, Williams and Tinling, and Whittle, under the terms of which a company, Power Jets Limited, was formed to exploit the turbojet engine. Whittle was permitted by the Air Ministry to act as Honorary Chief Engineer and Technical Consultant for a period of five years, although this was to be on a strictly part-time basis; he needed the permission of the President of the Air Council to work for the company for more than six hours a week.

The experimental engine was to be constructed by the British Thomson-Houston Company. Although it was not intended for flight purposes, Whittle did have a target flight in mind; powering a small 500mph mailplane, he hoped it would carry 500 lb of mail across the Atlantic in six hours. Although initially Whittle and his colleagues had intended to built and test all the engine components separately, this proved much too costly, and due to financial restraints, they had to build the complete engine in one go. The first test run of the engine was carried out on 12th April 1937. Although the engine ran, Whittle was not satisfied with its performance, and despite working on many modifications, came to the conclusion that a major reconstruction of the engine was necessary. Funding was eventually obtained, after some difficulty, and Whittle was posted to the Special Duty List. This meant that work on the engine was now his official fulltime employment.

In the summer of 1939, an Air Ministry contract was signed for a flight engine, the W.1, and an experimental aircraft – the Gloster/Whittle E.28/39, Britain’s first jet. Whittle was also assured that, even if war were to break out, the Air Ministry wanted the work to continue, and that Whittle’s position on the Special Duty List was secure. The E.28/39 made its maiden flight on 15 May 1941, and trials continued for twelve days. During this year, Rolls Royce began making turbine blades, gearcases and other components for the programme. Within the year, General Motors was constructing Whittle engines in the US. In 1942, Whittle was sent there to do whatever he could to help with the American development of the engine.

Rolls Royce’s involvement with the jet engine grew, and eventually the firm took over its production and development. Jet fighter aircraft finally entered service in 1944, and by the end of the war, Power Jets had been taken over by the government. Whittle handed over his shares without receiving any payment, stating that he did not believe a serving officer should benefit commercially. In 1945, Air Commodore Whittle delivered the first James Clayton Lecture at the IMechE. This was the first public address on the subject, and was so popular that it had to be repeated. In 1948 he was knighted, and retired from the RAF, due to ill health, with the rank of Air Commodore. He was also awarded £100,000 by the government for his invention.

In the 1950s, he planned Comet jetliner operations for BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation), and during the 1960s he developed the Turbodrill for drilling through the earth’s crust as Technical Advisor to Bristol Siddeley Engines (later Rolls Royce). These helped to open up the North Sea for oil exploration. In 1976 he settled in America and was a member of the Faculty of the US Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland.

Later, in the 1980s, he worked on Super Concorde designs, which would have been capable of 2500 mph, and aimed at supersonic flights to Hong Kong in three and a half hours.

Whittle died in 1996.

1945 - Sir William Arthur Stanier

Sir William Stanier was born in 1876, the son of a Great Western Railway Stores Superintendent. It was at the GWR works at Swindon that Stanier gained an engineering apprenticeship and experience of locomotive engineering.

He stayed with the GWR for forty years progressing from the drawing office to a position as Principal Assistant to the Chief Mechanical Engineer. During this time he acquired technical and managerial expertise and a reputation for integrity and leadership.

The pinnacle of his career was achieved with the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. He was appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1932 and was tasked with improving rolling stock. In 1933 he introduced the Coronation Pacifics, followed by the Jubilees and a mixed-traffic locomotive series the Black Class Fives. His locomotives were reliable and pioneering.

He was President of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers in 1936-7 and 1938-9 and became President of the IMechE in 1941. Further distinctions followed with a knighthood conferred in 1943 and a Fellowship of the Royal Society.

He died in 1965.

1945 - Dr Ervin George Bailey

Ervin George Bailey was born on 25 December 1880 in Damascus, Ohio.  He was the fifth of eight children. He was mechanically gifted as a child, and invented a number of labour saving machines while working on his father’s farm and sawmill. In 1998 he went to Ohio State University to study engineering, graduating in 1903.

He began work in the same year with the Consolidated Coal Company of Fairmont, West Virginia, where he spent nearly five years in the test department, before being recruited by Arthur D. Little of Boston to establish a coal testing department. Two years later, in 1909, he set up the Fuel Testing Company in Boston with two college friends. In working to improve the efficiency of coal-fired boilers he developed the Furnace Indicator, which guided the stoker on how much coal to add, and then, in 1915, the Bailey Boiler Meter, which accurately measured the flow of air into the fuel bad and the flow of steam from the boiler. At the beginning of 1916 he established the Bailey Meter Company, moving it from Boston to Cleveland in 1919. In 1922 he produced the Bailey automated control system, which not only measured, but also regulated the flow of air and fuel to a boiler. His inventions facilitated the culmination of traditional steam technology, achieving maximum efficiency from coal-fired boilers.

In 1926 he sold the Bailey Meter Company to the Babcock & Wilcox Company, although he continued as President, also becoming President of another Babcock & Wilcox subsidiary which manufactured coal pulverizing equipment. He also served as Vice-President of Babcock & Wilcox from 1931 to 1952, where he was in charge of research and development, designing the cyclone furnace to burn pulverized coal most efficiently, and developing water-cooled furnace walls to overcome the limitations of refractory materials available at the time. He retired as Chairman of the Bailey Meter Company in 1956. 

He won the Franklin Institute’s Longstreth Medal in 1930, the Ohio State Lamme Medal in 1936, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Medal in 1942, being elected their President in1948. In 1952 the four US national engineering societies awarded him the John Fritz Medal for outstanding achievement in the field of combustion. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1949.

He died on 18 December 1974 in Easton, Pennsylvania, at the age of 93.

1945 - Professor Jerome Clarke Hunsaker

Jerome Clarke Hunsaker was born on 26 August 1886, in Creston, Ohio. He was the son of Walter J Hunsaker, a newspaper publisher, and his wife Alma. He was educated in schools in Detroit and Saginaw, Michigan, before enrolling in the US Naval Academy.  He graduated at the head of his class in 1908. He was assigned by the Navy to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to study ship construction, where he received his masters degree in naval architecture in 1912.

He was then sent to the Boston Naval Yard, but in 1913 went to MIT to develop courses in aerodynamics, spending some time in Europe studying aeronautical research, including wind tunnel design at the National Physical Laboratories at Teddington. He returned to MIT in 1914, where he set about designing a wind tunnel. He was awarded MIT’s first doctorate in aeronautical engineering in 1916, that same year moving to be head of the Aircraft Division of the Navy’s Bureau of Construction and Repair. In 1918 he was charged with designing and building a flying boat capable of crossing the Atlantic. This aircraft, the Navy Curtiss, was the largest aircraft in the world at the time. At the end of the First World War he went to Germany to study Zeppelin design.

In 1926 he joined the Bell Telephone Laboratories to develop communication services for aircraft, and then in 1928 he joined the Goodyear Zeppelin Company to help develop a trans-Atlantic passenger service, although this was to be unsuccessful.

He returned to MIT as Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1933.  He became the founding Head of the newly-formed Department of Aeronautical Engineering in 1939, where he was instrumental in developing the academic basis of aeronautical Engineering. He retired from the MIT Faculty in 1952, although he remained active, continuing to serve as Chairman of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, a post he had occupied since the Second World War. In 1954 MIT established the Hunsaker professorship in the Department of Aeronautical Engineering in his honour.

He was appointed CBE in 1969. He was a member of the US National Academy of Sciences and of the US National Academy of Engineering. He was awarded honorary degrees by Williams College, Adelphi College, and Northeastern University, and he was a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Physical Society. He was an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences, the Royal Aeronautical Society, and Imperial College London. He was an Honorary Fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1945.

He married Alice Ported Avery in 1911 and they had one son and three daughters.

He died in September 1984 in Cambridge, Massachusetts at the age of 98.

1946 - Professor Sir Geoffrey Ingram Taylor

Geoffrey Ingram Taylor was born on 7 March 1886 in St John’s Wood, London.  He was the eldest son of Edward Ingram Taylor, an artist, and Margaret, daughter of George Boole, Professor of Mathematics at Queen’s College, Cork.  He was educated at University College School in Cambridge and then at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was awarded first class honours in 1908 and received a major scholarship. This enabled him to stay on at the Cavendish Laboratory, and two years later he won the Smith’s Prize for the theoretical study of shock waves. In 1911 he became the first reader in meteorology at the university.

