Class of 1930 - 1939
Class of 1930 - 1939
Alfred G Maddock
Provided by Mrs Margaret Maddock - 05 April 2009
Alfred's career was very fulfilling - he loved both research and teaching. He was with the Tube Alloys project during the war and became interested and knowledgeable in Nuclear & Hot Atom Chemistry. He designed the first chemistry lab at Cern. He gave courses in many countries for the International Atomic Energy Agency. These assignments led him to have international groups of Postgraduate Students working for PhDs in Cambridge. He was awarded an honorary degree at Louvain University, received the Gold Medal of the Order of Merit in Science. Alfred was awarded the first Becquerel Medal from the Royal Society of Chemistry. He was interested in climbing, walking, travel, theatre, food and wine. Two of our sons have PhD's from Imperial College. John - Chemical Engineering - now a professor in Brazil, and Robert - Geology - now VK Geoscience Manager for Baker Atlas Oil Service Co. While at Imperial College Alfred blew all his own apparatus for his PhD work and together with a colleague Chris Reed, was noted for the explosions he had. Luckily in those days St George's Hospital was near and attended to many IC students.
Archibald D Greenfield
Provided by Peter Fentem 17 November 2005
David Greenfield, who died on 17 November 2005 was a distinguished alumnus of St Mary's Hospital Medical School. He was an eminent physiologist and the Foundation Dean of the Faculty of Medicine in the University of Nottingham for 15 years from 1966-1981. Nottingham was the first of the new medical schools. He is believed to be the first student at St Mary's to take an intercalated BSc Honours degree. He qualified in medicine there in 1940. After resident appointments, including that of House Physician to Professor George Pickering, he joined the department of Physiology at St Mary's as a Junior Lecturer. There he studied the circulation in human limbs, and collaborated in work on the haemodynamics of the foetal circulation. His research on the effects of acceleration and enhanced gravity on the circulation, performed in the laboratory on the top floor of the Medical School led to an association with the Institute of Aviation Medicine at Farnborough. At the age of 31, Greenfield became the Dunville Professor of Physiology in the Queen's University of Belfast and continued pioneering research into the human peripheral circulation. His department attracted many brilliant young medical scientists. Greenfield was always able to get the best out of staff and to inspire great loyalty. During 1963-64 he worked in the San Francisco Medical Centre, University of California. He invented and developed a technique for testing cardiovascular reflex function (lower body negative pressure) which became used extensively by NASA. He contributed to our understanding of how the human circulation can withstand, first the acceleration and then the weightlessness of space travel. Greenfield has never received the credit for this that he deserved. In 1964 Greenfield returned to St Mary's as professor, but plans were developing to start a new medical school in Nottingham. Sir George Pickering, representing another link to St Mary's, became the chairman of the University's Medical School Advisory Committee. In 1966 David was appointed to be Dean of the new school. It was a unique opportunity. It was the first new medical school of the twentieth century in the UK.
Betty M Greene (Department of Biology)
Provided By Dr J Patrick Greene September 2009
Betty Rickers, who was born in East Dulwich on April 7th 1916, studied Biology at what is now Imperial College in the 1930s. Female scientists were still fairly rare at the time, but she took to the stimulating environment with an enthusiasm for research and enquiry that lasted into her 90s. A highlight of her time at Imperial was an expedition in 1938 with fellow students in a truck to the south of France to collect insect specimens, the payment for which helped pay for the adventure. She was a frequent visitor to the Natural History Museum to visit friends working there and to study the collections. I was able to describe to her the transformation in working conditions and collection storage that the Darwin Centre was effecting as a result of my involvement in assessing grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund- very different to the gloomy and smelly basement that she remembered. Her fascination with the world around us that was inspired by Imperial communicated itself to her two sons- Kevin, who is Reader in Archaeology at the University of Newcastle, and me, leading Australia's largest museum organisation.
Denis A Redman
Major General Denis A.K. Redman (Electrical Electronic Engineering 1930) Source: The Telegraph on 10 August 2009.
From 1960 to 1963, Redman was Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering at the War Office. During this period he played a notable part in solving the many complex problems arising from the transformation of a National Service-dominated organisation to an all-regular Corps. A highly effective staff officer and well-regarded by his colleagues, he foresaw the increasing importance of electronics in military equipment and the need for REME to prepare for this new development. He also established the Officers' School, founded the museum and set up the Corps' journal. Denis Arthur Kay Redman was born on April 8 1910 at Rochester, Kent, and educated at Wellington and at London University (City and Guilds Engineering College), where he gained a first-class degree in Electrical Engineering. He joined the Midland Electric Light and Power Company but did not enjoy the life and, in 1934, he was commissioned into the Royal Army Ordnance Corps. He transferred to the REME on its formation in 1942. Redman was in the Middle East from 1936 to 1943. He commanded a Light Aid Detachment (LAD) in Palestine in support of 6 Royal Tank Corps and was mentioned in despatches. Command of the LAD of 3 Royal Horse Artillery, and then a move to the Recovery Company of the 7th Armoured Division, gave him a wide experience of operating in desert conditions. An appointment as DAQMG at GHQ Middle East Land Forces was followed by attendance at Staff College, Haifa. Promoted to lieutenant-colonel, he was then engaged in planning the formation of REME in the Middle East and its transfer to a new Corps in 1942. He was again mentioned in despatches. After a spell at the War Office as AQMG and another posting to REME, he attended the Joint Services Staff College and then moved to the REME Training Centre, Arborfield, as GSO1. He spent two years with 1 (BR) Corps in BAOR as deputy director electrical and mechanical engineering before taking up the same appointment for the whole Corps at the War Office. In 1957 Redman became Commandant of the REME training centre. He attended the Imperial Defence College (later the Royal College of Defence Studies) in 1959, the first REME officer to do so. After retiring from the Army in 1963 he was military adviser to Sperry Gyroscope and then served as chairman of civil service selection boards and as a general commissioner of income tax. Settled in a village in Wiltshire, he had a well-equipped workshop and manufactured a television set and a radio-controlled boat to his own design. He was a connoisseur of antique clocks, restoring and repairing them as a hobby. Redman was Colonel Commandant of the Corps from 1963 to 1968. He was appointed OBE in 1942 and CB in 1963. Denis Redman died on July 18. He married, in 1943, Penelope Kay. She predeceased him, and he is survived by their son and daughter.
Derrik J Littler (Physics 1939, PhD 1956)
Provided by Dr John Littler Died 14 December 2011
Derrik Littler, a pioneer of nuclear power, who died in December aged 92, was the last British survivor of the team who witnessed the World's first atomic bomb explosion in New Mexico in July 1945. He was born in Cheshire in 1919, and moved to London in 1934 when his father, who worked for ICI, was transferred to the Company's head office. He attended Regent Street Polytechnic (now the University of Westminster) and started studying Physics at Imperial in October 1937. He took his final BSc examination early, in June 1939, but had to stay on for another year to be awarded his degree so that he had undertaken sufficient study to fulfil the regulations. This research work on electron diffraction at different temperatures would have led on to a Ph.D., but the outbreak of war prevented this. His BSc degree was finally conferred on him and others affected by the war by The Princess Royal in June 1992.
He volunteered to join the Army to work on de-fusing unexploded bombs, but it was felt that his talents would be better used in the Ministry of Supply measuring the explosive effects of bombs. Because of the expertise and equipment he developed in this field, in 1945 he was seconded to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos to help prepare for the test of the first atomic bomb at Almagordo, New Mexico. After witnessing the test he was one of the first two people to go on foot close to the bomb crater to collect results from the instruments they had deployed there. After the test, he joined the newly formed Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell, Oxfordshire. There, he worked on the first British nuclear reactor, the Graphite Low Energy Experimental Pile, and developed an oscillation technique for measuring neutron absorption characteristics of a wide range of materials.
A major discovery of this work was that magnesium had a low neutron absorption cross-section, and this led to the development of a magnesium alloy (Magnox) for the cladding material enclosing the uranium fuel rods in the first British commercial nuclear power <http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/nuclearpower> stations. He wrote up this work as a doctoral thesis for which he gained the Ph.D. he had deferred in 1940. He married Patricia in 1953 and, two years later, was seconded to the United Nations in New York to help organise the first International Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. On his return he set up the Harwell Reactor School to train scientists and engineers for the design and operation of commercial nuclear power stations. He co-wrote a textbook on the physics of nuclear reactors, and became the editor of The Journal of Nuclear Energy a post he held from its inception in 1954 until the end of 1972. In 1959 he joined the Central Electricity Generating Board which was setting up the facilities to support the nuclear power stations then under construction. He joined as chief physicist in the research department, and later became director-general of research, responsible for staff in three laboratories.
In 1981 he became principal at the new CEGB staff training college. He retired in 1983. Derrik was a keen gardener throughout his life producing prize-winning roses and other flowers for many years. In retirement he became a qualified judge of flowers, fruit and vegetables. One of his proudest achievements was to persuade the BBC Gardeners' Question Time to broadcast from his local Hatch End Horticultural Society. He was well-liked by his colleagues and is survived by Patricia, his son John and daughter Anne.
