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Alexander Runcie Smith

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Alexander Runcie Smith (1875-1937\0

1937 Obituary [1]

ALEXANDER RUNCIE SMITH was partner in the Aberdeen firm of Pirie and Smith, consulting engineers and ship surveyors. He was born in Aberdeen in 1875, and he received his education at Gordon's College in that city. In 1891 he became an apprentice seaman on a sailing vessel and served for four years, after which he began his practical engineering training as an apprentice with Messrs. Hall, Russell and Company, engineers and shipbuilders, of Aberdeen.

Five years later he went to sea, holding positions of increasing responsibility in the Mercantile Marine, and eventually becoming first refrigerating engineer on vessels sailing to China, Japan, and Australia. In 1910 he was appointed assistant to Mr. James Laing, consulting engineer and ship surveyor, of Aberdeen. On Mr. Laing's death in 1917, Mr. Smith, with Mr. James Pirie, took over the business, which was afterwards conducted under the name of Pirie and Smith. Mr. Smith was responsible for specifications for the design, construction, and repair of a large number of vessels, and was also the patentee of an improved form of boiler.

Some of his most difficult and important tasks were the salvaging of the Danish steamship Samui, near Kirkwall, in 1915, and of the torpedoed Norwegian steamship Stalheim in Peterhead Bay in 1917. Mr. Smith later became surveyor to the Salvage Association, London, and acted in a similar capacity to the Sunderland Mutual Insurance Company, the Germanischer Lloyd, and several other associations. He was also superintendent engineer to several local shipowners. More recently he prepared the hull and machinery specifications and supervised the building of the Iceland trawler Margaret Clark, and of the steel collier Spray, of Aberdeen, and also the passenger and cargo steamship St. Clair for an Aberdeen ship-owning company; the latter vessel was completed shortly before his death, which occurred on 6th June 1937.

Mr. Smith was elected to Associate Membership of the Institution in 1918, and was transferred to Membership in 1921.

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