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William Cruikshank

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William Cruikshank (1871-1941)

1941 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM CRUICKSHANK died on the 26th December, 1940, at Glasgow, where he had lived since his retirement on the 31st October, 1931, from service in the Post Office Engineering Department.

Born at Keith, Banffshire, in 1871, he began his Post Office career in that town, and was transferred to Aberdeen in 1889, where for a time he was employed as special wire telegraphist for the Aberdeen Journal. At the same time he studied technical subjects at Gordon's College, and gained distinction at an early stage by winning the City and Guilds Silver Medal in the Honours grade of Telephony.

He was selected for appointment to the Engineering Department in 1901, and the remaining 30 years of his successful official career - a period of great technical progress and discovery - were spent in that Department, where he was closely associated with most of the important developments in the design and improvement of telegraphs and telephones. Throughout most of that period he taught many hundreds of students, and lectured at the Northampton Polytechnic Institute, London.

In the war of 1914-18 he was chief signal instructor to the Eastern Command, and was subsequently in charge of the telephone exchange which he installed at Cologne for the headquarters of the Army of the Rhine.

In 1924 he organized and managed the important Post Office exhibit at the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley. His long term of service in the Research Department, where from 1928 he was assistant staff engineer in charge of the groups dealing with telephone transmission, telegraphs and cable research, was fruitful of many revolutionary developments in telephone and telegraph technique, and he rendered a valuable service to his profession by continuously instructing its members through the medium of articles and papers describing these developments.

He was awarded the Senior Bronze Medal of The Institution of Post Office Electrical Engineers for his paper on "Voice Frequency Telegraphs," and he predicted the widespread adoption of that system which is now so extensively used. He was a ready and talented writer of good English and possessed the gift of clear and concise expression of thought. These talents, combined with a capacity for conscientious work, contributed largely to the success of the Post Office Electrical Engineers' Journal, during his long period as managing editor.

During his years of retirement he found scope for his literary interests in editing the official publication ("Scotland") of the Scottish Development Council, but the advent of the war curtailed these activities. His many friends will remember the zest with which he participated in all these activities, and they will also recall his strong physique and honest character, his cheerful and friendly disposition, his ready and imaginative sympathy, and his kindly good humour. Many younger men now prominent in the telecommunications service owe him much for guidance and inspiration in their earlier years, and they, with friends in this and other countries, feel deep sorrow at his passing.

He joined The Institution as an Associate Member in 1910 and was elected a Member in 1922.

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