In 1913 he was meteorologist to the Scotia Expedition to the North Atlantic to investigate the flow of icebergs following the sinking of the SS Titanic. His observations here formed the basis of later work on the turbulent mixing of air.

During the First World War he went to the Royal Ordnance Factory at Farnborough, where he worked on aircraft design. He learned to fly, and later went to France as a meteorologist with the Royal Flying Corps. After the First World War he returned to Cambridge, first as a lecturer in mathematics, and later as a Yarrow research professor, a post he held until his retirement in 1951. Here he pursued his studies into turbulence – the mechanics of air and water – and began also a study into the irregularities of crystal structure in metals.

In the Second World War he worked on the propagation and effect of blast and shock waves, both in air and in water. In 1944 he went to the USA as a member of the group working on the Manhattan Project – the development of the first nuclear bomb – at Los Alamos. After the end of the Second World War he continued to serve on the Aeronautical Research Committee, working on the development of supersonic aircraft. He officially retired in 1952, but continued his researches for most of the rest of his life. His last research paper was published in 1969 when he was 83. In it he discussed the electrical activity in thunderstorms, modelled as jets of conducting liquid driven by electrical fields, and the cones from which such jets are observed are now known as ‘Taylor’ cones. He suffered a stroke in 1972, and this put an end to his work.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1919, and was awarded its Royal Medal in 1933 and its Copley Medal in 1944, the same year in which he was knighted. He was awarded the American Medal of Merit in 1947, and in 1962 he was awarded the Franklin Medal.   He has received many honorary doctorates from universities both in the UK and overseas, and in 1969 he was appointed to the Order of Merit.

He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1945, and was awarded the Watt Medal of that institution in 1965.

He died on 27 June 1975 in Cambridge at the age of 89.

1946 - William Loren Batt

William Loren Batt was born in 1885 in Salem, Indiana.  He received his technical education at Purdue University and graduated in 1907 with a degree in mechanical engineering.  For a short time afterwards he was private assistant to the Dean of Engineering at the university.

His career in engineering began when he joined the Hess–Bright Manufacturing Company of Philadelphia, makers of anti-friction bearings, where he subsequently became General Manager. In May 1917 the Hess–Bright Manufacturing Company was incorporated into the SKF Ball Bearing Company, and he was later appointed to the position of Vice-President of SKF, becoming President in 1922. He was also a director of the Air Pre-Heater Company and of the American Bosch Corporation and the United Gas Improvement Company. 

In the period between the First and Second World Wars he worked to promote strong commercial relations between the USA and Sweden, being involved for a number of years in the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in the USA, where he was successively Director and Vice-President. He was Chairman of the executive committee of the International Management Congress held in Washington in 1938, and would have been President of the cancelled 1941 Stockholm meeting. In recognition of his work in this area he was appointed, by King Gustav V of Sweden, to the Order of Vasa in 1926 and the Royal Order of the North Star in 1933.

During the Second World War he held a number of important US Government posts, serving on the Advisory Commission to the Council for National Defence and on the Harriman Mission to Moscow in 1941. He was also Deputy Director of Production and later Director of Materials at the Office of Production Management, and Director of Materials and then Vice-President of the War Production Board,

He received many honours and awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from Purdue University, the Gantt Medal, and the Edward Bok Medal.

He was President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1936, and was made an Honorary Member in 1942. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1946.

He died in 1965 in his 80th year.

1947 - Walter Gordon Wilson

Walter Gordon Wilson was born on 21 April 1874 in Blackrock, County Dublin.  He was the fifth son of the barrister George Orr Wilson and his wife Annie, née Shaw. After his early schooling he was enrolled as a Navy Cadet in the Britannia. He entered King’s College, Cambridge, in 1894, graduating in mechanical sciences in 1897.

He was at first very interested in the idea of powered flight, but early design efforts in this area were brought to an abrupt end when a close friend and colleague was killed in a glider accident.  He turned instead to the design of automobiles, producing his first car around the turn of the century. In 1904 he designed a car for the Armstrong, Whitworth Company, and in 1908 he moved to J and E Hall of Dartford, designing the Hallford lorry for them.  This lorry was widely used by the Army in the First World War.

During the First World War he served as a Lieutenant with the Royal Navy Armoured Car Division, where he soon became involved in the construction of armoured vehicles. In 1915 he was posted to Squadron 20 of the Armoured Car Division, where he was placed in charge of the first experiments at Burton Upon Trent which were to lead to the development of the first tank. Through various designs – starting with ‘Little Willie’ in 1915 – the prototype of the first production tank, known as ‘Mother’, was developed, and the subsequent Mark 1 tank first saw action on the Somme in 1916. He transferred to the Army in 1916, becoming a Major in what, from 1917, was the Royal Tank Corps. He was appointed Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George, and was Chief of Design in the Mechanical Warfare Department of the War Office until the end of the War.

After the First World War he continued his work on gearbox design, developing the Wilson Self-Changing Gearbox, and founding the Self-Changing  Gears Company Ltd in Coventry, providing gearboxes for many motor manufacturers in 1920s and 1930s.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and had been a member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers from 1916. In 1938 he was awarded the George Stephenson Prize by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and when the Institution of Automobile Engineers amalgamated with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1947, he was elected an Honorary Member.

On 1 June 1904 he married Ethel Crommelin, and they had three sons.

He died on 30 June 1957 at his home near Winchester in Hampshire at the age of 83. 

1947 - Leslie Haywood Hounsfield

Leslie Haywood Hounsfield was born in 1877 at Oxhey Hall near Watford in Hertfordshire.  As a young engineer he first made a living designing and manufacturing pumps, founding Polygon Engineering in South London in 1904. Subsequently he set about designing a reliable and affordable car, building his first prototype in 1913. He claimed that the engine of this vehicle had just seven moving parts. He renamed the company ‘Trojan’ in the following year, moving it to Croydon and producing a second prototype, but the First World War put further production on hold until 1920.

In 1921 Trojan signed a licensing deal with Leyland, and during 1922 and 1923 some 17,000 cars were built. In 1923 he retired as managing director of Trojan, becoming Leyland’s chief engineer in the Trojan department. The licensing agreement with Leyland came to an end in 1928, and during the following year the Trojan Company moved its production from the Leyland factory. After the intervention of the Second World War Trojan recommenced vehicle production in 1948, and were to continue to manufacture commercial vehicles until 1964 – Trojan ‘mechanical horses’ were common sights around railway stations throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

He set up another company in the 1930s, Hounsfield, which manufactured a patented folding spring camp bed of his own design, and engineering testing equipment. The test equipment became very successful and was sold around the world, and this was to lay the foundation for Hounsfield Test Equipment Ltd, a hugely successful and innovative test equipment manufacturer which eventually became part of the Tinius Olsen Testing Machine Company of Philadelphia in 2004.

He was a Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers, and when that Institution was amalgamated with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1947 he was elected an Honorary Member.

He died on 17 September 1957 at the age of 80.

1947 - Colonel Stephen John Thompson

Colonel S J Thompson was born in Wolverhampton in 1875 and obtained his early training as a mechanical engineer as an apprentice in the Ettingshall boiler works. He gained experience in the shops and drawing office and on completion of his apprenticeship he became assistant works manager, progressing to a partnership in 1901.

He founded the firm of John Thompson Ltd and associated companies, taking up the position of Governing Director in 1938. His companies manufactured steam boilers, motor body frames, water softeners and steel window frames. Thompson initiated many developments in modern power plant processes and in addition to his technical expertise was noted for his humanistic attitude towards his employees.

During the First World War he served as a Battery Commander in the Royal Artillery and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order. He also held notable offices in public life, including High Sheriff and later Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Staffordshire. His involvement with the IMechE led to the formation of the Midland Branch in Birmingham in 1923. He was elected a Member of Council in 1925 and became President in 1942. An interest in engineering history led him to gift a collection of George Stephenson artefacts which are held in the archives.

Colonel Stephen John Thompson died in 1955.

