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British Industrial History

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John Frederick Willans

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John Frederick Willans (1869-1924)

1869 Born in Wrexham, son of Fredric Willans

1924 Obituary [1]

JOHN FREDERICK WILLANS was born at Wrexham on 23rd March 1869.

He was trained under his father on the Great Central Railway, joining the Southern Mahratta Railway, India, as District Locomotive Superintendent in 1896, from there later on he transferred to the Bombay Baroda and Central Indian Railway, from which he retired in 1909.

During his residence in India he was very distressed at the number of deaths among the natives, caused through the careless habit of riding on the buffers during shunting operations, to reach the coupling gear more easily. He devoted much time and thought in designing a safety-coupling hook, which is in use at the present time, both in India and Australia.

Later he spent two or three years on the construction of a brake, which with a slight alteration is in use to-day in England.

In 1911 he joined the Government Colonial Service, going out to the Nigerian Railway, in the Northern Division.

After the amalgamation he was transferred to the south, and was Works Manager at the Ebute Metta Shops for eight years.

He was retiring this year, but unfortunately passed away in Port Harcourt of broncho-pneumonia, only six weeks before he was due to sail.

His death took place on 22nd January 1924, in his fifty-fifth year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1909.

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