Dinakar P Dani (Mechanical Engineering 1939)
Provided By Ashok & Ajit Dani
Our father, late Mr Dinakar.P.Dani, was 96 years when he passed away. He graduated from Imperial College in Mechanical Engineering in 1938 with broad appreciation of technical and engineering issues. Imperial training instilled in him the importance of scientific rigour combined with lateral thinking and inventiveness, something which stayed with him throughout his career. His approach to problems whether at work or at home, was on 'project' basis and frequently thought 'outside the box'. He had enjoyed his time at Imperial College and frequently recalled with fondness his memories of teachers and friends, life and learning at the college. A few months before he died, he read with great interest and enthusiasm the current quest of one of the major oil companies to obtain diesel fuel from algae with enhanced yield through application of enzymes. With great enthusiasm he wrote to me that on his return to India all those long years ago, he was working for a chemical company which manufactured soap from palm oil. In addition to his routine work he started experimenting with algae as he instinctively felt it had potential as a fuel. He wrote saying he felt young and enthusiastic again and wanted to see a successful outcome of that research albeit via biotech and wanted to live a few more years to see it happen in his life time. He focused his career in developing India's infrastructure through a wide variety of turnkey projects such as building bridges, dams, power stations, railway tunnels and heavy engineering and chemical factories. He had patented special piling method suitable for Mumbai soil. He held privileged positions as Chief Engineer in major firms such as Heavy Engineering Corporation, Hindustan Organic Chemicals and Hindustan Construction. In later career he was the President of Institution of Engineers India. Above all he was a family man. His wife predeceased him by few years and he wanted to be remembered simply as the husband of Asha Dani, our mother.
Edward F Bennett
Provided by Hilary Pogge von Strandmann 24 April 2007
Edward grew up in London, attended Westminster School and then studied Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, graduating in 1936. He worked for a couple of years for a boiler-making firm in London and then moved to Derby in 1938 to work for International Combustion Ltd which produced complete steam generating plant for power stations and industry and related and associated equipment.
During the war he was refused permission to volunteer as his job was a protected one. He became Chief Volunteer Fireman for Derby and remembers peddling down the hill the five miles or so on his bike towards the centre of Derby, often just about getting there when the `all clear´ would sound and he would turn round and peddle back up the hill again. He stayed at Combustion for the rest of his working life, training in the mid-fifties as a Nuclear Engineer at Harwell, Risley and Calder Hall and then headed the group which developed and manufactured plant for nuclear power applications. It became one of the major international companies to undertake this type of work.
He became a Director of various of the group companies, including those of Nuclear Applications in 1956, and Exports in 1964, (the latter taking him abroad, principally to the USA, Australia and New Zealand) and of Atomic Power Construction of which International Combustion was a major shareholder and participant. In 1964 he became Managing Director of International Combustion Ltd, and a year later Chairman of the associated group of companies. In the last few years before he retired he acted as a Consultant. He retired in 1974, continuing to live just outside Derby with his wife Beryl, whom he had married in 1938, and pursuing his interests in sport (he was particularly adept at badminton and tennis), hill and mountain-walking, travelling, supporting the preservation of the countryside and wildlife, and tending his large and beautiful garden.
Edward died suddenly at home a week before his ninety-third birthday. His wife Beryl had predeceased him by ten months, and he continued for that time still fairly healthy if less mobile, with typical fortitude and as ever modest and humorous. He is survived by three children and two grandchildren.
Emlyn H Lloyd
Provided by Granville Tunnicliffe-Wilson June 2008
Emlyn Howard Lloyd was born in 1918 in Aberdare, then a thriving town, part of the huge South Wales coal industry. He is an almost clichéd story of a beloved only child, son of an active trade union mining father and fervent chapel choir singing mother. Through their determination, his own intellectual ability and the schooling of Aberdare Grammar, Emlyn left the Welsh valleys to gain a first class honours degree in mathematics from the University of London in 1938. While he was still a student at Imperial College, very active in socialist politics, he met his wife, Herta, who was a refugee from Vienna. When bombed out of their Bloomsbury flat, they moved to the suburbs, becoming part of a large circle of emigrés and refugees. His four daughters were born there in the period 1942-56.
During the war years, Emlyn was employed by the Ordnance Board and the aircraft industry, and shortly after he was approached to join the staff of Imperial College by George Barnard, whom he knew through the London Labour Club. He took a doctorate on probability theory and mathematical statistics and embarked on his research career. He established a reputation in stochastic reservoir theory, essential to the design of dams that were subject to fluctuating annual inflows, and investigated the long-term properties of the statistics of river flows, described by the so-called Hurst phenomenon and related to fractal processes. His name is still highly respected in hydrological science, though his work is now also frequently cited in financial journals because of its relevance to the long-range dependence of financial time series.
By the mid 1960's it was evident to scientists studying the structure of paper that its physical properties were highly dependent on the statistical geometry of its fibres. As a consultant to Wiggins Teape, Emlyn developed with Heinz Corte, the theory that allowed papermakers to calculate the optimum uniformity that can be achieved in a sheet formed from fibres of a given type. The equations resulting from this pioneering research are still taught to students of paper technology around the world, and his work continues to be applied to new materials of fibrous networks. In 1964 Emlyn left Imperial College to come to Lancaster as the founding professor of mathematics. With his courteous and charming manner, coupled with mental acuity, he was very active in university affairs, being principal of Lonsdale College from 1967 to 1982, and a member of the Senate and associated committees throughout his entire period of service at Lancaster.
He retired from the university as professor emeritus in September 1982. Two of the academic disciplines of the department that he established, Mathematical Analysis and Statistics, continue to be its main strength. His personal qualities and eloquence of expression (though not his legibility of writing) were no doubt a factor in a successful bid during the 70's, for a professorial fellow in applied statistics, funded by the Social Science Research Council. This required his co-ordination of research groups in a wide range of university departments and the legacy of this achievement is evident in many of the University's present research strengths, including the standing of the statistics group among the top three in the country, which greatly pleased Emlyn in his later years.
Emlyn was a charming, cultured man, passionate about literature, music and arts. He and Herta enjoyed an active retirement until she became incapacitated as a consequence of heart disease and osteoporosis. His devotion to Herta was evident in the last years of his life, spent caring cheerfully and uncomplainingly for a very ill partner, even when he himself was weakened following surgery for cancer. In the months since her death, he increasingly relied on his daughters and regularly carers to whom he endeared himself by his welcoming smile and cheerful manner. He is survived by his four daughters, 9 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren.
Provided by Park Reilly
To us all, he was a gracious helpful friend, as well as an accomplished scholar. When I first arrived at Imperial College as a PhD student, my background in statistics was very shaky, but I had the good fortune to take my first course from Emlyn. That course, more than anything else oriented me in more or less the right direction. Without it, I could not have accomplished what I needed to. During that course it became very evident that Emlyn was a superb teacher; one who considered the needs of his students the foremost consideration. At one point I had to miss one of his lectures for some urgent reason and somehow he found out about it. He invited me to meet with him privately and go over the entire lecture. I believe that that is a rare occurrence at any University. When I came to the University of Waterloo I was pleased to discover that Emlyn was one of the major founders of the worldwide study of what is locally called hydrology, the study of water supplies, their seasonality and magnitudes. Some years ago they had a major conference here on the subject; Veva and I were proud to have their principal invited speaker and his wife, Herta, as house guests. Emlyn was a true scholar and gentleman.
Frank A Cassidy
Provided by Michael Cassidy 26 August 2007
Frank was at the Royal School of Mines from 1928–1932 as a Kitchener Scholar. He qualified with first class honours both in Mining Engineering and Mining Geology. After working for Rio Tinto in Spain he worked in Canada, Cyprus, Ghana and Columbia before joining Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service in 1935. He was first appointed as Inspector of Mines in Sierra Leone and subsequently in Nigeria where he stayed until 1962. He then worked in Zambia finally retiring in 1980. Frank died peacefully on 26 August 2007, aged 97. He leaves one son and one grandchild. His wife predeceased him in 1999.
George E Wild (Civil Engineering and Surveying 1934)
Provided by Mrs Mary Anderson, Mr Wild's daughter 02.01.2014
In place of an obituary, Mrs Anderson has kindly provided us with a transcript of the eulogy read at Mr Wild's funeral. "He was born near Chesterfield; he was sent over the Pennines to Hulme Grammar School in Manchester, where they took a few talented boarders; he played cricket and rugby and the euphonium!
At Imperial he read Civil Engineering and on leaving there immediately joined John Mowlems, for whom he worked for the rest of his life apart from the war years. He joined the OTC and then the TA in 85th Field Regiment (Royal Artillery). In 1939 he was sent on the first war course at the Staff College, Camberley, but then posted to Corsham as an Artillery staff officer. He married Nancy Tilley, from Rudloe, near Bath, before he joined Lord Mountbatten's staff in Ceylon.
He had two daughters so he gave away his mecano and train set! Unfortunately. After the war, we moved to Shenfield in Essex where my father was working at Shellhaven and on various tunnelling projects. In 1955/6 Mowlems sent him to Persia. He thoroughly enjoyed his projects abroad and I was always surprised how many countries he had visited in the world usually in the tendering team. We then moved to north Lincolnshire where he was in charge of the building of Immingham Dry Docks. Fishing was a passion that he held and practised all his life until at 94 he found it difficult to land a trout even on the well-kept banks of the piscatorial society waters in the Woodford Valley.
