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William Thomas David

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Professor William Thomas David (1886-1948), Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering in the University of Leeds

1948 Obituary [1]

MANY of our readers will learn with deep regret of the death on Saturday, May 22nd, suddenly, in the Leeds General Infirmary, of Professor W. T. David at the comparatively early age of sixty-two. For many years he has been Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering in the University of Leeds.

William Thomas David was the son of the late Mr. S. David, of Laugharne, Carmarthenshire, and was born in 1886.

He was educated at St. David's School, and in 1902 he went up to the University College, Cardiff, to continue his technical training. In 1906 he gained the B.Sc. Electrical Engineering Degree (Wales).

After two years of practical training in the Salford Iron Works of Mather and Platt, Ltd., he went up to Cambridge to Trinity College, taking the M.A. and D.Sc. degrees, and later the D.Sc. (Wales). He spent some years on internal combustion engine research under the late Professor Bertram Hopkins (sic), of Cambridge.

After leaving Cambridge he joined the firm of Mather and Platt, Ltd., of Manchester, as assistant in the gas engine design department under the late Mr. Alan E. L. Chorlton, with whom he worked until 1912. His next position was with the Board of Education as Inspector of Technical Schools, which he held until after the outbreak of war in 1914.

In 1915 he was appointed Inspector of Gun Ammunition Filling Factories. He joined the Army with the rank of Major and was appointed to the Inspection and Research Staff.

From 1915 until l917 he was Director of Dilution of Munitions Labour at the Ministry of Munitions, and later had charge of the Dilution of Shipyard Labour at the Admiralty. He also assisted the late Sir Robert Horne in the Demobilisation Section of the War Cabinet.

In 1918 for a year he again served the Ministry of Education as an Inspector of Technical Schools (Engineering).

In 1920 he was made Professor of Engineering at Cardiff University, and two years later he accepted the appointment as Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering in the University of Leeds. Later he became Dean of the Faculty of Technology.

He was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and gave several papers which were published in the "Proceedings" of those Institutions. His work of the Cambridge period on the researches connected with gaseous explosions was published in the "Transactions" and "Proceedings" of the Royal Society.

He contributed some interesting articles to THE ENGINEER and other technical journals on engine testing and various aspects of the combustion process.

1949 Obituary [2]

"Professor WILLIAM THOMAS DAVID, M.A., Sc.D, whose sudden death in his sixty-third year occurred on 22nd May 1948, was for twenty-six years Professor of Civil and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds.

He received his academic training at University College, Cardiff, and at Cambridge, and his practical training at the works of Messrs. Mather and Platt, Salford. In 1912 he was appointed H.M. Inspector of Schools, on the technological side. During the war of 1914-18 he became inspector of gun ammunition with headquarters at Woolwich Arsenal and later director of dilution of labour at the Ministry of Munitions. In addition he was in charge of the dilution of labour at the shipyards on behalf of the Admiralty and subsequently acted as personal assistant to Sir Robert Home (later Lord Home) during demobilization. In 1920 he was elected to the chair of engineering at University College, Cardiff, and two years later was transferred to his final appointment at the University of Leeds, where during the sessions 1924-26 he was dean of the faculty of technology.

Professor David, who was an authority on the phenomenon of gaseous combustion and related problems of the internal combustion engine, was well known to members of the Institution, to which he presented, either singly or jointly, several papers. They included: "Missing Pressure in Gas Engines" and "Heat Loss in Gas Engines", both published in the PROCEEDINGS in 1924; "Fuel Economy in Petrol Engines" (in collaboration with Dr. A. S. Leah, A.M.I.Mech.E.) in 1940 and 1941; and "Abnormality of Flame Gases" in 1944. Professor David, who was awarded the Thomas Hawksley Gold Medal in 1937, was also a winner of the Dugald Clerk Prize and a recipient of the Starley Premium. He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1921 and was transferred to Membership in 1923. In addition he was a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers."

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