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Wilfred Birks Cleeves

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Wilfred Birks Cleeves (1877-1943)

1945 Obituary [1]

WILFRED BIRKS CLEEVES, who died in South Africa on the 31st December, 1943, was born on the 23rd February, 1877. He received his early education at Rotherham Grammar School and the Athenee Royal, Ghent, and his engineering education at Firth College, Sheffield Technical School and Manchester Technical School. From 1896 to 1901 he was with P. R. Jackson and Co., Salford, first as a pupil and later as an assistant to the Electrical Engineer. In February 1901 he arrived in South Africa as a sergeant in the Royal Engineer Volunteers, and, on the termination of the war, he joined the Transvaal Public Works Dept. as Assistant Electrical and Mechanical Engineer. When the Union of South Africa was inaugurated he was promoted to Assistant Chief Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, and in 1930 he became Chief Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, from which position he retired in 1932. His long career with the Public Works Department, first of the Transvaal and later of the Union, coincided with rapid and extensive growth of the activities of this Department. Originally the work consisted of relatively small installations in police stations, schools and similar buildings, but with the formation of the Union the scope expanded and he was responsible for many large and important installations. After his retirement he advised the Southern Rhodesian Government on engineering schemes, mainly in connection with hospital installations.

He was well known in the electrical circles of the Union, and although he suffered ill-health in his later years, he maintained his interest in the profession and the contact with his colleagues which had developed during a period of over 40 years. He is survived by his widow and two daughters.

He joined The Institution as a Student in 1897, and was elected an Associate in 1900 and a Member in 1931.

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