1947 - Sir Standen Leonard Pearce

Standen Leonard Pearce was born on 28 September 1873 at Crewkerne in Somerset.  He was the son of the Reverend Standen Pearce and his wife, Sarah, née Young. He was educated at the Bishops Stortford College and then at the Finsbury Technical College. He then served an apprenticeship with the Electrical Engineering Corporation of West Drayton, and with Thomas Richardson and Sons, of Hartlepool, after which he spent a year at sea.

In 1897 he began working for the Metropolitan Electric Supply Company, and in 1899 he moved to the British Thomson-Houston Company, where he was involved with the construction of electrical equipment for the Central London Railway. Also known as the ‘Twopenny Tube’ this is now the Central Line of the London Underground, and after the railway opened in 1900 he became Superintendent Engineer at the Shepherd’s Bush power station. In 1901 he was appointed Chief Electrical Engineer to the Manchester Corporation, subsequently becoming their consulting electrical engineer, remaining in that post until 1925.

After a short period in Sydney, Australia, he was appointed Engineer-in-Chief of the London Power Company, where, amongst other things, he was responsible for the design and construction of the Deptford West and Battersea power stations. Aside from its iconic appearance – the work of architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott – the Battersea power station was also innovative in having integral flue-washing plant to eliminate fumes. For many years his designs for power stations were amongst the most efficient.

He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Manchester University, and received the Constantine Gold Medal (1914), the Watt Gold Medal (1924), and the Faraday Medal (1947).  He was appointed CBE in 1919 and knighted in 1935. He was a Member of Council of the Institution of Civil Engineers, Vice-President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, President of the Junior Institution of Engineers, and Chairman of the Manchester Association. He was President of the Incorporated Municipal Electrical Association, and a member of the National Fuel Research Board.  He was a member of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers.

He was a Vice-President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and the Thomas Hawksley Lecturer in 1940, and in 1947 he was elected an Honorary Member.

On 18 July 1901 he married Susannah Kate, née Cockhead, and they had one daughter.

He died on 20 October 1947 at ‘Crewkerne’, his home in Bickley, Kent, at the age of 74.

1947-Sir Arthur Morley

Arthur Morley was born in 1876 at Cheadle Hulme in Cheshire.  He was the son of James Bolton and Letitia Agnes Morley. He was educated at Manchester University, and served his apprenticeship with L Gardner and Sons of Patricroft.

In 1900 and 1901 he was a demonstrator in engineering at the Yorkshire College in Leeds, and from 1901 until 1905 he was the senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at University College, Nottingham, and subsequently professor of engineering. In 1912 he was appointed His Majesty’s Inspector of Schools, and in 1919 he was promoted to the position of Staff Inspector (Engineering) for the Board of Education, in which post he remained until his retirement in 1937. It was here that he made probably his most significant contribution to engineering, being instrumental in the introduction in the 1920s of the first National Certificates and Diplomas in Mechanical Engineering – awards which became the prototypes for similar schemes in other branches of engineering and technology.

He was a prolific author, and his publications include Mechanics for Engineers (1905), Strength of Materials (1908) Applied Mechanics (1911), Theory of Structures (1912) and Mechanical Engineering Science (1938).

He was a Doctor of Science, and he was appointed OBE in 1937. He was first elected to membership of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1907, and was made an Honorary Member in 1947.

He married Catherine Brown of Liverpool in 1903, and they had two sons.

He died on 5 January 1962 at his home in Bath at the age of 85.

1948-Professor Frederick Charles Lea

Frederick Lea was born in 1871 and was educated at Owens College in Manchester. He undertook his engineering education at the Royal College of Science, London and displayed such an aptitude for engineering that he was both a Whitworth Exhibitioner and a Whitworth Scholar. In later years he was to serve as President of the Whitworth Society. His career began in the field of railway engineering, serving as an apprentice with the London and North Western Railway at Crewe. He progressed to an appointment as assistant in the civil engineering department.

However, in 1900 a keen interest in engineering education led to an appointment as chief assistant to Professor W C Unwin at the City and Guilds Engineering College in South Kensington, London. This experience resulted in a position as an engineering inspector with the Board of Education, but Lea returned to full-time academia as Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Birmingham in 1913.

He had spent a year in the post when the First World War broke out and he served as an honorary lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve and as a captain in the Royal Air Force.

At the close of the war he returned to the University of Birmingham and spent the rest of his career in education. He retired from the chair of mechanical engineering at Sheffield University in 1936. Throughout his academic career he worked across a wide range of fields but his specialisms were hydraulics, metals properties and structures. He was the recipient of a number of awards, including the Telford Prize, the Crampton Prize, the Concrete Institute medal and the T Bernard Hall Prize.

Lea became President of the IMechE in 1943 and was a popular member of the Yorkshire Branch, serving as Chairman. He was also an Honorary Fellow of Imperial College, a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and a member of the Institution of Structural Engineers. He was made an OBE in recognition of his aeronautical work. He died in 1952.

1949-Professor John Orr

John Orr was born in Shotts, Lanarkshire, Scotland in 1870. He attended Coatbridge Mining College, the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, and Glasgow University. He graduated from Glasgow University as Bachelor of Science in Engineering. In 1893 he was awarded a Whitworth Exhibition and an Exhibition tenable at the Royal College of Science, London. He served an apprenticeship with A F Craig and Company Limited, Paisley, and with Gibb and Hogg Limited, Airdrie.

Orr went to South Africa in 1897 as lecturer at the South African College, Cape Town. The following year he was appointed Professor of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the South African School of Mines, Kimberley. When this school was moved to Johannesburg in 1903 Orr became Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Transvaal Technical Institute, successively known as the Transvaal University College, the South African School of Mines and Technology, University College, Johannesburg, and the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1925 he became the first President of the Council of the newly created Witwatersrand Technical College, and was later appointed Director. He retired from this position in 1945.

He was President of the South African Institution of Engineers, and Chairman of the South African Standards Institution. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1949.

He died in 1954.

1949-Sir Harry Ralph Ricardo

Harry Ralph Ricardo was born in 1885, the year of Karl Benz’s first single-cylinder petrol engine vehicle.  The evolution of this primitive piece of engineering, capable of a maximum of 8mph, to machines capable of far in excess of 2500hp was to be Ricardo’s life work.   His interest in automobiles dates from the moment he drove his first car, a 3.5hp Benz dog cart, as a schoolboy of 13.

Ricardo completed his education at Trinity College, Cambridge.  He was taught by Bertram Hopkinson (1874-1918), and also conducted engine research for him.  Ricardo’s mix of practical expertise and acute experimental observation gave him a formidable knowledge of subjects such as engine knock and pre-ignition, which were then fairly obscure.  In 1908 he founded a business, the Two Stroke Engine Company.  The firm exploited Ricardo’s first patented engine, the Dolphin, which was used in fishing boats and automobiles.

The Dolphin was a relatively short-lived venture.  By 1914, Ricardo was touring works in America and Europe in preparation for a senior mechanical post in the firm Rendel, Palmer and Tritton.  He later became active in promoting new aero engines for the Royal Navy Air Service, leading him to be appointed engineer to the Department of Mechanical Warfare.  Consulted on tank development, Ricardo provided new powerplant designs of 150hp, later 225hp, for the British Mark 5 tank.  Ricardo’s engines were manufactured in large numbers from 1917, transforming the tank into an effective battlefield weapon.

Ricardo was awarded royalties of £30,000 by the government in recognition of his work in tank engine development.  He used the money to establish a private centre for research into the internal combustion engine, fulfilling a long-held ambition.  Ricardo had formed Engine Patents Limited in 1915 but it was not until 1919 that its base was moved to the Bridge Works at Shoreham.  The Ricardo Company was named in 1920.

The firm’s earliest contract was for fuel research for the Asiatic (Shell) Petroleum Company.  During the years 191-1921 Ricardo’s compiled an analysis of the quality of commercial fuels to a standard rating – eventually expressed as an ‘octane number’. This was fundamental work.  Ricardo’s team of Sir David Pye (1886-1860) FRS and Sir Henry Tizard (1885-1859) FRS eventually became leading British scientists in their own right.  Another, more practical consequence of Ricardo’s interest in fuel selection was the enabling of Alcock and Brown’s transatlantic flight in 1919.

