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Joshua William Coddington

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Captain Joshua William Coddington, R.E., (1802-1853)

1855 Obituary [1]

CAPTAIN JOSHUA WILLIAM CODDINGTON, R.E., born at Glenmore, County of Meath, on the 5th of December, 1802, was the second son of Mr. Nicholas Coddington, of Oldbridge. near Drogheda, where the family had been long established.

After studying under Dr. Carpendale of Armagh, he entered the Royal Military College, at Woolwich, obtained his commission in the corps of Royal Engineers, on the 25th of April, 1826, and was employed for several years on the Ordnance Survey, in Ireland, whence he was removed to the Island of Bermuda, where he remained about seven years, having charge, during the latter part of that period, of the extensive works of defence for covering the dockyard at Ireland Island.

On returning to England in 1840 he served professionally at Woolwich and in Scotland, until he received the appointment, in 1844, of one of the Inspectors of Railways, under the Board of Trade, which post he held for three years. During that period he had been frequently solicited by railway companies to undertake the general management of their lines, and eventually he accepted the post of General Manager of the Caledonian Railway, tendered to him on very advantageous terms, and under a guarantee of tenure for ten years.

On entering upon the duties of that position he resigned his appointment under the Board of Trade, and retired from the army. For five years he devoted all his untiring energies to the service of the Company, with that zeal and intelligence for which he was remarkable, and yet with such conciliatory manner and kindness, as to render himself respected and beloved by all who were brought into contact with him.

At the expiration of that period he relinquished the charge, and was for some time chiefly engaged as arbitrator in litigated cases between railway companies ; at length he accepted temporarily the general direction of the Chester and Shrewsbury Railway, and whilst in the exercise of his functions, he was attacked in one of his thighs by excruciating pains, which were at first attributed to rheumatism, but on one occasion, having been exposed for some hours in a snowstorm, whilst superintending the replacing of a train, which had run off the line, between Chester and Liverpool, he was obliged, on reaching Chester, to have recourse to medical advice, when it was discovered that there existed a deep-seated disease of the bone, which eventually rendered necessary the amputation of the limb.

He only survived the operation for a few hours, and expired on the 1st of December, 1853, in his fifty-first year, scarcely less regretted by his amiable lady, (the daughter of Colonel Emmett,, R.E.,) and his immediate connexions, &an by the numerous friends his excellent qualities had acquired for him, and by whom his loss is deeply felt.

In every relation of life Captain Coddington was a truly estimable man, beloved and respected by all who knew him, as was testified by the respect and esteem entertained for him by all the Engineers with whom he came into contact, as Inspector of Railways, and by the affecting letter of condolence unanimously addressed to his widow, by the members of the establishment of the Caledonian Railway, who had served with and under him, - a document held sacred by her and highly prized by his relatives and connections.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1845, and served on the Council in 1847, frequently attended the meetings, and took part in the discussions, and was always ready to add to the collections of the archives, to afford information to the Members, and to contribute in any way to the advancement of the Society.

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