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British Industrial History

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William Semple

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William Semple (c1891-1960)

1960 Obituary [1]

William Semple, who died on 30th August shortly before his 70th birthday, had been a prominent and popular member of the Institution of Automobile Engineers and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in the Midlands, for many years.

Born in Glasgow, he received his technical education at the Royal Technical College and in 1911 began service abroad with the Anglo-Persian Oil Co. Ltd, as Engineer and Superintendent of all transport.

He returned to Britain in 1931 when he was appointed Service Manager of Morris Commercial Cars Ltd, Birmingham, from which position he retired in 1956.

Mr Semple was elected an Associate Member of the I.A.E. in 1927 and Member in 1931 and was elected to the Birmingham Centre Committee in 1936, beginning a continuous span of service to the Centre which was to last for over 20 years. He was Chairman from 1937 to 1949. On his retirement from business, he maintained his intense interest in Institution affairs and served on the Midland Branch committee of which he was Chairman in 1957 and 58.

Much of his time was devoted to public and social service. The death of his only son in the Royal Air Force in 1942 was a severe blow to him but it increased his determination to assist the cause of youth. He was elected to the Birmingham City Council in 1945 as member for the Handsworth ward and held this seat at every election until his death. His gifts were recognized by his appointment as Chairman and member of several sub-committees of the Council. He was a Governor of the Birmingham College of Technology, Handsworth Technical College and Handsworth Grammar School.

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