He successfully taught my mother to fish and this was a wonderful hobby which they shared with equal enthusiasm. But I always felt he enjoyed the precision of the accurate cast and the success of catching an unsuspecting trout or salmon on a fly which he had made himself during the winter months in a vice attached to the ironing board. In Kenya he was able to fish up country; we moved there I think in 1958 where he was in charge of Mowlems East Africa until Independence. He returned to Head Office to become a full board director in charge of tendering and finance and for a short period, we lived in London. In 1966 My parents bought a cottage in Inkpen near Hungerford ready for retirement, conveniently near the then good trout rivers. As many of his generation, he was enormously well-read and delighted in well-honed verse. He liked words to be used with engineering precision. He was very much loved by his four granddaughters, 10 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great-grandchild."
George N Davison
Provided by Colin Davison 11 June 2008.
My father was heavily involved in the mechanization of the postal service over a number of years, and was co-author of an article on this subject, which appeared in the Journal of The Institution of Electrical Engineers in July 1961. The information contained in this article formed the basis of a paper Mechanizing The Postal Service which was delivered to a meeting of The Institution of Mechanical Engineers in October 1962 in Norwich, a city where experimental post-code sorting was being undertaken at this time. No doubt many further advances have taken place to revolutionise automation in postal sorting since the early beginnings, when my father played a significant part in its introduction.
My father was born in Sunderland in July 1910 into a family steeped in engineering. His father was a chief engineer on board ship in the merchant navy, and he clearly imbued a love of the sea, boats and ships to my father, and provided all the inspiration necessary from an early age to encourage him to embark on a career in engineering. It turned out to be a career of considerable achievement. Outside of work my father had a lifelong interest in photography, was a keen gardener and, after he and my mother retired to Norfolk, became involved in Parish Council business for a number of years.
Mechanizing the Postal Service* by R. S. Phillips, MI.E.E .. and G. N. Davison, B.Se .. A.M.LE.E The authors describe the mechanical aids that are being used in the postal service, including the public offices, the collection and delivery of mail, and the sorting office processes. The annual postal manpower costs are about £160 million and the field for mechanization is therefore considerable. In the public offices, machines have been installed for issuing stamps, stamp booklets, stamped stationery, and postal orders.
Change-giving machines and parcel label issuing machines have also been provided. In the transport field, 15000 petrol and diesel-engine vehicles are in use and also a number of electric trucks and vans for transporting bags of mail and delivering parcels. The post office underground automatic electric railway now carries 250 000 bags of mail, weighing 4000 tons, each week and consideration is being given to its extension to serve other London main railway stations. Considerable mechanization has been introduced between sorting offices and nearby railway stations, and this comprises systems of band conveyors, chain conveyors, chutes, and lifts.
Electro-mechanical machines of various types have been installed at Leeds, Bristol, Preston, and Worcester, to sort parcels into 24 selections, at a rate of 1000 parcels per hour, per operator. Separation of letters from packets, the grading of letters according to their sizes, and the automatic facing and stamp-cancelling of the letters are all done on machines installed at S.E.D.O. in London and at Southampton. Similar machines are being provided lit Liverpool and Glasgow. Segregation of letters from packets is performed at a rate of 60 000 items per hour and the facing and stamp-cancelling at the rate of 20 000 per hour. Automatic sorting of letters after their facing and cancellation is performed on electromechanical sorting machines installed at a number of offices. These machines sort letters into 144 boxes, according to destination, at a rate of about 3000 per hour. Experimental machines for coding the addresses on envelopes in the form of a number of phosphorescent dots are in use at Luton. The advantage of code marking is that, after the first operation, all subsequent intermediate, and final sorting at the other offices en route can be done entirely automatically, by high speed sorting machines.
An experiment in making the public do the address coding is also in progress. People in Norwich are asked to head their writing paper with a six-character code as well as the usual address. Much of the letter mail into Norwich, therefore, also has the address code on the envelope and this can be quickly read and sorted by the staff who operate the sorting machines. Investigations are being made into the possibility of reading the written address directly by a machine, but so far progress has not extended beyond the recognition by a machine of certain printed or typed characters. Mr R. S. Phillips was educated at Pemmbroke Dockyard School and Regent Street Polytechnic. He entered the Post Office Engineering Departtment by open commpetition in 1924 and served in its Reesearch Station until /934 when he became Power Engineer. first in Manchester and then in Leeds. From /942 to /95/ he was Assistant Staff Engineer, Engineer-in-Chiefs Office, Power Branch, then Chief Regional Engineer. London, and since 1956 he has been Staff Engineer in charge of the Power Branch. He is a City and Guilds Silver Medallist in Telegraphy. Mr G. N. Davison was educated at King Edward VI School, Stafford. Sunderland Technical College, and Imperial College, London. Apprenticed to the Sunderland Forge and Engineerring Co. Ltd, between /927 and 1932, he entered the Past Office Engineering Departtment by open compeetition in 1933. From 1934 until 1950 he served in the Telegraph Branch. Engineer-in-Chief's Office and from 1950 up to 1958 he was Assistant Staff Engineer, Research Branch, in that Office. Since then he has been Staff Engineer in the Branch, responnsible for research in postal mechanization.
Gerald M.B. Wills (Electrical Engineering 1937)
Provided by Mr John Wills 2013
Departed June 27th, 2013 in his 98th year. Born in Wolmer Cottage, Marlow, England in 1915, graduated from the University of London in engineering in 1937. Served with the army from 1939 until demobilization, with the rank of Major. In 1946 met and later married his beloved Kay during a 7-year tour in Brazil, immigrated to Canada in 1953. Before his retirement in 1980, Michael traveled widely, including a 2 1/2 year posting to England in 1963. Michael is remembered as a loving and supportive husband, an exemplary father, granddad, and uncle, and genuine Renaissance man. As a dedicated family man and cinematographer, he documented six decades of family history on 70 reels of film. As an adventurer and sportsman, Michael conquered the Himalayan mountains, and later co-founded the Lorne Park (Whiteoaks) Tennis Club. His Racing Demon skills were legendary. Sorely missed by Kay, John, Susan, David, Peter, Rob, Gabriele, Lee, Julie, Vally, Anne, Melanie, Jamie, Michael, Andy, Kristy, Stephanie, Melissa, Nicolas, Annie, Shirley, Crystal, Tim, and cousin Jimmy. Loving brother of Ken and Margaret, predeceased, with fond memories of Tippy and Pan.
Gerald R Underwood (Chemistry 1939, DIC 1941)
Provided by Professor S.R. Underwood 12 May 2009
Gerald Richard Underwood was born on Christmas Day 1920. He joined Imperial College as a BSc student at the beginning of the second world war studying chemical engineering. Perhaps not unusually for the time he obtained a first class degree in two years and went immediately into industry manufacturing ethylene glycol for aircraft radiators. He remained an ICI man for life gaining experience in dyestuffs, petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals finally retiring at the age of 58 from the board of what was then ICI Pharmaceuticals. He was a gregarious man with an easy personality and a good host. His love of fine wine and food made many a social event. He was a bridge player of national standard and he also loved reading, crosswords and fishing. Sadly, in 1996 he suffered a haemorrhagic stroke after starting warfarin for an irregular heart beat and this robbed him of the ability to enjoy some of the finer things in life, although never food or wine. After the death of his wife Catherine he moved to London to be close to his children and he had a quiet but fulfilled life until suffering a further stroke in April 2009. He is fondly remembered by Janet and Richard and his six grandchildren, and the Underwood name continues at Imperial through his son (National Heart & Lung Institute, Royal Brompton Hospital).
Henry J Mason (DIC Electrical and Electronic Engineering 1937)
24.11.1914 - 03.07.2016 Provided by his son, Michael Mason
My Father always looked back with affection on his College days. He went up to what was then City and Guilds in September 1935. "It was a fine red brick building with an imposing entrance. (Today) you will find a concrete block with little or no character." He lodged with a Mrs Greening who lived in Bonham Road on Brixton Hill. "She provided all the meals I wanted. I stayed there during term time for the three years I was at College and cannot speak too highly of the way I have looked after. Not only did I have a bedroom, but a fire was lighted in another room where I retired each night to study. And all that for £1 7s 6d, which in modern currency is £1.37½!" [A week?]
Getting to the College by public transport was complicated, so he soon bought a bicycle - and nearly missed one of his finals examinations when a tyre burst! "Naturally, as the subject was engineering there was quite a lot of lab work as well as lectures and tutorial periods. Professor Fortesque lectured on electrical engineering theory. Usually a one hour lecture was followed by a two hour period of tutorial work where we worked on questions and called in a tutor to help when we got stuck. Lab reports had to be prepared and this was where a lot of evening time was spent." "At the end of each year, there were examinations. Unlike the present day system all the exams were done in a week, usually two a day: three hours each, one morning and one afternoon."
He became involved in athletics and joined the College Dramatic Society, appearing as a policeman in J.B.Priestley's "Bees on the Boat Deck". (Well done if you recognise that play!) "On the 10th May 1939 I hired a cap, hood and gown, and with hundreds of others assembled in the Albert Hall to have my degree conferred on me. Now I was H.J.S.Mason B.Sc, ACGI, DIC." He did say that he felt that his first class honours degree did not do him any good salary-wise. Some things don't change!
