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Hugh Warren Lee

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Hugh Warren Lee (1877-1938)

1938 Obituary [1]

HUGH WARREN LEE, O.B.E., was for several years a special director of Messrs. Vickers-Armstrongs, Ltd., and technical adviser to the board of directors for naval armaments. He was born at Liverton Grange, Loftus, in the Cleveland district of Yorkshire, in 1877, and in 1892 he commenced a four years' apprenticeship with Messrs. Copley Turner and Company, marine and general engineers, of Middlesbrough. In addition he served for a further two years with Messrs. Scott, Mountain and Company, electrical and general engineers, of Newcastle upon Tyne, and was subsequently made foreman of the electrical and engine erecting shops.

He began his long connection with Sir W. G. Armstrong, Whitworth and Company, Ltd., in 1902, when he became a draughtsman at the Elswick works, and was employed principally on the design of field artillery carriages. Shortly after the commencement of the War, the possibility of utilizing naval guns of heavy calibre on mobile mountings, for the bombardment of enemy positions at long range, with facilities for rapid withdrawal, was closely studied by the War Office; eventually it was decided to mount some 9.2-inch naval guns on specially adapted rail trucks. These guns were sent to France and effectively used there. Mr. Lee was largely responsible for the development of this type of mounting; the calibre of the guns so employed was later increased, and finally 14-inch guns were used. His work was recognized by his appointment in 1917 as chief of the gun-mounting drawing office at Elswick; and for his services he was in 1919 awarded the O.B.E.

He was also responsible for all technical matters in connection with the making of torpedo tubes. In 1919 he was appointed technical manager, and took charge of the drawing office and experimental staff, numbering 460. Mr. Lee was appointed general manager of the Gun-Mounting Department, which was concerned with all classes of military and naval ordnance; he still retained control of the drawing office, until the amalgamation of the firm with Messrs. Vickers, Ltd., in 1928. He then became technical manager and a special director of the amalgamated firms, and took control of the ordnance drawing offices at Elswick and Barrow. A year later he was transferred to the firm's London office and appointed to the newly created post of technical adviser on naval ordnance and gun mountings, acting in this capacity until his death, which occurred on 16th April 1938. He was much respected in naval circles as a recognized expert on all matters relating to gun mountings for warships, being responsible for many of the improvements introduced from time to time. He designed the 16-inch triple gun mountings forming the main armament of H.M.S. Nelson and H.M.S. Rodney and the 8-inch twin mountings for the "County" class cruisers.

He was elected to Membership of the Institution in 1930.

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