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British Industrial History

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Carl Hans Kuhne

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Carl Hans Kuhne (1891-1941)

1927 March 11th. Presented the paper entitled 'The Development of Mechanical Vehicles for General Load-carrying Duty in the Army' before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, attracted a large audience and produced a prolonged and interesting discussion. Captain Kuhne did not read his paper, but presented it in an informal manner, and illustrated it with a large number of lantern slides and with a highly interesting cinematographic film.[1]

1941 Obituary [2]

Lt.-Colonel CARL HANS KUHNE,D.S.O., 0.B.E., though of Danish descent, was born in Plymouth in 1891. He entered Plymouth College in 1905 and attended technical classes there until 1908, when he commenced a four years' indentured apprenticeship in the marine engine works of Messrs. R. and W. Hawthorn, Leslie and Company, of Newcastle upon Tyne. During this period he also studied at Rutherford College.

He then made a round voyage to Australia as junior engineer on board the Shire Line steamship Argyllshire, after which he returned to Messrs. Hawthorn, Leslie, as an assistant to the outside manager, and was engaged on the installation of machinery in warships then being constructed at Devonport. In October 1914 he' was granted a commission in the R.A.S.C., and by April 1915 he was serving in France with the temporary rank of captain, and later took command of the 18th Brigade, Royal Garrison Artillery. After four months he was promoted to the rank of major, with command of all the mechanical transport for the heavy artillery attached to the Fifth Corps, amounting to about 1,500 vehicles, and a personnel of 3,000.

For his services in France he was awarded the D.S.O. in 1917. He returned to London in 1919 as Deputy Assistant Director of Transport. In addition he became a member of the War Office Tractor Committee. He was awarded the O.B.E. in the same year. In January 1920 he relinquished his commission, and for a brief period he held the position of assistant sales manager for Messrs. Armstrong-Siddeley Motors of Coventry, later becoming manager of the firm's London depot for conducting final trials of cars for export. In the following year he rejoined the Regular Army and received a commission as Captain, R.A.S.C., but very shortly afterwards he was transferred to the R.A.O.C. as an ordnance mechanical engineer. He then became an instructor in the R.A.S.C. Mechanical Transport School, at Aldershot, but during 1925-6 was attached to the War Office as a Staff Captain, in connection with the development of mechanization.

In 1927 he was promoted to be Deputy Assistant Director of Mechanization, and held this position until 1931, having in the interval attained the brevet rank of lieutenant-colonel. After a four years' appointment with the China Command as Chief Ordnance Mechanical Engineer, with headquarters at Hong Kong, he returned to Aldershot, where he was confirmed in his rank as lieutenant-colonel and appointed Senior Ordnance Mechanical Engineer. His last appointment was that of Deputy Assistant Director of Transport, R.A.O.C., with the rank of full colonel on the General Staff.

Colonel Kuhne was well known at the Institution; he was elected an Associate Member in 1923 and served as one of the Associate Members on the Council during 1931-2. In 1939 he was transferred to Membership. He was the author of a paper on "The Development o; Mechanical Vehicles for General Load-Carrying Duty in the Army, with Special Reference to the W.D. type Rigid-Frame Six-Wheeled Lorry", which he presented for discussion in 1927. In addition he delivered several other papers on Army mechanical transport before other technical institutions. His death, as the result of a motor accident while on duty, occurred on 16th January 1941.

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