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British Industrial History

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William Thomas Calderwood

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Major William Thomas Calderwood O.B.E. (c1893-1942)

1942 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM THOMAS CALDERWOOD, O.B.E.,M.C., was managing director of Messrs. Thomas Hedley and Company, Ltd., soap manufacturers, of Newcastle upon. Tyne, in which capacity he was responsible for the employment of 2,500 workpeople. He received his technical education at West Ham Technical Institute and served his apprenticeship during college vacations with Messrs. Palmer and Company, of Stratford, from 1910 to 1913, subsequently taking his degree of B.Sc. (Eng.) at London University.

His first employment was with the Port of London Authority in the engineers' department, where he gained wide experience in constructional work, which extended over two years. From the beginning of 1915 until April 1919 he held a commission in the Royal Engineers and served with the B.E.F. in France and with the Army of Occupation in Germany, finally commanding the 63rd Field Company, R.E., 9th Division, with the rank of Major. For his distinguished services he was awarded the Military Cross and bar. Upon leaving the Army he became chief engineer to Messrs. Hedley and Company with whom he remained till his death at the age of forty-eight, which occurred on 24th November 1941. He was appointed general manager in 1922, and the following year he became managing director.

Mr. Calderwood was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1922, and rendered valuable services for many years in connection with the North Eastern Branch. He was keenly interested in local government affairs, and became a City Councillor for Newcastle upon Tyne in 1938. In November 1940 he became Deputy Lord Mayor, an office which he filled until November 1941. In addition he was a member of the Newcastle upon Tyne A.R.P. Emergency Committee, and was subsequently appointed commandant of the Newcastle Auxiliary Fire Service, and was largely responsible for its formation and organization, from its inception prior to the war until the nationalization of the Fire Service. For his services in these directions he was awarded the O.B.E. in the New Year honours list of 1941.

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