The publication of Harry Ricardo’s book The internal combustion engine…(1922-1923) established him as the main authority of the inter-war years.  Ricardo’s practical contributions included work on the world’s first diesel passenger car, the Citroen Rosalie, and he enjoyed particular success with the Comet combustion chamber for high-speed diesels from 1931.  Ricardo’s interest in aircraft engines continued and his association with the competing Bristol, Napier and Rolls-Royce companies testify to his unique role in commercial research.

In championing the sleeve valve aeronautical engine during the Second World War, Ricardo remained a true piston-engineer.  This was despite his assistance to Sir Frank Whittle’s development of the jet engine, for which he designed a barometric fuel control system.  The jet would eventually consume Ricardo’s own wartime high performance type, the revolutionary Rolls Royce Crecy engine, tested in 1944 but never flown.

In 1948, Harry Ricardo was knighted.  He had earlier been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (1929) and had served as President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (1944-1945).  Post-war, the Ricardo Company increasingly moved into automotive and commercial vehicle engine research, but also carried out pioneering research in other areas.  For example, British Railways’ foray into diesel-mechanical Fell locomotives, developed in 1948-1951, utilized Paxman-Ricardo prime movers and expertise.

Harry Ricardo retired fully in 1965.  Before his death in 1974 he wrote a full account of his life and times, Memories and machines (1968), an entertaining testimony of what it is to be an engineer.

His company became Ricardo Consulting Engineers in 1970.  The automotive sector remained a company specialization: in the 1970s, for example, Ricardo’s pioneered the use of Stirling engines for passenger cars on behalf of the US Department of Energy.  Additionally, the present company has operations in vehicle engineering, driveline and transmissions and motor sports.  A notable success in Harry Ricardo’s beloved aeronautical field was an engine redesign for Voyager, the first aircraft to fly around the world without refuelling, in 1986.

1950-Dr Fredrik Ljungström

Fredrik Ljungström was born in Stockholm in 1875. Poor health meant that he was unable to receive a formal education, but he taught himself engineering, and at the age of 18 began working in his brother's factory. Until 1896, he worked on the development of the Svea bicycle, and was then employed by Alfred Nobel for a time. He later travelled to Newcastle-upon-Tyne to receive engineering training with the firm of Dunford and Elliot.

During the Second World War, he was responsible for easing his country's fuel shortage by extracting oil from shale by electrically heating rods in a circle deep in shale deposits.  Gas and oil were forced out of a central hole by the pressure generated.

Ljungström was a keen sailor, and following the end of the war, he worked on the stabilization of sailing vessels through the use of hydrofoils carried on spars from the mast, the lifting forces of which converge on the centre of lift of the sail.

He was awarded the James Watt International Medal by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1949, and on 29 April 1949 presented a paper dealing with some of the major achievements of his career, including the Ljungström air preheater and the 'Stal' steam engine which he developed with his brother Birger Ljungström. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution the following year.

Dr. Fredrik Ljungström died in 1964.

1950-Colonel Sir Samuel Henry Egerton Barraclough

Henry Barraclough KBE CBE was born in 1874. He attended the University of Sydney, graduating with Honours. In 1892 he was awarded an 1851 Exhibition Science Travelling Scholarship. He went to Cornell University, completed a post-graduate course, and was awarded the degree of Master of Mechanical Engineering and the Sibley Fellowship in Mechanical Engineering.

After travelling further he returned to Sydney and was appointed to the teaching staff of the University of Sydney in 1896. He became an assistant professor in 1908 and Professor of Mechanical Engineering in 1916.
During the First World War he served as a commissioned officer of the Army Intelligence Corps, serving in India, Egypt, France and Great Britain. He was demobilized with the rank of Colonel in 1920. He administered the Australian Munitions Workers scheme from London. His contributions were recognized in 1919 with the CBE (Military Division) and a Knighthood of the British Empire in 1920.

Barraclough was Dean of the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Sydney from 1924 to 1933, and again from 1936 until his retirement in 1941. He was awarded the title of Professor Emeritus by the Senate of the University upon his retirement.

In 1943 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, of which he was President in 1935. He was elected a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1907, and was made an Honorary Member in 1950. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Colonel Sir Henry Barraclough died in 1958. 

1950-Professor Andrew Robertson

Andrew Robertson was born in 1883 in Lancashire, the son of a marine engineer. He was apprenticed in his father’s engineering works gaining a thorough practical training. He showed talent and achieved a place at Manchester University. A first-class honours degree, a Fairbairn engineering prize and a graduate scholarship were the result of his hard work and technical aptitude.

Robertson’s academic skill led to appointments as a demonstrator and tutor at the university. Prior to the First World War he started investigations in to the behaviour of mild steel with his colleague Gilbert Cook. The war took him to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough where he worked on materials testing. He dedicated his time to examining the strength of struts and his findings influenced working practices in the steel industry.

After the war Robertson was appointed Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol. The mechanical engineering faculty was part of the Bristol Merchant Venturers College and in 1924 he was elected Principal of the college and dean of the faculty. In addition to his academic work he acted as a consultant and designer.

He achieved honours from Bristol and Bath universities and continued his research into steel in to the 1920s. In 1940 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society and he became President of the IMechE in 1945.

He died in 1970.

1951-Senator Ralph Edward Flanders

Ralph Edward Flanders was born on 28 September 1880 in Barnet, Vermont.  He was educated at schools in Pawtucket and Central Falls, leaving in 1896 to take up an apprenticeship at the Brown and Sharp Manufacturing Company in Providence, Rhode Island.

After his apprenticeship he moved through a number of different engineering companies before being offered the post of Editor of Machine magazine in 1905.  He held this post, based in New York, for five years, travelling widely and writing about all aspects of engineering manufacturing, from tin cans to motor cars.

In 1910 he moved to Springfield, Vermont, where he took a position as mechanical engineer at the Fellows Gear Shaper Company.  The following year he moved to the Jones & Lamson Machine Tool Company (J&L). Here he was responsible for the manufacture of automatic lathes, which he redesigned to give greater accuracy and productivity, and where he implemented a continuous production, bringing some of the efficiencies of mass production to machine tool manufacture. He became a director of J&L in 1912 and President in 1933. With his brother he was also instrumental in developing screw thread grinding machines, and they were awarded the Franklin Institute’s Edward Longstreth Medal for this in 1946.

In 1917 he served in the Machine Tool Section of the War Industry Board, and after the First World War served the Screw Thread Committee of the American Standards Association. In 1933 he was appointed to the government’s Business Advisory Council as Chairman of the Committee on Unemployment. In 1933 he was appointed to the Industrial Advisory Board of the National Recovery Administration. From 1944 to 1946 he was President of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, and after the Second World War he served on Committee for Economic Development. He was elected Republican Senator for Vermont in 1946, being re-elected in 1952, although he did not stand in 1958.

He was President of the National Machine Tool Builders Association in 1924, and was President of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1935, having been a member since 1914, and receiving their Worcester Reed Warner Medal in 1934. In 1944 he received the Hoover Medal for public service. He was a member of the corporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a trustee of Norwich University, Vermont, and he has many honorary degrees, including Doctor of Laws from Harvard University. He was elected Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1951.

He married Helen Edith née Harkness, daughter of industrialist James Harkness, in 1911, and they had two daughters and a son.

He died on 19 February 1970 in Springfield, Vermont, at the age of 89.

1951-Sir John Douglas Cockcroft OM KCB CBE FRS

John Cockcroft was born on 27 May 1897 at Langfield in Yorkshire.  He was one of four children of John Arthur Cockcroft and Annie Maude, née Fielden. He was educated at Todmorden secondary school and in 1914 won a scholarship to study mathematics at the University of Manchester.

During the First World War he was a signaller in the Royal Field Artillery. He returned to Manchester, to the College of Technology, in 1919, graduating the following year.  He gained a college apprenticeship in engineering at the Metropolitan-Vickers Company, where he gained his masters degree in 1922. He went on to St John’s College, Cambridge in 1924, subsequently working with Rutherford at the Cavendish Laboratory and gaining his PhD in 1928. Working with Peter Kapitza and later E T S Walton in 1932 he succeeded in disintegrating a lithium atom with a proton beam. From 1935 he took charge of the Royal Society Mond Laboratory, directing its low-temperature research work, and was Jacksonian Professor of Natural Philosophy from 1939 to 1946.