My parents met playing tennis at Banbury, married in 1943, and had two sons. My Mother died, all too early, at 72 in 1990. Father lived to be 101½, and died of old age at home, looking out at the garden, on a beautiful summer's day (3rd July 2016). They were both outstanding parents and are much missed.
Professor Emeritus Sir Hugh Ford (Mechanical Engineering 1936, PhD 1939)
Provided by Daily Telegraph June 2010
Professor Sir Hugh Ford, who died on May 28 aged 96, helped to revolutionise the production of both plastics and metals in Britain, which fuelled the postwar consumer boom that transformed the lives of millions.
Hugh Ford was born on July 16 1913, just four years after Blériot had first crossed the Channel by air and Henry Ford had developed his production line for the earliest motor cars. After leaving Northampton Grammar School at 16 he joined the Swindon works of the Great Western Railway Company as a premium apprentice in fitting and turning. Through long hours of study in evening classes, and then on a day-release scheme inaugurated by GWR, he managed to enlist in the London University external degree course for an inter-BSc. He then won one of the scholarships established by Sir Joseph Whitworth, the great Victorian engineer, for dedicated apprentices from poor backgrounds. In 1934 Ford thus entered City & Guilds (later Imperial) College in South Kensington, where his quality rapidly showed; he took a First, and as the top undergraduate of his year was awarded the Bramwell Medal. He then continued his studies with a PhD in problems of heat transfer and fluid flow.
During the Second World War, he joined Imperial Chemical Industries' alkali division in Cheshire as a research engineer. He worked on plastics – contributing both to the world's first commercial high-pressure polyethylene plant, and to the design of a pilot plant for the manufacture of chlorinated polyethylenes, thus helping to establish what subsequently became a major international industry.
Three years later he became chief technical officer to the British Iron and Steel Federation and progressed to the position of head of the mechanical working division of the British Iron and Steel Research Association. His research into the operation of cold strip mills – which reduce thick ingots of metal to thin sheets, essential, for example, in the mass-production of cars – played a crucial part in postwar British industry. For his work he was awarded the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal in 1948. The techniques he pioneered were eventually adopted worldwide. In the same year he returned to Imperial College as Reader in Applied Mechanics, the start of an association that was to last for the next three decades. Having revolutionised hands-on engineering processes in the early part of his career, Ford quickly set about creating a productive spirit in the academic world too, fostering an atmosphere in which students and researchers were themselves able to produce significant advances.
In 1951 he was promoted to Professor of Applied Mechanics and oversaw the rebuilding and re-equipment of the Mechanical Engineering department. During this period he worked on applied mechanics research and teaching, plasticity theory and metal working processes. He took an interest in numerous fields, among them polymer engineering, biomechanics, high-pressure technology, fatigue and fracture mechanics. This work was consolidated during his period as head of the department of Mechanical Engineering from 1965 until he retired in 1978. Although Imperial College was his greatest love, Ford had major commitments outside. His academic work was augmented and strengthened by many consultancies and directorships. He sat on numerous major committees, and was president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (1977-78) and of the Institute of Metals (1985-87). He was a founder fellow of the Fellowship (later Royal Academy) of Engineering in 1976 and its vice-president from 1981 to 1983. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1967 and knighted in 1975. Generations of students at Imperial held him in the warmest affection. He was a polished host, while his bowler hat and habit of arriving at college in his Rolls-Royce marked him out as a man of substance.
A man of vision and purpose, Ford anticipated concerns about energy and sustainability some 20 years before such issues became fashionable, and introduced innovations in Engineering degrees – such as courses in economics, management and integrated design studies – which have since become mandatory. He won a host of awards, including the James Watt International Gold Medal in 1985. Sir Hugh Ford married, in 1942, Wynyard Scholfield. She died in 1991, and he married secondly, in 1993, Thelma Jensen. She survives him with two daughters of his first marriage.
Ian A. Macdonald (Mechanical Engineering 1937)
Provided by Mr Eaton H. Robinson 20 June 2009
Alec Macdonald, Mech.eng. 1937, died on June 20th at his home in Ascot, aged 94 where he had lived for nearly 50 years. We were both elected to the Links Club and he was Captain of the Motor Club who looked after Bo. After college we went to the Engine Division of the Bristol Aeroplane Co. for a 2 year post graduate Apprenticeship, sharing a flat with another Link and 2 others from Cambridge. Bristol made piston engines as the jet had not been invented. When war broke out Alec joined the RAF and was posted to St. Athan, the Technical Branch, reaching the rank of Squadron Leader. At that time there was some difficulty getting a job because he had little experience in industry and joined production Enginering , where as a Management Consultant, he remained for 32 years, retiring in 1982. Alec. had 5 children who, between them, got 6 scholarships to public schools and Oxford, none of whom are engineers. He was an usher at my wedding. I credit the Links Club and the Guilds for starting a lifelong friendship of 73 years.
John K Whitehead
Provided by Mandy Whitehead October 2008
Dr John Whitehead, whose dedication and energy played a pivotal role in establishing the city's thriving museum heritage, has died at the age of 90. His legacy to the city of Ripon includes the foundation of the Ripon Museum Trust which in three decades pioneered and supported the creation of three new museums within the city. A modest and gracious man, Dr Whitehead's contribution combined intellect and vision, with a vigorously practical approach; he was equally at ease building display cases as he was explaining a detailed point about the history of the Poor Law.
Born in Kingston upon Hull in 1917, Dr Whitehead attended Hull Grammar School, winning a royal scholarship to read chemistry at the Royal College of Science in London (Imperial College). His career as a research scientist was to include service as a government chemist during the Second World War and employment with the Flour Millers' Association and Cancer Research. In 1963 he moved to Harrogate to join the new tobacco research laboratories where he was appointed director six years later and remained until retirement in 1977.
His connection with Ripon began when he moved with his family to High St Agnesgate in 1971. His wife Helen became an active member of Ripon Civic Society, calling for better museum facilities in the city and identifying the potential of the former workhouse building at Sharow View. After her death in 1974, the campaigning work continued, with additional momentum created by a planning application to turn the former House of Correction on St Marygate into a wine bar. The Civic Society objected and the Ripon Museum Trust was founded by Dr Whitehead who then persuaded Harrogate Borough Council to buy the building in 1983. Ripon Prison and Police Museum opened its doors to the public the following year, and has continued to grow and flourish, receiving a Heritage Lottery Fund grant for expansion and refurbishment in 2002. Dr Whitehead's achievement was recognised with an MBE in 1990.
As the first President of the Ripon Museum Trust, Dr Whitehead continued to make a major contribution to the development of the city's museum provision which saw the opening of the Workhouse Museum in 1996 and the conversion of the former magistrates' court in 2001 to the Courthouse Museum. Dr Whitehead died peacefully at home on Good Friday after a short illness. He was still engaged in museum matters right up to the end and was thrilled with the news of the latest successful Heritage Lottery Fund bid of £837,000 for the Workhouse Museum.
The museum work was an expression of a deep and far-reaching commitment to the city, the preservation of its environment and the promotion of Ripon tourism. Sociable and generous with his time and talents, Dr Whitehead had strong links with many local organisations. He served as Chairman and Vice President of the Civic Society, Founder Chairman of the Environment Committee, first Secretary of the Ripon Tourist Association and Vice Chair of the Historical Society Committee. He had also served as a Citizens Advice Bureau counsellor, a governor of Ripon Grammar School and, until recently, as a trustee of the Ripon Improvement Trust. He was a life-long member of the Liberal party and a member of Ripon Film Society.
For the many who had the privilege to know him personally, Dr Whitehead will also be remembered as a kind and gentle family man who will be missed greatly by his six children, four grandchildren and everyone whose life he touched.
Dr Kaspar S. Hocking (Biology 1935)
Provided by Shelagh Garrard 2012
Kaspar was born in Brentham, London, of a Cornish father and spend quite a bit of his boyhood in Falmouth with his grandparents. In 1934 he was awarded a B.Sc in Biology (Entomology) from Imperial College, London University and in 1936 married Eileen Hicks. From 1938 he spent 30 years in the Colonial Research Service in East Africa , moving around East Africa and finishing as the Director of the Tropical Pesticides Research Institute in Arusha, Tanzania. During the war he joined the Kings African Rifles working with the medical unit in selecting suitable, non malarial sites for the army to camp in Northern Kenya and Ethiopia. In 1969 he was awarded a D.Sc for 25 years published research into mosquitoes and tsetse flies. He was a part time consultant for the World Health Organisation until 1973 when he finally retired to Polwheveral, Constantine near Falmouth. He has two daughters, Shelagh born in 1940 in Shinyanga, Tanganyika and Vanessa born 1945 in Nairobi, Kenya. He was a very early member of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust and was its President from 1976 until 1980. He continued to work for the Trust as a Trustee, rarely missing a meeting, until the time of his death. He started to learn the Cornish language in 1989 and was invited to become a Bard of the Cornish Gorseth in 1993 taking the Cornish Bardic name of Car Broghas / Lover of Badgers. Until he was nearly 99 years old, he continued to play chess, another great love of his life, including running a chess club at the village primary school. He was still quite difficult to beat!
