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William Johnston Thomson

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Sir William Johnston Thomson (1881-1949)

1950 Obituary [1]

"Sir WILLIAM J. THOMSON, whose death occurred on 18th September 1949 at the age of sixty-eight, will always be associated with the creation of the inter-urban 'bus system, and with the development, under his chairmanship, of the Scottish Motor Traction Group.

He was born in 1881 and belonged to a Caithness family, but served his apprenticeship with the firms of J. and T. Boyd, and Pollock, McNab and Highgate, Shettleston, Glasgow, and thereafter spent five years with the Arrol-Johnston motor organization.

In 1905 he went to Edinburgh to form the Scottish Motor Traction Company, Ltd., which was reorganized with L.M.S. and L.N.E. shareholdings in 1929, and eventually controlled most of the public-service passenger carrying industry in Scotland south of Inverness.

For many years Sir William was actively associated with the various organizations connected with the motor vehicle trade, and its allied interests, and in addition to being Vice-President of the Scottish Commercial Motor Users' Association, and a representative of the Standing Joint Committee of Mechanical Road Transport Associations, he was chairman of the Scottish National Vehicle Builders' Association and President of the East of Scotland Motor Trade Association, as well as being a Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

In addition, he was a member of the council of the Omnibus Owners' Association, and a member of council of the Institution of Automobile Engineers, and of the Institute of Transport, and a Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Trade.

In 1932 he was made Lord Provost of Edinburgh and served in that capacity until 1935. He received his knighthood in 1934.

Until the recent acquisition of the Scottish Motor Traction 'bus interests by the British Transport Commission, Sir William Thomson was Chairman of W. Alexander and Sons, Ltd., Central S.M.T. Company, Ltd., Lanarkshire Motor Traction Company, Ltd., Western S.M.T. Company, Ltd., Rothesay Tramways Company, Ltd., and Greenock Road Motor Services, Ltd.

He was formerly a Director of the United Automobile Services, Ltd., and of Gilmerton Colliery Company, Ltd., as well as President of the Scottish Amicable Building Society, Ltd."

R. F. Harvey, M.B.E., M.I.Mech.E.

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