In the Second World War he was Chief Superintendent of the Air Defence Research and Development Establishment at Christchurch, and from 1940 he was involved in early discussions about atomic bombs. From 1942 he was director of the Montreal laboratory of the National Research Council of Canada, working on the NRX heavy water reactor at Chalk River. He returned to the UK in 1946 as director of the newly-formed Atomic Energy Research Establishment.  From 1954 this was under the control of the Atomic Energy Authority (AEA), of which he was a member. He instigated fusion research at Harwell, and was influential in the creation of the Rutherford High Energy Laboratory and in the establishment of the Conseil Européen de Recherché Nucléaires (CERN). He also cooperated closely with the Medical Research Council on radiological protection, and radioisotopes for biological and industrial uses came to be an important income stream for Harwell.

In 1955 he was the British representative at the first United Nations Geneva conference on the peaceful uses of atomic energy, and again at the second conference in 1958. He resigned from full-time involvement in the AEA in 1959, becoming the first Master of Churchill College, Cambridge. Amongst many other roles, he was President of the Pugwash Conference and Chancellor of the Australian National University, Canberra. He was President of the British Association, the Institute of Physics, and the Physical Society. He was a freeman of many cities, had honorary degrees from universities around the world, and was the recipient of many awards and medals, including the Faraday Medal, the Kelvin Medal, the Churchill Gold Medal, and the Nils Bohr Medal.

In 1951, with E T S Walton he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics, and in 1961 he received the Atoms for Peace Award. He was knighted in 1948, and appointed to the Order of Merit in 1957. He was an Honorary Member of the Institute of Marine Engineers, the Institute of Metals, and the Institution of Civil Engineers, and in 1951 was elected Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

He married Eunice Elizabeth, née Crabtree on 26 August 1925, and they had two sons and four daughters.

He died on 18 September 1967 at Churchill College, Cambridge, at the age of 70.

1951-Dr Hans Henrick Blache

Hans Henrick Blache was born in Copenhagen on 17 September 1874. He attended the Royal Technical University, and received a mechanical engineering degree in 1896. He spent the next year working in the naval yard as part of his conscription.

In 1897 he began working for Burmester and Wain as an engineering designer. He worked mainly on steam engines and steam turbines until 1912, when the firm completed its first ocean-going ship, the Selendia, to be propelled by internal-combustion engines. Blache worked on this vessel as assistant to Ivar Knudsen, and was soon given charge of engineering designs. He was then closely involved with the development of the internal combustion engine.
He became a managing director of Burmester and Wain in 1919. Two years later he was created a Knight of the Order of Dannebrog, and in 1929 decorated with the Silver Cross of the same Order. He was awarded an honorary doctor's degree in the same year by the Royal Technical University. Blache was Chairman of the Danish Society of Marine Engineers and Naval Architects from 1915 to 1936. He also served as Chairman of the Danish Committee of the World Power Conference.
When the company of Burmester and Wain was restructured in the 1930s, a special position was created for Blache, which led to his becoming consultant to Harland and Wolff Limited in Belfast between January 1937 and November 1938. On his return to Denmark, he became a consultant for a shipbuilding company there.
Dr Blache was awarded the James Watt International Medal by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in May 1951, and at the same time was made an Honorary Member. He died the following year, on 16 March 1952.

1951-Oliver Vaughan Snell Bulleid

Oliver Bulleid was born in 1882 in New Zealand but at the age of seven his mother was widowed and the family moved to England. He was educated at Spa College at the Bridge of Allan and then at Accrington Technical School. In 1901 he gained an apprenticeship at the Doncaster works of the Great Northern Railway. He combined his training with furthering his education at Leeds and Sheffield universities.

Bulleid’s apprenticeship led to a life-long interest in railway engineering. At the age of twenty-six he took his new skills abroad, working for the French Westinghouse Company in Paris. However, it was with the Great Northern Railway that Bulleid made his mark, working as personal assistant to Sir Nigel Gresley. His aptitude led to involvement in the design of carriages and wagons.

During the First World War Bulleid served in France and was a Major in the Royal Engineers. After the war he followed Gresley to the London and North Eastern Railway and became involved in the work of the International Railway Congress Association. Bulleid’s opportunity to promote his design ideas came with an appointment as chief mechanical engineer for the Southern Railway. He introduced the ‘Merchant Navy’ Pacifics and the ‘Leader’ class of locomotives. He conceived the design of Britain’s only double-deck passenger trains, the 4DD class. Bulleid opposed the nationalization of the railways and was keen to produce steam locomotives that could rival electric or diesel locomotives.

He retired from Southern Railway in 1949 and in February 1950 joined the Coras Iompair Eireann, the Irish state transport system, first as consulting mechanical engineer and then as chief mechanical engineer. He oversaw the introduction of diesel locomotives designed a steam locomotive which burned peat. He retired from Coras Iompair Eireann in 1958.

Bulleid served as President of the IMechE in 1956, and was also President of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers and the Institute of Welding.  He was made a CBE in 1949 and received an honorary DSc from Bath University. He was a member of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers, a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Goldsmith’s Company. He died in 1970.

1951-Sir Henry Lewis Guy

Henry Guy was born on 15 June 1887 in Penarth. He started his career as apprentice to T Hurry Riches, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Taff Vale Railway. From 1907 to 1910 he studied simultaneously the Diploma courses in mechanical and electrical engineering at University College, South Wales. He won the Bayliss Prize of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Royal Research Scholarship and a Whitworth Exhibition.

In 1910 he joined the technical staff of the Mechanical Department of the British Westinghouse Company. He became Centrifugal Pump and Turbo-compressor Engineer in 1915, Turbine Engineer in 1916 and Chief Engineer of the Mechanical Department of British Westinghouse's successor, the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company. He retained this position until 1941.

During the Second World War, Guy served on many important committees. He had been appointed a member of the Ministry of Supply's Advisory Council on Scientific Research and Development in 1939, just prior to the outbreak of war. He chaired its Gun Design Committee and Static Detonation Committee (Bombs). He was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Armament Development, Chairman of a committee formed to report on the work and staffing of the Royal Aircraft Establishment and Chairman of a committee on Technical Organization of the Army, as well as numerous other committees. From 1942 he was a member of the Mechanical Engineering Advisory Committee of the Ministry of Labour. He also served from 1944 on the Advisory Council to the committee of the Privy Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

Guy became a Graduate of the Institution in 1906. He transferred to Associate Member in 1912 and Member in 1927. In the same year he was awarded the Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal for his paper, 'The economic value of increased steam pressure'. He served on Council from 1929 to 1941, and was Vice-President from 1938 until 1941.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1936, and served on Council from 1938-1939. In 1941 he was invited by the Royal Society to join the Executive Committee of the National Physical Laboratory. He was later Chairman of the Engineering Research Committee of the NPL.

In 1941 he became Secretary of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, holding the position for almost ten years before retiring due to ill health. The years of his Secretaryship were the difficult War and post-war years, but during this time the membership of the Institution more than doubled. He was knighted in the New Year's Honours List of 1949 in recognition of his contributions to the engineering and scientific world.

Sir Henry Guy died on 20 July 1956. 

1952-Dudley Gladstone Gordon, Lord Aberdeen

Dudley Gladstone Gordon was born in 1883, the second son of the Marquis of Aberdeen and Temair. He was educated at Harrow and began his engineering training at the shipyard of Hall, Russell and Co. Practical training in the workshop was supplemented with evening classes at the Robert Gordon's College. Gordon’s career advanced at J and E Hall Ltd; he worked his way up through the company, becoming managing director in 1912 and Chairman in 1937. During the First World War he commanded the 8th/10th battalion of the Gordon Highlanders, receiving the DSO in 1917. 

Gordon’s engineering specialisation was refrigeration, in particular land type refrigerating installations. In 1929 he gave the Twenty-ninth Thomas Hawksley Lecture at the IMechE entitled “Recent Developments in Refrigeration”. His expertise led to numerous Chairs and Presidencies. He was President of the British Association of Refrigeration, the British Engineers Association and the Federation of British Industries.

At the close of the Second World War he was made Chairman of Hadfields Ltd and assumed directorships with financial institutions, including Barclays Bank and the Phoenix Assurance Company. He became a Member of Council of the IMechE in 1940 and was President in 1947, the Institution’s centenary year. He died in 1972.