Provided by Roland Lubett 10 October 2007
Lef Lubett died peacefully on 10 October at the age of 96, after a long and distinguished life in mining, engineering, metal trading and arbitration in the UK and many other countries, in war and peacetime. I reproduce the following brief obituary from his funeral, in the hope that it can fill out the bare facts of Lefs life: The youngest of six children, Lef grew up in Brighton in a loving Jewish family. He was an all-round top student, but with uninspired and lazy teachers, was not stretched to his full potential for Higher Certificate. However a timely visit from his brother David, and a look at the courses offered by Imperial College's Royal School of Mines, helped him decide on a career in mining geology.
With the help of a loan from the Education Aid Fund, Lef studied for three years at the RSM, and then worked as a mining engineer in South Africa, Canada and India, at a time when the world was struggling with economic depression and the fast-growing threat of war. The outbreak of the War in the Pacific saw Lef at work in the Kolar Gold Fields in Bangalore, India. He would look back at his time on the KGF as "salad days": challenging work, with a sumptuous lifestyle, fitting not always easily into a colonial social milieu with its conventions and distinctions.
Along with many of the other expatriate staff on the Gold Fields, Lef volunteered for army service, and after a period of training at Poona, was sent to Burma with the Bombay Sappers and Miners. During the retreat through Burma in 1942, Lef was shipped out with severe malaria. After convalescing, he was sent to Chitral, in the North West Frontier region of India. During construction work on a bridge over the Kunar river gorge, he was thrown off his horse, breaking his arm, but the three broken vertebrae in his neck were not diagnosed till many weeks later.
Demobbed in 1946, Lef returned to work at the KGF. In 1947 he returned to England, and through his many contacts, rapidly established a long-term profession in the non-ferrous metal business. After a period of work with Ayrton Metals, in 1958 he founded Ayrton and Partners, which prospered handsomely, though by his own admission Lef never had a real flair for the trading side of the business.
In the 1960s Lef took legal studies and later qualified as an arbitrator, a role at which he excelled and that he found highly satisfying. He had a lasting influence on the legal side of the metal trade, and he became an authority in the drafting of rules and contracts for the trade. After Ayrton and Partners was taken over by Wogen pIc, Lef remained with Wogen as a director and "elder statesman", frequently consulted for advice on contracts and legal issues.
Lef was a man of many interests and gifts. His youth was athletic, marked by a distinguished club rugby career and a deep love of the mountains. He was a keen golfer for over 60 years, and a key figure in the London Metal Exchange Golf Association. Lef possessed considerable gifts of art, design and drawing, which were never fully developed. They found later expression in his hobbies of hand printing and calligraphy.
Lef was always possessed of an active and enquiring mind, taking Open University studies until he was well over 90. He maintained a deep interest in the poetry and imagery of the Hebrew Scriptures. His knowledge spanned philosophy, comparative religions, jurisprudence, history, economics and ecology. In common with many whose intellectual home was in the liberal humanist tradition, with its ideals and hopes for humanity, he found himself growing increasingly disillusioned by the rise of globalisation, religious fundamentalism, and ecological deterioration. While on leave in England in 1947, he met and married Denise Ullmann. In 1984 he married Charlotte Green, who pre-deceased him. He leaves a son Roland and three grand-daughters.
Leslie R Prout
Provided by Mr Tony P. Prout 28 February 2009
My father Leslie Prout (Elect. Eng 1930-34) died on 28th February 2009 in Lerwick, Shetlands. After graduating from City & Guilds he worked for Gaumont British on early sound films and then Royal Aircraft Establishment where his expertise in electronics was (not) harnessed on battery technology which then became his area of expertise. Later he became Technical Director of Oldham batteries before finishing his working career at Alkaline batteries and Compton Parkinson. His interest in battery technology continued until just before his death.
Margaret Morten (nee Norris) (Swanley Horticultural College 1939)
Provided by Robert Morten Date of death 27th October 2011
Our mother, Margaret Morton, passed away at the age of 93 on October 27th 2011. She was a graduate at the University of London degree of BSc Horticulture and Diploma in Horticulture, gained at Swanley Horticultural College in 1939. Following teacher training in London during the first years of the Second World War, Margaret worked principally in Rural Science with Local Educational Authorities in West Riding of Yorkshire and in East Suffolk. She also was a member of staff at Ripon Teacher Training College in North Yorkshire. Her final twelve years before retirement were spent in general part time teaching at the local primary school, Temple Newsom Primary School in Leeds – where she played a major part in the school's science and nature teaching. She is very much missed but her influence lives on.
John R. Ewans (Mechanical Engineering 1937, Aeronautics 1938)
Provided by Caroline Ewans
John Roy Ewans 1917-2012 Roy Ewans was one of the most important British aircraft designers of the post-war era. His career spanned a period of huge change in aircraft design, from the age of the biplane through to supersonic jets. He was born on 21 December 1917 in Torquay. In 1931 he was awarded a scholarship by St Pauls' School, Kensington. In 1938 he graduated from Imperial College, London, with a first class honours degree in mechanical engineering, and took a further postgraduate diploma in aeronautical engineering.
In 1939 Roy joined the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough as a scientific officer. Throughout the war, he worked on the evaluation of the performance of new aircraft projects and flight testing of aircraft on the research and development programme. After D-Day he was sent into France to evaluate the German aircraft programme at factories in the formerly occupied territory, continuing after the Allied advance into Belgium and then Germany itself where he was attached to the Sixth Army Group. After the war, he joined Blackburn Aircraft before moving in 1949 to A. V. Roe and Company in Manchester, where he did his most significant work, on the Vulcan Mk. 2 and 748 planes. At first Chief Aerodynamicist, he became Chief Designer/Chief Engineer in 1955. The Vulcan bomber was one of three in the UK government's force of V bombers designed to carry nuclear bombs as a deterrent to the Soviet Union. It was at the time the largest delta-winged aircraft ever built. One hundred and thirty-six were made for the Royal Air Force, and it was in service from 1956 until 1984. The only time it took part in a combat mission was dropping conventional weapons during the Falklands war. The Avro 748 is a small propeller-driven airliner; of the three hundred and eighty which were built, thirty-two remain in service. In 1957 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. In 1961 he left Avro for the British Aircraft Corporation in Weybridge, Surrey, working on military systems, value engineering and project analysis. In 1967 he moved to the USA to join Fairchild Hiller. His departure for the USA made front-page national headlines, as one of many "Brain Drain" engineers and scientists leaving the UK at the time. His wife Enid, whom he married in 1944, died in 2005. He is survived by his children Michael, Caroline, John and Nicholas, and by his seven grandchildren.
Wilfred C Pafford (Electrical & Electronic Engineering 1930, DIC 1931)
Provided by Margaret Hodgson January 2011
Wilfred Pafford or Paff as he preferred to be called has led life to the full throughout his 102 and a half years. His life spanned a very interesting period of time and he saw technical and engineering developments, from cars and motor cycles through to the age of the mobile phone and amazing computer technology in this fast growing field that we all take for granted in our busy everyday lives.
He was born in Southsea, Portsmouth in the summer of 1908 and grew up there with his parents and older brother Mont, and the many cousins in the family, in and around Portsmouth, some of whom are now still only in their nineties and enjoying life. In Portsmouth he attended the Royal Dockyard School where he won a Royal Scholarship to Imperial College of Technology at the University of London. In 1931 he gained his degree with honours and then joined the BBC where he went on to be a leading light in the development of that familiar box in the corner. He was present at the birth of TV whilst working at Alexandra Palace London, affectionately known as Ally Pally. He also spent some years in Daventry at the BBC World Services transmitters where he became chief engineer.
He married Helen in Alverstoke, Gosport in 1933 and they celebrated 70 years of marriage until Helen died in 2002. We two children came along in due course and I have recently come across letters of congratulations in honour of those two important events in their lives. In 1939 at the outbreak of the second World War he was recalled to Ally Pally to lead a team of RAF technicians in an operation named by Churchill, " The Battle of the Beams" which involved jamming the German aircraft navigational technology. This was certainly one of the most important roles in helping to protect our country and our freedom that we have today. He has told his story of his wartime experiences in his "Collected works of Reminiscences " which many of you will already know. He witnessed the bombing of Coventry during the war and many years later was asked to design lighting for part of the newly rebuilt Cathedral which he considered to be an honour and privilege. After the War, the BBC resumed normal services and he continued at Ally Pally as Head Lighting Engineer for the newly found TV, which would later, come to be a part of all our lives. We were reminded too of the Christmas parties for BBC staff children, when going through all those old photos recently, and recall Annette Mills and Muffin the Mule also being at those parties along with our Mum and Dad. Lovely memories.
In 1955 Paff was asked to join the newly formed Independent Television (ITV). Again exciting times ahead as he was now in charge of lighting for Outside Broadcasts, which included most of the London theatres and their current production and of course, Sunday Night at the London Palladium, that I'm sure most of us will remember. Sue and I also remember, with great excitement as two small girls, going to see the ballet at Covent Garden for the first time, which was being televised live, no recordings in those days! He had a lifelong interest in politics and his beliefs and passions were very much a part of him. In his University days he joined the Jarrow Miners march to support their cause of poverty and unemployment during the great depression of the 30s. This led him on to have strong radical views and to fight for those rights of the workers and for peace in the world that he firmly believed in to make this world a better place.
