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British Industrial History

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Sydney Rupert Dight

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Sydney Rupert Dight (1885-1948)

1948 Obituary [1]

1949 Obituary [2]

"Eng. Rear-Admiral SYDNEY RUPERT DIGHT, C.B.E., whose death occurred on 1st January 1948, was largely responsible for the development of oil smoke protection of industrial targets from aerial attack during the 1939-45 war.

He was born in 1885 and educated at the Royal Naval Engineering College, Keyham, joining the Royal Navy as Engineer Sub-Lieutenant in 1905. After a two-year course at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, he served in HMS Britannia, and in the Admiralty Controller's Department. During the 1914-18 war he served in HMS Weymouth, at the Admiralty as Assistant Secretary to the Board of Invention and Research, and in the Engineer-in-Chief's Department. After promotion to Engineer Commander in 1920, he served for two years as Instructor in Marine Engineering at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, and as Engineer Officer in charge of machinery in the Rapid, Dragon, and Furious. For his special work in HMS Furious (1926-28), which included the development of methods of operation of aircraft carriers, improvements in aircraft lifts, and exhaust-smoke elimination, he was awarded the C.B.E. 1935.

He was appointed in charge at the Admiralty Fuel Experimental Station at Haslar in 1928, remaining there until he retired in April 1939. During this period the standard of oil-fuel burning in the Royal Navy made great advances, largely due to his efforts. He was also intimately connected with improvement in design of the boilers now in use in modern warships. For his paper on "Naval Water Tube Boilers, Experiments and Shock Trials" read before the Institution of Naval Architects, he was awarded their Gold Medal in 1933.

He was promoted to Engineer Captain in December 1929, and to Engineer Rear-Admiral in April 1936. He returned to duty and served during the 1939-45 war at the Admiralty in the Local Defence Division, and with the Petroleum Warfare Department, where his knowledge of oil-fuel burning was of great value.

Admiral Dight was elected a Member of the Institution in 1944. He was also a Member of the Council of the Institute of Marine Engineers, a Member of the Institution of Naval Architects, and a Whitworth Exhibitioner.

On his reversion to the Retired List in November 1945, he joined the Anglo-Iranian Oil Co to advise on oil-fuel burning, both in the Company's own installations and in those of other users of oil fuel."

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