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British Industrial History

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Hugh Lewis Pirie

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Hugh Lewis Pirie (1888-1945)

1945 Obituary [1]

1946 Obituary [2]

"HUGH LEWIS PIRIE, whose death occurred on 19th September 1945, was the chief engineer of the Coal Utilization Joint Council.

During the 1939-45 war he took a prominent part in the organization of a national fuel advisory service, which was of great assistance to the Government's fuel efficiency campaign and to industry in general. He was born in Kingwilliamstown, South Africa, in 1888, but received his general education at the Academy and at the Grammar School, Aberdeen.

Later he attended classes at the Technical College. After serving his apprenticeship with Messrs. James Abernethy and Company, of Aberdeen, from 1905 to 1909, he joined Messrs. Wellman, Seaver and Head, in London, as a draughtsman.

In 1913 he left for Canada to become assistant to the mechanical superintendent of the Algoma Steel Co, and after holding this position for two years proceeded to Purdue University, U.S.A., where he took a special mechanical engineering course. Subsequently he joined the Illinois Steel Co, but returned to England in 1915 and saw much service with the Army in France, where he was in charge of ordnance workshops. He rose to the rank of major and was awarded the Military Cross. In 1919 he became engineer in charge of Messrs. Stein and Atkinson's purchase department in Westminster and later was made steelworks engineer. He then went to Nottingham as engineer in charge of construction for the Stanton Ironworks Company, Ltd. It was at this period that he initiated the movement from which the Institution of Fuel Economy Engineers originated. He was honorary secretary of this society and, on its merger later into the Institute of Fuel, Mr. Pirie became a joint honorary secretary and a Member of Council. After a period as chief engineer to Messrs. Caswell and Shearing, Ltd., structural engineers, he was appointed as chief combustion engineer and adviser to Amalgamated Anthracite Collieries, Ltd., and while holding this position rendered valuable services in the formation of a technical advisory department.

He was recalled to active service, with the rank of major, in 1939, and served in France with the British Expeditionary Force. In 1940 he was released from the Army because of ill-health and returned to the Coal Utilization Joint Council, which he had joined as chief engineer shortly before the outbreak of war. Subsequently he was seconded by the Council, with the complete technical department, to the Mines Department, which later became the Ministry of Fuel and Power.

Mr. Pirie was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1919, and was transferred to Membership in 1927. He was the author of a paper published in the PROCEEDINGS 111 1939 on "The Present Position in the Development of Producer Gas Propulsion for Road Transport in Great Britain and on the Continent".

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