In 1973 Paff retired from the busy 'show biz' world of television in London and moved to Ferring. Here they settled into a more peaceful life and their lifelong love of gardening soon got into full swing in the wonderful garden, which soon became a showpiece. There, roses and flowers of every kind, colour and hue bloomed profusely and the kitchen garden became a very important place with its constant supply of freshly picked runner beans, rhubarb and potatoes soon to be followed by apples which were always in abundant supply. His neighbours will recall being well stocked up with apples. With retirement, the grandchildren and later great grandchildren came along and I know Chris and Steve both have many happy memories of school holidays spent in Ferring. So many things to explore and do, a game of bowls or croquet in the garden with Grandpa was a great favourite with hours of fun, long sunny days and Grandma's apple pies. A wealth of stories from the past that only grandparents know how to tell, and being introduced to hobbies such as painting and drawing which continue into their lives today.
Paff had many talents and his love of art shone through in many forms and his cartoons for every occasion were very much a part of him, where his charming sense of humour shone through every day till the last. He was a talented watercolour artist and in recent years he wrote poems, which were published from time to time. He never ceased to amaze us with his never-ending quest for knowledge and being able to master the computer at the age of 95 and quickly followed by his culinary skills with the microwave and cake decorating to name but a few. We do recall perhaps a few anxious moments on our part when seeing smoke from the microwave drifting through the front door from time to time. But all was well and normally under control! During the last three years Paff enjoyed the best care we could have wished for at Kensington Lodge Residential Home in Rustington. He celebrated his 100th birthday there as you know and I'm sure they will miss his hearty rendering of " old time songs" on Monday afternoons. A true gentleman in every sense, he will be sadly missed but he leaves us with many happy memories and tales to tell. A remarkable man. A very special Dad and Grandad. We will all miss him but he will remain in our hearts forever.
Nilkanth R Tembe
Provided by Dr Madhav N. Tembe 7 December 2008
Degrees: B.E. (from karaci), M.Sc.from Imperial College, Fellow of Insititution of Engineers & instituition of stuctural engineers.
Career: Worked In Bombay Port Trust & instrumental in development of the port & Port Trust Hospital. Partner in Shroff & Tembe, a firm of Consulting Structural Engineers. Notable Stuctures: Air India & State Bank buildings, some of the first mutistoried buildings in India. Chairperson of comittee appointed by the Municipal Comissioner of Bombay to investigate collapse of multistoried buildings. Examiner in Theory of Structures & Strength of Materials for Graduate & Post Graduate courses of University of Bombay. Visiting Professor in above subjects in V.J.T.I., J.J.College of Architecture. He continued to work as a Visiting Professor till the age of 87 years.
Dr Paul Freeman DSc, A.R.C.S, F.R.E.S (Biology 1937)
Provided By Margaret Evans (Daughter)
My Father entered Imperial College in 1934 with an Entrance Exhibition and three years later was awarded a BSc with 1 st class honours in Biology and Entomology. For two years he worked at Imperial College as Research Assistant and Demonstrator, studying the identity of African bugs known as "Cotton Stainers", but in 1939 he volunteered for the Royal Artillery, subsequently reaching the rank of Captain. The latter part of his war service was spent with the Army Operational Research Group.
My father returned to Imperial College in 1945 as Lecturer in Entomology, and the following year was awarded an MSc degree in recognition of his scientific publications. In 1947 he joined the staff of the British Museum (Natural History) and was promoted to Principal Scientific Officer in 1953. The Museum had become well established as a centre for the study of biting flies, many of which carry diseases to man and domestic animals. My father rapidly became an important member of this research group, publishing extensively on the blackfly disease-vectors of Africa as well as on African and Australian midges - a knowledge of which is important in biological studies on freshwater systems. For these studies he was awarded a DSc degree by the University of London in 1959. He designed a new insect gallery for the Museum which was opened in October 1968 and he was appointed Keeper of Entomology at the same time, being promoted to Deputy Chief Scientific Officer three years later.
He retired in 1981, and it was appropriate that he was presented to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at the Centenary Celebrations of the Museum only three days before leaving. His period as Keeper was marked by great changes in the Scientific Civil Service brought about by the Fulton and Rothschild Reports. He transfonned the traditional dusty museum image into that of a modern biological research institute. Old collections were massively overhauled, tropical field studies were encouraged, new research projects involving living insects introduced, and the research productivity of the department was greatly expanded. He was an author of over sixty scientific publications himself. Outside the Natural History Museum my father led a quiet domestic life with his wife and two daughters; my elder sister pre-deceased him. His private interest was in gardening, but he found time for many public interests in entomology. He served the Royal Entomological Society of London extensively, acting as Honorary Secretary from 1958-1962. In 1964 he organised the Twelfth International Congress of Entomology which drew 2000 scientists to London, and he served the Permanent Conunittee of the Congresses as Secretary until 1976. At the Sixteenth Congress in Kyoto 1980, his many services were acknowledged by his election to Honorary Life Membership of the International Congresses of Entomology. He was married for 68 years, celebrating silver, gold and diamond wedding anniversaries.
Peter M Fraenkel
Peter Fraenkel, who has died aged 94, was a civil engineer at the heart of a movement of British consulting engineers responsible for infrastructure all over the rapidly developing post-colonial world of the 1970s and 80s. He built up a 160-strong practice that produced innovative, heavy engineering solutions to such problems as how to support the world's then longest cable-stayed bridge in Thailand and how to build the biggest road projects at that time through the challenging topography of Hong Kong.
In the UK, he quickly made a name for himself by carrying out research that led to the regeneration of Britain's stricken canal network. Fraenkel was asked to put together teams to walk along some of the country's 3,100km of canals to research the feasibility of bringing them back into commercial use. Many had fallen into dereliction and only through the efforts of enthusiasts had the occasional pumping house or lock been restored. The Fraenkel report (1975) argued persuasively that there was a case for restoring much of the network, aided by central government funding. This report, for the Department of the Environment, was a catalyst for some early projects, such as the restoration of 39 locks on the Kennet and Avon canal and the restoration of the Avoncliff aqueduct, which Peter Fraenkel and Partners (PFP) carried out.
By the turn of the millennium, he was able to look back with pride at his role in the UK-wide regeneration of the 18th- and 19th-century waterways. Fraenkel was born in Breslau, Germany, now Wroclaw in Poland. His German parents – his father was Jewish, though Peter was brought up as a Lutheran – horrified at the rise of nazism, sent Peter to London aged 16. He rapidly learned English and won a place to study civil engineering at Imperial College. When the second world war broke out, Fraenkel was assigned to the Ministry of Works to supervise the building of brigade camps needed for soldier training. After the war he joined the consulting engineers Rendel Palmer and Tritton, specialising in heavy marine engineering projects. His most notable job was the Port Talbot harbour in south Wales. The presentation of this project at the Institution of Civil Engineers led to his being awarded the Telford medal, the most prestigious in its field. He took the bold step of setting up his own consultancy in 1972. It grew rapidly, winning projects all over the world, and received the Queen's award for enterprise in 1982. Projects in the UK included the loading jetties at the Sullom Voe oil terminal in Shetland, completed in 1978, and the floodgates to protect the entrances to the Royal docks and Tilbury docks, east of London, which were threatened by the rise in the water level after the completion of the Thames barrier in 1982.
Overseas, Fraenkel opened an office in Nigeria in 1976 and worked on 600km of highways, including the 200km highway from Biu to Maiduguri, in the north of the country, which required clever solutions to ensure that the road and bridge structures resisted flash flooding in the rainy reason from the Ngadda river. He opened another short-lived office in Cameroon and lost a lot of money due to the misappropriation of funds. Chastened, but with important lessons learned, Fraenkel moved into the next decade by turning his attention to the far east and south-east Asia. Notable projects included a dockyard built in a mangrove swamp for the Thai navy at Pom Prachul, near Bangkok, in 1980; the Rama IX bridge in Bangkok, which – when it was completed in 1987 – was the longest cable-stayed bridge in the world, with a main span of 450m; and a highway in Malaysia from Sandakan to Kinatanga, which aided economic development in the east of the country. In Hong Kong, PFP designed the Tolo highway (1985), built along land reclaimed from the sea from Shatin to Tai Po in the New Territories. Another Hong Kong triumph in the mid-1980s was the enlargement and realignment of the congested King's Road. By the late 1980s, however, work overseas began to dry up, as foreign consultants from the US and elsewhere challenged the market-leading UK engineering consultants. Project funders, such as the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, had also begun to redeploy their support for developing economies away from infrastructure and into improving governance. Fraenkel kept the firm afloat by breaking into the UK highways sector, where there was a boom in bypass building. After winning the Bicester southern bypass, he opened an office in Leicester and undertook many other highways schemes in the east Midlands. When the UK's road-building programme came to a halt in the mid-1990s, Fraenkel, by then an octogenarian, refocused the firm back into the heavy marine engineering that had made its name.
He remained involved in the firm into his 90s, and was remembered by colleagues as a shrewd operator. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Barbara, and by two daughters, Laura and Sarah.
Peter Spiro (Mechanical Engineering & Motive Power 1939)
16.05.1918 - 09.02.2018
Provided by his daughter, Elizabeth Spiro
Peter Spiro was born in Berlin on the 16th of May 1918, into an artistic and musical family; most notably his father, Eugen Spiro, was a prominent painter, and his maternal grandmother, Irma Sethe, a violinist. In 1935, with the rise of Nazism, his family left Germany, Peter to an English school in Switzerland, and his parents to France where Peter spent his school holidays. His parents later (1941) managed to get a boat from Lisbon to New York. In 1936 Peter came to London, studying Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, graduating in 1939. He was a keen rower during and after his college days.
