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George Henry Willis

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George Henry Willis (1875-1901)

1941 Obituary [1]

Colonel Sir GEORGE HENRY WILLIS, C.I.E., M.V.O., was known to a great many members of the Institution through his work for the Southern Branch, of which he became chairman in 1938 after serving for several years on the Branch Committee. Moreover, he rendered a valuable service to the Institution when the Coat of Arms was in preparation by giving expert advice regarding the design, in connection with which he was able to draw on his command of heraldry. In India, where the greater part of his professional career was spent, he also acted as Honorary Corresponding Member of the Institution.

Sir George was born in London in 1875 and after completing his education at St. Paul's School he entered the Royal Academy, Woolwich. From 1895 to 1897 he studied at the School of Military Engineering, Chatham, and afterwards went to Plymouth Submarine Mining School. He then took charge of a torpedo station in the Isle of Wight and in 1900 went to Karachi to take command of a submarine mining and electric lighting station. In 1902 he was transferred to Simla, and was placed in charge of the electrical and mechanical section of the Director-General of Military Works. He was also responsible for the inspection of all electrical and mechanical plants belonging to military works throughout India.

In 1907 he devised the electric lighting scheme for illuminating the fort and the camps at the Ameer's Durbar at Agra. His long connection with the Indian Mint began in the same year, when he was appointed deputy master of H.M. Mints at Bombay and Calcutta. Two years later he became officiating master of the Calcutta Mint. During the war of 1914-18 he devised copper driving bands for some of the machines installed there; and, in addition to the C.I.E. which was conferred on him, he received special mention by the Government of India for his work. He carried out a considerable amount of experimental research in connection with various non-ferrous alloys, including those of nickel, copper, and zinc, as well as aluminium bronzes. In 1924 he was placed in sole charge of the Government Security Printing Press, India, and held this position until his return to England in 1934. He subsequently became a director of Messrs. Portals, Ltd., paper makers to the Bank of England.

During his retirement, Sir George lived at Sandhurst, Berks. His death occurred on 13th July 1940. He had been a Member of the Institution since 1911.

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