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Robert James Merrell

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Robert James Merrell (1893-1944)

1944/45 Obituary [1]

Robert James Merrell was born in 1893 and received his engineering training at W. G. Cannon and Sons, Ltd., of Southwark. He held the position of Assistant Manager to the Company until he joined the Army in 1914.

He remained in the Regular Army after the war, rising to the rank of Colonel, and was connected with tank design and development from the early days.

He died in December, 1944, at the age of 51.

He was elected an Associate Member in 1923.

1946 Obituary [2]

Colonel ROBERT JAMES MERRELL. R.E.M.E., who died at the age of 51 on 21st October 1944, was intimately connected with the mechanization of the Army.

Born in London in 1893, he served his apprenticeship with Messrs. W. G. Cannon and Sons, a well-known London firm of engineers. At the outbreak of the first world war in 1914 he enlisted in the Royal Army Service Corps, Motor Transport Division, the only mechanized unit in the Army at the time. He soon rose to commissioned rank and became an engineer officer in the (then) Tank Corps. He was mentioned in dispatches for gallant and distinguished services in the field with that Corps, and soon after the conclusion of hostilities he was offered, and accepted, a regular commission in the Royal Engineers.

On account of various changes in the organization of the Army he was, during his service, transferred in turn to the Royal Tank Corps, the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, and finally to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers; but always he served in the capacity of a technical officer. In the course of his military career he held, among others, appointments on the Mechanical Warfare Establishment, the Design Department of the Mechanization Board, and the Staff of the Director of Mechanical Engineering at the War Office. At one time he was a Deputy Director of Mechanical Engineering with the rank of Brigadier, but was unfortunately obliged to relinquish that appointment on account of ill-health. He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1923, and was transferred to Membership in 1944, only a few months before his death.

A capable and energetic engineer, he was one of those whose life's work contributed a useful share in building up the enormously complex technical equipment that gives our Army of to-day its terrible power and efficiency.

E. B. Rowcroft, C.B., C.B.E., M.I.Mech.E.

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