On a short stay in the hospital with ingrowing toenails, Peter met his wife-to-be, Lucy Tanner, known as Bobbie, a nurse. When Hitler’s troops marched into Russia, Peter and Bobbie concluded that Hitler would now lose the war and it was therefore safe to marry and have children, which they duly did, with Elizabeth born in 1942 and Andrew in 1944. Bobbie died at the age of 95 in 2010.
For the first twenty years of his working life Peter worked in the field of Electroforming, on which he wrote an impressive technical book. He later worked for the Metal Box Company, and then for the British Compressed Air Society, a trade association which gave Peter the opportunity to travel to other European countries (including Germany) and make use of his languages. His later working life combined his technical expertise with his linguistic skills, and he worked well beyond retirement age as a technical interpreter (English, German, French, and Italian) at European meetings.
Throughout his life, he maintained an interest in painting, both promoting his father’s work and reputation, and doing his own painting and exhibiting. His early memoirs, “Nur uns gibt es nicht wieder”, were published (in German) in 2010, illustrated with paintings, mostly by his father but also by himself and his daughter Elizabeth.
Peter died in his sleep at home on 9th February 2018 aged 99, just three months short of his 100th birthday.
Robert C Winton
Provided by Mr Peter Winton 25 February 2009
My father, Robert Winton, received his Electrical Engineering degree from Imperial, and put it to good use in a 40-year career with Mullard, later Philips. With a break for National Service in World War II, father was assigned to a unit dealing with radios and radar, and was demobbed with the rank of Major. As his career at Mullard and Philips progressed, Robert joined the IEEE and served on various Committees for almost 40 years. He was a major influence as Secretary of Region 8, receiving the Haradon Pratt Award in 1986. Father's other great interest was fencing.
He was British Junior Epee Champion in the early 1930s, and once retired from competition, went on to serve on the Amateur Fencing Association Executive Committee for over 50 years, for which he was awarded an MBE. Together with his brother, Sir Nicholas Winton, they founded the Winton Cup for teams from the AFA Regions, a competition recently revived for the National (Fencing) Veterans.
My father was an electrical engineer, I am a mechanical engineer, and my son, Adam, is also an Imperial alumni with a Masters in Chemical Engineering. Robert was very proud of his grandson, and joked that if he had children, we only needed a Civil Engineer to complete a family set! Sadly, he didn't live to see if that comes to pass. Robert is survived by his wife, Heather and his children, Peter, Andrew and Carol.
Dr Robert William Howe (Biology 1938)
Providedby Dr Don Griffiths, colleague and Dr Janet Shapiro, sister
Robert William Howe was born in Kent and gained a scholarship in 1934 to study Biology at Imperial College London. After graduation, he started work at the College's field station in Slough. Robert was one of the founding members of the internationally famous Pest Infestation Laboratory (PIL) set up in 1940, under the jurisdiction of the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research. PIL was transferred in 1959 to the control of the Agricultural Research Council and in 1970, was 'gifted' to the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food, when it was renamed the Pest infestation Control Laboratory (PICL), affectionately referred to by its staff as 'Pickle'. T
The Laboratory was originally set up to investigate the attack by insect, mite and fungal pests on harvested crops and other food products at all stages of storage and processing, a function which broadly remained the same over the years. The remit of the Biology Department of PICL was to undertake basic research on the ecology, physiology and habits of a wide range of beetles, moths, mites and fungal pests, and so produce information critical to the development of effective control methods. Robert led the section dealing with overseas problems. He spent 1948-50 in Nigeria and later made visits to the USA and Australia.
Dr Don Griffiths observes that when he joined the Biology Department Robert (known as Bob) was a senior member holding a rarely awarded merit promotion at the rank of Senior Principal Scientific Officer, for Bob was an outstanding researcher with a special bent towards statistics and mathematics, a gift not within the capacity of too many biologists. His forte was to have the ability to develop methodologies and then carry out painstaking experiments on these small insects. The raw data so produced he used to construct life history profiles, from which, with his special abilities, he would produce mathematical models which were capable of assessing and predicting their lifestyles. By nature, Bob seemed to prefer to be a 'loner', not interested in heading a large team.
His group invariably consisted of a few technical support staff undertaking, with live insects, the experiments initiated by Bob's ideas, together with a continuous chain of young researchers whom he selected and then encouraged to register, with his support, for a PhD degree at one of the nearby London University Colleges. A recommendation from Bob ensured their acceptance, for he automatically became their chief advisor and guide up to the point of the completion and submission of their thesis. Imperial College, London, was always a willing co-operator. There were at least eight doctorates successfully completed at Slough under his patient and understanding direction. He was not only a gifted Doctor of Science, but also a kind considerate and approachable person. Anyone could knock at his door for advice, be welcomed, and go away uplifted.
For most of his career, IT technology had yet to take off. Complex multifactorial calculations had to be undertaken on mechanical, and later electrical calculating machines. Graphs and diagrams had to be drawn by hand, likewise, manuscripts were handwritten; then exposed to the trials and tribulations of the typing pool! But, despite these time-consuming activities, Bob's ideas always seemed to reach the fruition of publication, as his record shows. What more could he have achieved with today's magic machines? When the Head of Department, Dr Maurice Solomon, retired in the early 70's Bob was appointed as his successor. Under his leadership departmental meetings concentrated on science, acting as much as it was possible, as a forum for the discussion of the Department's research programme. However, with the style of Civil Service management becoming more bureaucratic Bob was less comfortable. In 1979 Margaret Thatcher reduced the retirement age for Civil Servants, including scientists, from 65 down to 60; Bob was then 63 and opted for retirement but he continued his enthusiasm for science for many years. Bob had an extraordinary range of abilities and at the start of his career had been tempted to become a professional cricketer. He later regularly played for the Slough Town Football Club. He was certainly happy with his decision to choose science, where he excelled in the application of mathematical solutions to biological problems and made a unique contribution. Unfortunately, Bob's wife Theda died three years ago; he is survived by a brother, sister, two daughters and four grandchildren.
Emeritus Professor Ronald G. Mason (Physics 1938, MSc 1939)
Provided by Mrs Lesley Goble 16 July 2009
Professor Ronald George Mason, Emeritus Professor of Geophysics at Imperial College, died in hospital in London on 16 July, at the age of 92. He was born in Winsor, Hampshire, on 24 December 1916, but spent most of his early life in Eastbourne, Sussex, where he went to school and met his wife. After leaving Eastbourne Grammar School, he attended London University. During the Second World War he worked with Army Signals Research - REME to improve the technical function of tanks and communication networks. His projects included finding a solution to the over-heating of tracks on vehicles. He arranged for a rotating beam to send out a signal which was recorded to provide information on the position of tanks to prevent them getting lost in the North African desert. He also worked with a hearing aid firm to make a miniature radio that was inserted into the dart boards and shoveha'penny boards sent to prisoners of war. He also maintained an interest in investigating the effect of the tropical climate on equipment.
After the war Professor Mason graduated from Imperial College of Science and Technology with an MSc/Advanced Diploma in Applied Geophysics. In 1947 he was appointed Lecturer in Geophysics at Imperial College, under Professor J Bruckshaw. During his lectureship at Imperial College, Professor Mason worked extensively in the United States with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Scripps sponsored a pioneering expedition to Fanning Island in the Pacific Ocean, led by Professor Mason. This two-year survey studied geomagnetic phenomena believed to be associated with the magnetic equator.
In 1952, Roger Revelle from Scripps invited Mason to join the Capricorn Expedition, an enterprise shared with the US Navy and Atomic Energy Commission, to study the ocean depths across 20,000 miles of the South Pacific. With the magnetometer that he had re-engineered towed behind the ship, Mason recorded more than 4000 miles of magnetic profiles which were used to produce a map showing the magnetic field of the sea floor. While on this expedition he also made detailed surveys of the Tonga Trench. In 1955 the Scripps researchers undertook a detailed survey off the Californian coast in what was the first attempt to make a detailed magnetic map of an extensive area of the oceans. The result of the survey, showing new features in the structure of the Earth discovered by Mason and Arthur Raff, was well publicized in the Geographical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society.
In her book Exploring the Deep Pacific, Helen Raitt, who accompanied her husband Russ on the trip, described Mason as 'a lone wolf, working late at night when there is more space on which to spread out a twenty-three-foot-long record.' As a result of this work Professor Mason was given the honorary appointment of Research Affiliate of the Institute of Geophysics at the University of Hawaii, which he visited frequently for research, usually during the summer vacations. He also became an Emeritus Professor. Mason returned to Imperial College in 1962 but the magnetic programme continued under Victor Vacquier. In 1964 Mason became Reader in Geophysics at Imperial College and, in 1967, he was appointed to the chair of Pure Geophysics. Duncan Cowan worked with Mason for ten years from 1979 when Mason was Head of Geophysics at Imperial College. He described him as 'a quiet achiever who was only interested in doing good science and did not get involved in university politics'. Cowan acknowledged Mason's achievement in his early work on magnetic striping/sea floor spreading in the North-east Pacific. Mason was well respected for this work and colleagues such as Cowan and Sydney Hall spoke highly of his achievements.
