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Robert Whitehead Hammond

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Lieut-Col. Robert Whitehead Hammond (1876-1917)

1903 Robert Hammond went into partnership with son Robert Whitehead Hammond, also giving an interest to Mr John May and Mr G. W. Spencer Hawes who had been his chief assistants for many years. His business was known from then on as Richard Hammond and Son.[1]

1918 Obituary [2]

LIEUTENANT-COLONEL ROBERT WHITEHEAD HAMMOND was the only son of the late Robert Hammond who was for many years Treasurer of the Institution.

He was born at Middlesbrough-on-Tees, in Yorkshire, in 1876, and was educated at Eton.

From school he went in 1893 to Messrs. Fowler's steam plough works, at Leeds, where he worked in the shops and in the drawing office for 3 years. "Bob" Hammond had a happy way of adapting himself to circumstances, and was very popular with the workmen.

He entered Faraday House in January 1897, and took Honours in the final examinations. From Faraday House he went to Messrs. Siemens' works at Woolwich, and from there into his father's office.

Shortly after the battle of Colenso he enlisted in the Montgomeryshire Yeomanry. After a few months in South Africa he fell ill, like many others, with enteric fever at Bloemfontein, and was invalided home.

In 1902 he was taken into partnership by his father, and was elected a Governor of Faraday House. In this year he married Madeline Beatrice, daughter of George Kent, of Highgate, a well-known lady golf-player, and devoted most of his spare time to golf. He was a scratch player with a marvellously long, straight drive, and was a member of the Deal, Machrihanish, Ashdown Forest, and Limpsfield Golf Clubs. He was also Treasurer of the Engineering Golfing Society and won many trophies.

Very shortly after the outbreak of the present war he enlisted in the University and Public School Brigade and, on the strength of his South African experience, was given command of a company.

In the autumn of 1915 he went with his brigade to the Front. He was invalided home early in 1916, but after an operation he was well enough to resume duty and was attached to a training reserve battalion at Edinburgh.

In the spring of 1917 he was at Aldershot and returned to the Front in July. He greatly distinguished himself in action on September 20th.

By temperament, he was absolutely fearless. The general commanding the division wrote to him as follows:— "I wish to place on record my appreciation of your courage on 20th September, 1917, when you rallied wavering troops of another unit, and made the position secure. Later, you went forward under heavy shell and machine-gun fire, and warned men in detached positions of an impending counter-attack, organizing the various parties for defence utterly regardless of personal danger."

On September 23rd he was made a Lieut.-Colonel and given the command of a battalion of the Royal Fusiliers. He was mortally wounded when at mess on September 28th by a chance bomb dropped from an aeroplane, and died on September 30th in a casualty clearing station. He never saw his general's letter, or knew that he had been awarded the Military Cross. He did a great deal of technical work for his father and rendered him valuable assistance in the many light railway and tramway Bills, arbitration and rating cases, in which the latter was retained as an expert. He was also responsible for the design of the electricity works and refuse destructor erected for the Rhondda Urban District Council. He took a keen interest in everything connected with the training of engineers and, until the outbreak of war, attended regularly all the Governors' meetings at Faraday House. He was a member of the Nomenclature Sub-Committee of the British Electrotechnical Committee and took the greatest interest in several mechanical engineering problems.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1898, an Associate Member in 1902, and a Member in 1907. He will be sadly missed by a very wide circle of friends. "Qui ante diem periit, sed miles, sed pro patria."

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