1952-James Alexander Jameson

James Alexander Jameson was born in 1885 in Glasgow. He attended Allan Glen's School and the Royal Technical College, Glasgow, then undertook an apprenticeship with D & W Henderson Ltd, engineers and shipbuilders, Glasgow. He then took a job with the Clydesdale Iron and Steel Works of Stewarts and Lloyds Ltd.

When the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (later the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company) was formed in 1909, Jameson went to Iran as an assistant engineer. He remained there for eighteen years, becoming fields chief engineer, pipe-line and transport superintendent, fields manager, and finally general manager of fields and refineries in Iran.

He returned to London in 1927 as deputy director and general manager of the Anglo-Iranian Production Department. His pioneering work was recognized with a CBE, and in 1935, upon the official opening of the Iraq pipeline, he was made an Officer of the Legion of Honour. He became a director of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company Limited in 1939.

Jameson concerned himself with all aspects of petroleum exploration, exploitation, production and refining. He was responsible for the adoption of techniques in the area which were far in advance of practice elsewhere in the world, such as the use of geology, geophysics, petroleum engineering and chemical research and engineering. He encouraged chemical research; such work made possible the production of vast quantities of highest grade aviation fuel at a critical stage of the Second World War.

Jameson was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1952. He died on 17 January 1961. 

1953-Major E William Gregson

Major William Gregson was born in 1891, in Blaina, North Monmouthshire.  He attended the University College of South Wales and Monmouthshire, in Cardiff, and graduated with an MSc.  He then served an apprenticeship at North Blaina, which was later absorbed by the Ebbw Vale Company.  He later gained experience at sea, and in other branches of mechanical engineering.

In the First World War he served with the Royal Engineers.  At one point he was involved with the Channel Ferries.  After the war, in 1920, he joined Spencer-Bonecourt Ltd. as Chief Engineer.  This firm was absorbed into the Babcock and Wilcox Group in 1927.  At this point, Gregson became joint head of the marine department of Babcock and Wilcox, taking sole control at a later date.

He was mainly involved with the development of modern steam plant at sea, including the development of mechanical stoking and oil-firing equipment. 

He was also a member of the Founders Company, a Freeman of the City of London, and a Derby Cold Medallist of the Liverpool Engineering Society.  He was a well-known rugby player in his youth.

He was President of the IMechE in 1948.

He died in 1977.

1953-Ernest Walter Hives, 1st Baron Hives CH MBE

Hives was born in Reading, Berkshire, 21 April 1886. He began his working life in a local garage. However, in 1903 he got a job working at C.S. Rolls' car company, after fixing Rolls' car. After becoming a chief test driver in 1908, he led the Rolls team in the Austrian Alpine Trial in 1913.

During the First World War Rolls designed its first aero-engine, the Eagle, and following Hives' successful development of it he was made Head of the Experimental Department, c1915-1916. In 1919 the Eagle powered the twin-engined Vickers Vimy bomber on the first direct flight across the Atlantic.

Other notable engines were later developed under Hives’ lead. Of these the Buzzard was the most important, leading to the ‘R’ series, which powered the Supermarine S.6 seaplanes that won the Schneider Trophy in 1929 and 1931 for Rolls-Royce, and most importantly the famous Merlin engine.

In 1936 he became the general works manager of the factory and a year later was elected to the board. In 1937, thinking war would soon be inevitable, he prepared the firm for a massive production increase in Merlin engines by splitting facilities between engineering and production. As the Merlin powered Hurricanes and Spitfires, this was a decision of vital strategic significance when war did come. It was thanks to Hives that a total of a hundred and sixty thousand Merlins were produced by 1945. In 1941 Hives quickly decided ‘to go all out for the gas turbine’, ensuring the company’s leading role in developing jet engines for civil and military aviation.

Hives became managing director in 1946 and chairman of Rolls-Royce from 1950 till 1956: having earlier been head of the Rolls-Royce Aero Engine division. He was made a Companion of Honour in 1943 and in 1950 he was raised to the peerage as Baron Hives, of Duffield in the County of Derby.He was made an Honorary Member of the IMechE in 1953.

He died in April 1965, aged 79, and was succeeded in the barony by his son John.

1953-Sir Richard Vynne Southwell

Richard Southwell was born on 2 July 1888 at Norwich.  He was educated at King Edward VI School, Norwich.  He then entered Trinity College, Cambridge University in 1907, where he took the mechanical science tripos with first class honours. He was appointed fellow and lecturer in engineering at Trinity College in 1912.

In 1914 he joined the armed services, and during the course of the First World War, he proceeded to serve with each of the three Services. He began serving with the Army in France. From 1915 to 1918 he was Royal Naval Volunteer Reservist at Kingsnorth Airship Station, were he was in charge of the design of airships. Finally from 1918 to 1919 he was in the Royal Air Force at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough where he was in charge of full-scale aerodynamic research and strain testing.

After demobilization, in 1920, he was appointed superintendent of the aerodynamics department of the National Physical Laboratory.  He left five years later to become university lecturer in mathematics, and returned to Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1929 he became professor of engineering science at Oxford University, and in 1942 Rector of the Imperial College of Science, London University.

He published advanced textbooks for engineers on relaxation methods and the theory of elasticity, as well as presenting various papers to the Royal Society. He also served on numerous committees, including the Aeronautical Research Committee from 1937 to 1943, the Civil Defence Research Committee from 1939 to 1948 and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research from 1940 to 1943. He was also a member of the Colonial Office Commission on Higher Education in the Colonies from 1941 to 1943, and the Percy Committee on Technological Education from 1944 to 1945.

Southwell was a Fellow of the Royal Society, of the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institution of Aeronautical Sciences of the United States. He was awarded the Alfred Ewing Medal of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1946. He became a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1933, and was made an Honorary Member in 1953.

Sir Richard Vynne Southwell died on 9 December 1970.

1954-Dr Herbert John Gough

Herbert John Gough was born in Bermondsey, London, in 1890.  He attended the Regent Street Polytechnic Technical School, and won a scholarship to University College School.  For a short while he was a student teacher, but in 1909 he became an apprentice at Vickers, Sons, becoming a designer draughtsman in 1913.  At the same time, he studied at London University, achieving first a BSc in engineering, and later a DSc and PhD.

In 1914, Gough went to work at the National Physical Laboratory, then in Middlesex.  He worked in the engineering department, where he remained until 1938.  He became superintendent of the department in 1930.  During the First World War he served with the Royal Engineers (signals) from 1914 to May 1919, rising to the rank of Captain.  He was mentioned twice in dispatches and was awarded the MBE (military) in 1919.

Gough’s main area of expertise was the study of material fatigue, in particular fatigue failure, which is failure due to repeated application of a load much lower than that necessary to produce failure in a single application.  He made many contributions to knowledge on stress concentrations, the causes of failure, the design of chains, cables, hooks, rings and other lifting appliances, cold pressing and drawing of metals, the stability of thin sheets in structures, lubrication, welding, pipe flanges and fretting corrosion.

In 1938, he entered the War Office as director of scientific research.  He was appointed Commander of the Bath in 1942.  His responsibilities were wide-ranging, including physical research, signals, chemical research, and included responsibility for the Radar Research Centre at Malvern, the chemical station at Porton Down, Wiltshire, and the rocket station at Aber-port, Cardiganshire.  He also took a personal interest in unexploded bomb disposal, and presented the Thomas Hawksley Lecturer on this subject in 1946.  In 1947 he was decorated with the Medal of Freedom with Silver Palm by the United States Government, for ‘exceptionally meritorious service in the field of scientific research and development, development of ground force weapons and aiding the United States in the prosecution of the war against the enemy’.

After the war, Gough joined Unilever as Engineer-in-Chief, and was responsible for developing the company’s advisory technical division in London.  He retired in 1955, but retained a keen interest in engineering, helping to organize a number of large international scientific conferences.

He was elected to Fellowship of the Royal Society in 1933 and was President of the IMechE in 1949. 

He died in 1965.

1954-Dr Karl Baumann

Karl Baumann was born in 1884. He attended his local secondary school for four years, then the Cantonal Grammar School. From here he received his technical education at the Federal Technical College of Switzerland under Professor Stodola. He later became Stodola's assistant.

In 1909, after completing his studies, he began to work for the British Westinghouse Company as a turbine engineer. In 1912 he was appointed Chief Mechanical Engineer. In 1927 he was appointed a Director of the company, by then called the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company. He remained on the board until his retirement due to ill health in 1949.