During the 1980s, Mason and his students were very active in accurate distance measurements, investigating crustal movements of the Earth in Iceland, Mount Etna and the San Andreas Fault and subsidiary faults. Cowan recalls that, after one earthquake, 'Ron was on-site in California with his measuring equipment before USGS arrived from Menlo Park, just a few hundred kilometers north of the epicentre'. Mason formally retired from Imperial College in 1984 but continued to work there as a Senior Research Fellow.
In 2002 he received the Gold Certificate from the Society of Exploration Geophysicists after fifty years' contribution. A keen cyclist and cross-country runner from his youth, he thought nothing of cycling from Sussex to Wookey Hole to undertake a project with students, or from Frant to Eastbourne and back for the day. He maintained his fitness for many years and enjoyed walking across Kensington Gardens to his office. He would invariably decline the offer of a lift and could tell, to the minute, how long the walk would take. He was married for sixty years to Honor, to whom he was devoted, until her death in 2006. A keen gardener, walker and traveller, Mason loved playing the role of devil's advocate and excelled in a good argument, hating it if anyone agreed with him. Sydney Hall, with whom he shared an office at Imperial College, recalled that he loved an argument even on such mundane trifles as the price of goods at Sainsbury's.
Self-effacing and modest, he rarely spoke of his achievements. He never accepted that his wife's last illness, or his own, was age-related. In his declining years, when ill health and poor eyesight made research impossible, he was interested in the potential link between their symptoms and radiation from their many years of high-altitude flying.
Ronald M Wild
Provided by Peter Morris (MSc Civil and Environmental Engineering 1981) 07 April 2007
Bill Wild died on 28 March 2007, aged 90 years. He was an extraordinary man. After war service in the Royal Engineers and time with consultants, he came to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1947 to join the Irrigation Department. He did the route selection for the Kariba Dam access road - following the elephant trails down the escarpment - and built the road, supervised the grouting for Kariba and was Resident Engineer for Kyle Dam (a 65-metre high thin arch). He became Chief Designs Engineer where he was responsible for many of the country's large dams and canals. Bill retired from government service in 1980 as Secretary for Water Development. He joined Stewart Scott Consulting Engineers where he designed and supervised over 60 dams, irrigation schemes and tunnels. He pioneered and extended the limits of masonry arch dams and this work culminated in the Lucilia Poort Dam, a 40-metre high thin masonry arch, completed in his eighty-ninth year. He remained active in engineering until shortly before he died. His many works in Zimbabwe are a memorial to a great engineer. Bill was married to Maureen for 38 years, from 1956 to 1994. He is survived by five children (Bruce, Moira, Les, Ivan and Glenda Joy), 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Mr Ronald Gerrard (Civil Engineering and Surveying 1937)
Provided by Mr Michael Gerrard Originally published in The Times Written by Damian Arnold 2013
Ronald Gerrard was a civil engineer who oversaw the construction of huge hydroelectric dams in developing countries, providing drinking water and electricity for millions of people. He was a key adviser to the World Bank which was funding the schemes in Malaysia, Pakistan and Lesotho in the 1960s. The bank wanted assurances that the enormous amounts of money it was investing were being well spent and that the project would last for the next 150 years and more. Gerrard remained involved in the schemes for years at a time and his expert engineering scrutiny included testing the strength of the concrete, the settlement of the earth built up for the dam structure and the degree of water seepage.
Gerrard oversaw the construction of the Cameron Highlands / Batang Padang hydroelectric scheme in Malaysia, the Mangla hydroelectric scheme in Pakistan (1960 - 67) and the Maseru water supply project in Lesotho, all of which are still in operation today and remain vital pieces of infrastructure. In an era when British consulting engineers dominated the world market for vast infrastructure projects, Gerrard advised on the feasibility and engineering design of what were hugely challenging schemes in remote areas where there were no established construction industries to build them. Hydroelectric dams were beneficial for developing countries because they combined provision of drinking water with power generation. Water would cascade down pipes up to 30 metres in diameter at high speed and this would power the turbines to generate electricity. Thousands of tonnes of concrete were needed to hold back the water.
Ronald Tilbrook Gerrard was born in Southampton in 1918 and attended Dartford Grammar School. He studied civil engineering at Imperial College and graduated in 1937. After two years designing sea defences along the South Coast, he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers and joined the Madras Sappers & Miners at Bangalore. He was soon promoted to lieutenant in charge of No 1 Bridging Section. He spent 18 months in Iraq as part of the force preparing to repulse a German push towards the oilfields of Persia and returned to India in 1942 for service in Assam and Burma. He was promoted to captain and then, in 1944, major in charge of 422 Field Company, which built forward landing strips, roads and bridges around Imphal and Kohima. This infrastructure supported the advance and eventual victory of the 14th Army under General Slim, whom Gerrard greatly admired. He left the Army in August 1945 and joined Sir Robert McAlpine & Sons to work on the expansion of RAF Northolt, which temporarily became London's civilian airport during the construction of Heathrow.
In 1948 he joined Sir William Halcrow & Partners and worked for four years on the design and construction of hydroelectric schemes, mostly in Scotland. In 1951, he joined the Montreal Engineering Company in Canada. He returned to Britain three years later to join the civil engineering consultancy that became Binnie & Partners, where he would remain for the rest of his career. For his work on the 3.1km-long Mangla dam in Pakistan he was awarded the Telford Silver Medal by the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was a council member of the ICE, 1974 - 77, and chairman of the MAFF Flood Protection Committee 1979 - 82 - he was renowned as an excellent chair who could untangle different views and persuade those assembled to reach a solution. He was also chairman of the Association of Consulting Engineers, 1969 - 70, representing the considerable interests of British engineering consultants overseas. He was elected a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1975 and a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 1979. He loved the outdoors and after his retirement in 1983 pursued his lifelong interest in watercolour painting. He is survived by his wife, Cecilia and three sons. A daughter died in 2005.
Provided by Premala Sivaprakasapillai (Management Science 1989) 21 January 2007
He joined Imperial College as a Ceylon Government Scholar and won the Henrici Medal for Mathematics. He was the first Ceylonese Engineer at the Colombo Port Commission, retired as Chief Assistant Harbour Engineer in 1950, joined the University of Ceylon and retired as Associate Professor in 1975. He was President, Institution of Engineers, Sri Lanka, and Member of the Industrial Court and the Wages Board.
Two of his three children and one of his grandsons also studied at Imperial College; Brahman Sivaprakasappillai (PhD Aeronautics 1963), Premala Sivaprakasapillai (Management Science 1989), and Manuimaaran Sivasegaram (MEng Chemical Engineering 1992, PhD 1996). His third son studied at University College London and received a PhD in Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He is survived by his wife and three children.
Wilfred L Hewlett (Chemistry 1933)
Provided by Anthony Hewlett May 2010
Born in South East London, Wilfrid Hewlett was educated at the Roan School Greenwich and was a scholar at Imperial College taking a first class honours degree in chemistry in 1933. His early career was in research and technical sales including a two year period in India. In 1938 he joined the Non Ferrous Metals Research Association as a technical officer selling its research services. At the start of the war he was seconded to the Ministry of Supply's nonferrous metals control organisation, managing the allocation of brass to industry.
After the war he moved to the Iron and Steel Board, set up to manage and nationalise the UK iron and steel industry. During this period he sat on UK government committees monitoring the negotiations to form the European Steel and Coal Community which later gave birth to the EEC and also found time to take an external B. Com. at LSE. The attitude of the UK government certainly went against his inclinations which were towards closer UK economic involvement in Europe. Throughout the 1950s he was involved in the strategic market management of the UK iron and Steel industry after its denationalisation as Head of Market Division serving on international bodies including continuing liaison with the ECSC. In 1962 when the UK applied to join the EEC he moved to Richard Thomas & Baldwins Ltd to manage their response to Europe and, when President de Gaulle spoke his emphatic "non", he took on a senior role in sales and marketing developing strong relationships with the company's agents in Spain Australia and USA and visiting China in 1963 as part of a delegation selling tinplate.
On the re-nationalisation of the UK steel industry he moved to the Steel Corporation (later British Steel) as Head of Marketing Services and then into a strategic marketing role in the office of the Board member for commercial policy. One of the assignments he undertook in 1973-74 was advising the Peruvian steel industry on its market strategy. During this time he became closely involved with the UK participation in the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and on reaching retirement took up a position in 1977 as a special technical advisor with the organisation in Vienna. On final retirement he continued to be closely involved in local politics, the Britain in Europe organisation in Richmond upon Thames and local music societies. He served a term as Secretary of the RCS Association and kept in close touch with both Imperial College and LSE. He travelled widely in Europe and the Middle East developing an interest in the culture of that region and reading the Koran in translation as well as the whole of the Old and New Testaments.
In his last years he moved from Sheen to Amersham to be near his grandchildren and was particularly pleased that his grandson has chosen to study chemistry for his first degree commenting that that talent had obviously "skipped a generation"! His wife, Connie predeceased him in 1981 but he is survived by his children, Carol and Anthony and his grandchildren Cecily and Robert. He was the last of his four siblings to pass away, both his eldest brother and elder sister became centenarians and the five of them achieved a remarkable total of 466 years between them.