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Arthur Trevor Dawson

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Commander Sir Arthur Trevor Dawson, 1st Baronet (1866–1931) of Vickers , known as Sir Trevor Dawson, was an English armaments manufacturer.

1866 May 1st. Dawson was born in Richmond upon Thames.

1879 He became a Royal Navy Cadet in 1879, became a Midshipman in 1881, and was commissioned in 1887.

In 1896 he left the Royal Navy to join the armaments firm Vickers, becoming a director in 1898 and managing director in 1906. He remained in this post until his death.

1931 May 19th. He died suddenly of heart failure at his home in Elstree, Hertfordshire. The Baronetcy passed to his son, Sir Hugh Trevor Dawson.


1931 Obituary [1]

Commander Sir ARTHUR TREVOR DAWSON, Bart., R.N., played a prominent part in the development of warship construction and marine and land armaments during the twenty years preceding the War. He was also a pioneer in the construction of airships and the inventor of many improvements in artillery, and he was closely associated with the development of chemical industries in Scandinavia.

He was born at Richmond, Surrey, in 1866, and joined the " Britannia " as a Royal Naval cadet in 1879. Two years later he went to sea as a midshipman on the " Northumberland " and served in other ships until 1889, when he returned to this country to qualify in gunnery. He was later selected for special duty as experimental officer at Woolwich Arsenal.

In 1896 he resigned from the Navy in order to take up the position of Superintendent of Ordnance to Messrs. Vickers, Sons and Maxim. Though still a young man, and despite the heavy responsibilities which the inauguration of large armament programmes laid upon him, he was within a year appointed a director of the company, and many of the improvements in artillery for which the firm were responsible were directly attributable to him.

In 1909 he was appointed managing director and in 1912 vice-chairman, and on the amalgamation of the Vickers and Armstrong-Whitworth concerns after the War became a director of the new firm.

During the War he was experimental officer of the Home Office Committee to investigate gas cylinders. He also served on the Committee on leading screws and on the Admiralty Oil Committee in 1914.

He was the author of several works on ordnance. Commander Dawson was knighted in 1909, was created a baronet in 1920, and was the holder of several foreign decorations.

He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1901, and was a Member of Council from 1914 to 1919. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.

He died suddenly at Elstree, Middlesex, on 19th May 1931.


1931 Obituary [2]

COMMANDER SIR ARTHUR TREVOR DAWSON, Bart., R.N., died suddenly from a heart seizure at his country home, Edgwarebury House, Elstree, on May 19, 1931, at the age of sixty-five.

Originally a gunnery expert in the Royal Navy, he became Experimental. Gunnery Officer at Woolwich Arsenal, and in February 1896 became Superintendent of Ordnance to Messrs. Vickers, Sons & Maxim, Ltd., as the firm was then known. He afterwards became Managing Director of Vickers, Ltd., and a Director of Vickers-Armstrong, Ltd., and was also Chairman or Director of several of their associated companies. The names of Vickers and Armstrong have always been very prominent wherever naval construction and armaments have been concerned, and it is largely due to the enterprise shown by these firms that the vessels comprising the British Navy, with their armament equipment, have placed the Royal Navy in the very first rank as regards design and efficiency. In all these matters Sir Trevor Dawson took a leading part.

Sir Trevor Dawson's services were in demand for many Government Committees, such as the Home Office Committee on Gas Cylinders, the War Office Committee on the Accounts of the Royal Ordnance Factories, and the Committee on the Investigation of Leading Screws. He also served on the Admiralty Committee on Oil Fuel. He was a Past President of the Junior Institution of Engineers, and was the first holder of that Institution's Gustave Canet Gold Medal. He travelled very widely, and received several foreign decorations, notably the Grand Cross of the Order of Naval Merit of Spain.

Sir Trevor was very much interested in metallurgy - both ferrous and non-ferrous. He was largely instrumental in acquiring the rights for the manufacture of Duralumin in Great Britain, and in order to develop the successful manufacture of this material, which was in great demand for the construction of airships and aircraft generally, took a leading part in the acquisition of the firm of James Booth & Co., Ltd., of Birmingham, of which he remained a Director until Vickers, Ltd., disposed of their financial interests in that Company a few years ago. He also did much to encourage the development of the high-strength brasses, of the manufacture of which his firm has made a speciality.

Sir Trevor Dawson was knighted in 1909, and received a baronetcy in 1920. He is survived by his wife, one son and two daughters. Sir Trevor was a member of many learned societies and institutes, and had a very distinguished career.

He was elected a member of the Institute of Metals on September 10, 1914. H. B. WEEKS.


1931 Obituary[3]

"THE LATE SIR TREVOR DAWSON, BART.

Commander Sir Arthur Trevor Dawson, Bart., R.N., who died suddenly on Tuesday, May 19, at Elstree, Middlesex, had played a considerable part for a period of nearly twenty years preceding the war in the development of warship construction and the manufacture of both marine and land armament. He was himself the inventor of many improvements in artillery, the details of which were not disclosed, but the results of which were evident in the great increases in the power and in the rate of accuracy of fire, which were progressively obtained. He was, moreover, a pioneer in the construction of air ships in this country, and was closely identified with the development of the calcium carbide, cyanamide and other chemical industries in Scandinavia,, where it played a leading part in the harnessing of water resources to provide the necessary energy for those purposes. He may justly be said to have been a born engineer, since his formal technical training was slight.

Arthur Trevor Dawson was born at Richmond. Surrey, on May 1, 1866, and was educated at the Academy, Gosport, joining the Britannia as a Royal Naval cadet in 1879. Two years later he went to sea as a midshipman on the Northumberland and served in other ships in various parts of the world until 1889, when he returned to this country to join the Excellent, so that he might qualify in gunnery. On completing the two years’ course at that establishment he was appointed to the instructional staff and was afterwards selected for special duty as experimental officer at Woolwich Arsenal. Though there was every prospect of Dawson enjoying a most successful naval career, he resigned in 1896, when he was appointed Superintendent of Ordnance to Messrs. Vickers, Sons and Maxim, Limited. The change was made just at a time when large armament programmes, at home and abroad, were being inaugurated, and imder Dawson the Vickers firm soon took a leading position as constructors of artillery, though the promotion of so young and untried a man might not unnaturally have been deemed something of an experiment. Events soon showed, however, that it was amply justified, for within a year he was appointed a director of the Company and many of the improvements in artillery associated with the name of the firm were directly attributable to him. For the remainder of his life he retained his connection with the firm, being appointed managing director in 1909 and vice-chairman in 1912. When in post-war years the position of armaments led to the amalgamation of the well-known Vickers and Armstrong-Whitworth concerns he was one of those who received a seat on the board of Messrs. Vickers and Vickers-Armstrong, Limited.

Commander Dawson, who was knighted in 1909, was created a baronet in 1920 and was the holder of several foreign decorations. He was elected a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1908 and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1901, and served a term on the Council of the latter body. He was a past president and first Canet gold medallist of the Junior Institution of Engineers. He was also a member of the Royal United Service Institution and other professional bodies. During the war he was experimental officer of the Home Office Committee, which sat under the chairmanship of Professor Unwin to investigate gas cylinders. He also served on the Committee on leading screws and on the Admiralty Oil Committee, 1914. He was the author oi several works on ordnance."


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1931 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  2. 1931 Institute of Metals: Obituaries
  3. Engineering 1931/05/22