Baumann is best known for his work on the development of the steam cycle. His work on the investigation and design of steam turbines for high operating pressures and temperatures had an important effect on advances in power station practice.

In 1915 he patented a system of regenerative feed water heating, which was put into practice in 1916 in a turbine of the Carville Power Station of the Newcastle upon Tyne Electric Supply Company. This technology later became standard practice. In 1916 he invented the axial and circumferential turbine exhaust, commonly known as the Baumann multi-exhaust, which also became widely used.

Baumann also made important advances in the gas turbine field. From 1938 he and his staff were responsible for the first aircraft propulsion gas turbine with an axial flow compressor to fly in Britain. They also produced Gatric, a marine propulsion turbine and the world's first sea-going gas turbine, and the first British gas turbine-locomotive.

Baumann was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Hawksley Gold Medal for his 1930 paper, 'Some considerations affecting the future developments of the steam cycle'. He gave the thirty-fifth Thomas Hawksley Lecture in 1949, entitled 'Heat engines', and in the same year was awarded the James Clayton Prize. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution in 1954.

He died in 1971. 

1954-Dr Johannes Aleidis Ringers

Johannes A Ringers was born at Alkmaar, Holland on 2 January 1885. He graduated as civil engineer at the Technical University of Delft in 1906, and began working for the Department of Public Works as an Assistant Engineer.

In 1916, Ringers was appointed principal overseer for the service of track and works of the Netherlands Indies Railway Company in Java. He returned to Holland four years later to resume work in the Department of Public Works, and was appointed Chief Engineer in 1922. As Chief Engineer he was responsible for building the world's largest sashlock in the world, at Ijmiuden, a task made more difficult by the sandy subsoil of the area.

In 1927, Ringers was appointed Director Chief-Executive of the Company responsible for the Zuiderzee land reclamation works, which have been declared one of the American Society of Civil Engineers' Modern Wonders of the World. Three years later he became General-Director of Public Works.

Ringers left the Department of Public Works towards the end of 1935, and became a member of the Chief-Council of the Netherlands Indies Railway Company. Due to extensive war damage, in 1940 the Netherlands Government applied to him for help, and appointed him Commissioner for Reconstruction. In 1941 he became General-Delegate for the Building Industry. In 1943 he was imprisoned in a German camp, returning from captivity in 1945 to become Minister for Public Works and Reconstruction. He resigned this post in 1947 and set up as a general and technical advisor for civil engineering works. In this role he was consulted by the British government when the River Trent and the River Wellad burst their banks. In response, Ringer was made a Commander of the Most Honourable Order of the British Empire.

Ringers was a member for many years of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Engineers, and was President a number of times, first serving in 1935. He assisted the Institution of Mechanical Engineers with the organisation of their Summer Meeting in Holland in 1953, and was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution in 1954.   He died in 1965.

1955-Dr Stanley Fabes Dorey

Stanley Fabes Dorey was born in 1891.  He attended Owen’s School, London, then served an apprenticeship at the Royal Dockyard, Chatham.  He received his academic training at Armstrong College, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, where he won a Whitworth Exhibition and a Lloyd’s Register of Shipping Scholarship in Marine Engineering.

During the First World War he served as an Engineer Lieutenant in the Royal Navy.  After the war he spent a short time with Sir W. G. Armstrong Whitworth and Co. Ltd., following appointment as an Engineer and Ship Surveyor to Lloyd’s Register of Shipping.  He was posted to the staff of the Chief Engineer Surveyor in 1924, and at the end of 1932 was appointed Chief Engineer Surveyor.

He received the CBE in 1946, and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1948. He was a President of the Institute of Refrigeration, the Institution of Naval Architects, and was President of the IMechE in 1950.  He was also a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Shipwrights. 

He died in 1972.

1956-Sir Edward Victor Appleton

Edward Victor Appleton was born in Bradford on 6 September 1892. He won a scholarship to Hanson School, Bradford, where he showed great promise. He gained a first class in the London matriculation examination at 16, the minimum age, and in the intermediate examination the following year, again at the minimum age.

He was awarded a scholarship for Cambridge, and read the natural sciences tripos at St John's College. He gained first classes in part one in 1913 and part two in 1914, gaining the Wiltshire prize in 1913 and the Hicken prize in Physics and the Hutchinson research studentship in mineralogy in 1914. He immediately began research, but upon the outbreak of war in 1914 he joined the 6th West Yorkshire battalion as a signals officer.

Appleton returned to Cambridge in 1919 as a fellow of St John's College, and the following year became an assistant demonstrator in physics at the Cavendish Laboratory. In 1924 he began experiments which would lead to the demonstration of the ionosphere, particularly the E or Heaviside layer and the F-layer, or Appleton layer. His research had an important effect on the development of radio communication, and influenced Robert Watson-Watt in his development of radar. Appleton was awarded the Nobel prize in 1947 for his research.

In 1924, Appleton had been appointed to the Wheatson chair of physics at King's College, London. He returned to Cambridge in 1936, appointed to the Jacksonian chair of natural philosophy, which was attached to the Cavendish Laboratory under Lord Rutherford. In 1939, Lord Rutherford died unexpectedly, and Appleton acted as head of the laboratory for a short time. Upon the appointment of Bragg as new head of the Cavendish, Appleton became secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. With the outbreak of the Second World War, Appleton was responsible for altering the focus of the department to wartime activities. His teams worked on topics such as civil defence protection of buildings, as well as the wartime development of radar. He also had administrative control of the Tube Alloys project for practical work on nuclear fission.

Appleton was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1927. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1956

In 1949, Appleton returned to academic work, taking up the position of principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Edinburgh, holding these positions until his death, which occurred on 21 April 1965.

1956-Arthur Clifford Hartley

Arthur Clifford Hartley was born in 1889 at Springbank, Hull.  He attended Hymers College, Hull, and the Hull Municipal Technical College.  From 1908 he attended the Central Technical College, Imperial College of Science and Technology.  He graduated in 1910 with an Honours BSc engineering degree.

After graduation he worked in the office of the Chief Docks Engineer, North Eastern Railway, Hull.  From 1912 to 1914 he was an assistant with Rose, Downs and Thompson, Ltd.

During the First World War, Hartley was commissioned in the Royal Flying Corps, where he qualified as a pilot.  For much of the time he served in the Air Ministry on experimental armament work.  This included one of his most significant contributions, the Constantinesco gear for synchronizing machine guns, which allowed Vickers machine guns to be fixed between the blades of tractor aircraft propellers, able to fire straight ahead.  He was awarded the military OBE in 1918.

In 1924 he joined the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. Ltd., later the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co. Ltd.   The following year he was made Assistant Manager of the Engineering Department, and the same year Assistant Manager of the Supply Department.  He was seconded to the Iraq Petroleum Co. from 1932 to 1934 for the design and development of the Kirkuk to Mediterranean desert oil pipelines.  On his return to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co Ltd. he held the position of Chief Engineer, which he held until his retirement at the end of 1950

Hartley was released by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co from 1940 onwards for war work.  From 1940 to 1941 he assisted with the development and production of a stabilized automatic bomb-sight.  From April 1942 he worked with the Petroleum Division of the Ministry of Fuel and Power on the PLUTO project – the pipeline under the ocean which supplied fuel for the Allied invasion of France.  From October 1942 until the end of the war he worked on the FIDO project, which sought a solution to the problem of poor visibility caused by fog.  The solution, oil burners alongside runways, was successfully implemented at fifteen airfields, allowing more than 25000 aircraft to land safely during foggy conditions.

He was awarded the CBE in 1944, and the United States Medal of Freedom in 1946.  He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1951 and President of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1959, although he died only three months into his term, on 28 January 1960.

1957-Sir David Randall Pye

David Randall Pye was born in Hampstead, London in 1886.  He attended Tonbridge School, followed by Trinity College, Cambridge, where he gained first class honours in engineering.  After a short time with the firm of Mather and Platt in 1909 he was invited by C. F. Jenkin, professor of engineering science at Oxford, to join him at the engineering laboratories.

