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British Industrial History

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John Douglas Bell

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John Douglas Bell (1896-1940)

1940 Obituary [1]

Lieut.-Colonel JOHN DOUGLAS BELL, M.C., R.A.O.C., served throughout the war of 1914-18 with the Royal Field Artillery, as a lieutenant. In 1919, however, he was able to begin his engineering training. He therefore commenced his technical education at Ayr Academy and Glasgow University, where he graduated B.Sc. in engineering in 1924.

He served his apprenticeship from 1919 to 1924 with Messrs. Andrew Barclay, Sons and Company, locomotive builders and general engineers, of Kilmarnock. From October 1924 to March 1927 he was draughtsman to Messrs. Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth and Company, Ltd., Newcastle upon Tyne. After a short period as draughtsman to the North British Locomotive Company in Glasgow, he went to India in December 1927 as supervising engineer to the trading section of the Assam Railways and Trading Company where his department was responsible for the installation of new plant and machinery, for the water supply systems, and for buildings, bridges, and private roads. He also managed the timber department for a time and was responsible for the layout of a modern sawmill; among his numerous achievements he built and equipped an electric power house, and carried out the conversion of a colliery from steam to electric power.

On his return to England in 1938 he became director of Messrs. Harry F. Platt and Company, Ltd., Victoria Street, London, engineers' agents. In 1939, on the outbreak of war, he was appointed to the rank of lieutenant-colonel commanding the 7th Army Field Workshop of the R.A.O.C. (T.A.).

On 1st July 1940 notification of his death on active service was published. Colonel Bell, who was born in 1896, was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1933, and was transferred to Membership in 1937.

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