During the First World War, Pye first taught at Winchester College, then worked as an experimental officer in the Royal Flying Corps on design and testing.  After the war he briefly returned to Oxford, then in 1919 went to Cambridge as a lecturer, and became a fellow of Trinity College.  At the same time he also worked on a research programme on the combustion of volatile fuels, in cooperation with Henry Tizard and Harry Ricardo.  Between 1931 and 1934 he published a highly regarded two volume work, The Internal Combustion Engine. 

In 1925, a Directorate of Scientific Research was initiated at the Air Ministry, and Pye was invited to become Deputy Director.  In 1937 he became Director of Scientific Research, with responsibility for introducing into the RAF new methods and new equipment in preparation for the Second World War.

He left this position in 1943, once it was clear that the war had reached a point when the research programme should be limited to projects which would become effective within the next two years.  He took up the Provostship of University College, London, which had suffered heavily in the air attacks of 1940 of 1941.  When he took up the Provostship, the students and staff had all been evacuated to seven sites in different parts of the country.  In London, all that remained was a secretary’s office.  He presided over a large programme of rebuilding, acquiring sites for future development, and re-integrating the scattered Faculties of the College into a single community of 3500 students and 400 staff.  In recognition of this work, Pye was made a Knight Bachelor in the New Years Honours list.

Pye was also an enthusiastic climber, and in 1922 he led the first ascent of the severe Crack of Doom, Skye.  He was also elected to the Alpine Club, becoming Vice-President in 1956.

He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1952.

He died in 1960.

1957-Dr Ernest Ansley Watson

Ernest Ansley Watson was born in 1887. He was educated at King Edward's High School, Birmingham, and at the University of Birmingham. In 1907 he gained a BSc degree with honours in mechanical and electrical engineering. He was awarded an 1851 Research Exhibition in the same year, and continued his studies at Liverpool University.

He began his career with Morris and Lister, Coventry, a company which made electrical equipment. During the First World War the company specialized in the development of ignition magnetos, and changed its name to M L Magneto Syndicate Limited. Dr Watson was awarded the OBE in 1918 in recognition of his outstanding work in aero-engine magneto development. The Syndicate was acquired by S Smith and Sons Limited, but continued to operate independently with Watson as Technical Director. In 1930 the Syndicate was taken over by Joseph Lucas Limited, and the companies were merged. Watson was appointed Chief Engineer. He was personally responsible for the firm's activities during the Second World War, research on combustion problems, the development of combustion chambers and the design and development of the associated fuel supply and control equipment for aero-gas turbines. Watson was appointed a Director of Joseph Lucas Limited in 1945.

Watson became a Member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers in 1926. He was elected a Member of Council in 1940, and continued as a Member of the Automobile Division Council when the Institution merged with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1947. In that year, Watson presented a paper on 'Fuel systems for the aero-gas-turbine', and was awarded the Dugald Clerk Prize. In 1955 he presented a James Clayton Lecture on 'Fuel control and burning in aero-gas-turbine engines'. The following year he was awarded the James Clayton Prize for his work in automobile engineering and his contributions to the development of the aircraft gas turbine.

Dr Watson was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1957.

He died in 1975.

1958-Alfred Roebuck

Alfred Roebuck was born in Thurlstone in 1889.  He became an apprentice with the firm of Hadfields Ltd, local steel makers and engineers, at their East Hecla Works.  He remained with this company for the rest of his working life.  From 1931 until 1945 he was Works Director, and for the following five years, until his retirement in 1950, he was Director with Special Duties.

In 1949 the Anglo-American Council on Productivity appointed him leader of the first specialist team to visit the USA to study materials handling in factories.

He was a supporter of the Junior Institution of Engineers, of which he was President in 1949.  He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1953.

He died in 1962.

1959-George Frederic Gruner

George Frederic Gruner was born in Basle in 1908. He attended schools in Basle and gained his secondary school leaving certificate in 1926. He then served an apprenticeship at the SCODA engineering works at Pilsen. He studied civil engineering at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, graduating in 1931 in hydraulics.

From 1931 until 1934, Gruner was an assistant in the Hydraulics Research Laboratory in Zurich, where he worked on locks, hydroelectric schemes and river control. In 1935 Gruner worked on the planning for the road over the Susten pass, and from autumn 1935 until 1937 he was resident engineer on the building of the trans-Iranian railway. He later worked on the construction of Tehran railway station in reinforced concrete.

From 1938, Gruner became a consulting engineer in his father's practice, where he first specialized in hydroelectric projects and heavy foundation work. He later started a section for the design of industrial buildings in reinforced concrete, steel and timber.

He became a member of the Société Suisse des Ingénieurs et des Architectes in 1932. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1959.

1960-Percy Lewis Jones

Percy Jones was born in Penarth in 1886.  He attended Taunton School, and served his apprenticeship at the Locomotive Works of Rhymney Railway Company, near Cardiff.  He then attended University College, Cardiff, and graduated with a BSc in Engineering three years later.

After graduation he was appointed Assistant Lecturer at Liverpool University.  Two years later he joined the technical staff of the Chief Mechanical Engineer of Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company.  With the outbreak of the First World War, he enlisted in the infantry, later commanding a battery of artillery in France and Flanders.  He was awarded a Military Cross in 1916 and a Bar to the Military Cross in 1917.

On demobilization he re-joined the staff at Metropolitan-Vickers.  He remained there until 1923, when he joined Swan, Hunter and Wigham Richardson as Technical Manager of their Engineering Department at the Neptune Works.  He later became General Manager, and then Managing Director of the Engineering Department.

Jones was also President of the North-East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders.  He was President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1955. He died in 1966.

1960-HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich

Born Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark on 10 June 1921, he was the only son of Prince Andrew of Greece, himself the grandson of King Christian IX of Denmark. His mother was Princess Alice of Battenberg, eldest child of Prince Louis of Battenberg, and sister of Earl Mountbatten of Burma. Prince Philip was to adopt the family name Mountbatten when he became a naturalized British subject and renounced his Royal title in 1947.

At the age of just 18 months he was evacuated with his family from Greece by the Royal Navy on the instruction of King George V, and the family settled in Paris. In 1928 he came to England to attend Cheam Preparatory School, later attending Salem School in southern Germany, before going to Gordonstoun School in Scotland, where he became Head of School.

In 1939 he joined the Royal Navy as a cadet, attending the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth, before joining HMS Ramillies in the Indian Ocean as a Midshipman in 1941. The following year he joined the battleship HMS Valiant, seeing action and being subsequently mentioned in dispatches. He was promoted to Sub-Lieutenant aboard the destroyer HMS Wallace based at Rosyth, and in 1942 was made Lieutenant and in 1943 First Lieutenant, when joined the fleet destroyer, HMS Whelp, as part of the British Pacific Fleet.

After the Second World War, on 20 November 1947, he married Princess Elizabeth, eldest daughter of King George VI, and they had three sons and one daughter. Shortly before the wedding he was created Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth, and Baron Greenwich, with the style of His Royal Highness.

He was appointed First Lieutenant aboard HMS Chequers in 1949, and then Lieutenant-Commander in command of the frigate HMS Magpie in 1950. He was promoted to Commander in 1952, but his active Navy career came to an end on the death of King George VI.

He is patron or president of some 800 organizations, and he takes a special interest in scientific and technological research and development, and industry and industrial life, visiting research stations, laboratories, factories, engineering works, and industrial plants throughout the UK. He is the Patron of the Work Foundation, and he was first President of the World Wildlife Fund (UK) and first President of the World Wide Fund for Nature, of which he is now President Emeritus.

He launched the pilot Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme for Boys in 1956, followed by a similar Scheme for Girls in 1958, both superseded by the Duke of Edinburgh Award for Young People in 1969. The Prince Philip Designers Prize was created in 1959, and has rewarded the best design in products, graphics, buildings and engineering.

He was pointed Knight of the Garter in 1947, Knight of the Thistle in 1952, and in 1968 he was appointed to the Order of Merit. He holds many overseas awards, and has honorary degrees from many universities around the world. He has served as Chancellor of the Universities of Cambridge from 1976, Edinburgh from 1952, Salford from 1967 to 1991, and Wales from 1948 to 1976. He is a Life Governor of King’s College, London, and a Patron of London Guildhall University. He was President of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1952. He was elected an Honorary Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1960.

He continues to travel extensively, and he works to raise public awareness of the relationship of humanity with the environment.

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