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Harold Hartley

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Brig-Gen Sir Harold Brewer Hartley (1878-1972)

1972 Obituary [1]

Brig-Gen Sir Harold Hartley, GCVO, CH, CBE, MA, FRS (Hon Fellow) died on Sept 10 at the age of 94. Born on 3 Sept 1878, he was educated at Dulwich College and went up to Balliol as a Brackenbury Scholar. At Oxford he was elected to a Fellowship at Balliol.

In 1914 Hartley joined the Army, and served until 1915 in the 7th Battalion, the Leicestershire Regiment, when he was appointed chemical adviser to the Third Army. In 1917 he became Assistant Director of Gas Services in France, and in 1918 Controller of the Chemical Warfare Department. He was awarded the MC and was three times mentioned in despatches. In 1919 he was created CBE.

In the decade following the war Hartley developed his work on the conductivity of electrolytes and in 1926 was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society. During these years his activities on Government committees, directorships and universities widened steadily.

In 1928 Hartley was knighted and in 1930 became Vice-President and Director of Scientific Research of the LMS Railway.

In 1932 he became Chairman of the Fuel Research Board of the DSIR, and later adviser to the Mines Department.

In 1934 he was appointed Chairman of Railway Air Services' Ltd. From 1935 onwards he was Chairman of the British national committee and the international executive council of the World Power Conference. His position as Chairman of Railway Air Services Ltd led to his appointment in 1945 to the board of BOAC. A year later he became BEA's first Chairman and in 1947 became Chairman of BOAC.

He was appointed first Chairman of the Electricity Supply Research Council when he left BOAC in 1949. He was Chairman the fourth World Power Conference in 1950 and 1951 and having been elected President of the World Power Conference at the London session, continued in office until 1956. Hartley left ESRC in 1951 when he was already 73 and accepted the Presidency of the Institution of Chemical Engineers for the year 1951-52 and again in 1954-55.

In 1957 he accepted the Presidency of the Society of Instrument Technology and backed with his authority the claim that control engineering should be recognised as a primary technology.

He delivered the Romanes lecture at Oxford in 1964.

In his middle eighties he became very active as a consultant to CEGB. In 1966 he received the Kelvin Medal in recognition of his great services in furthering the fruitful union of science and technology and in 1967 was created CH for his services in scientific and public affairs.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Biography of Sir Harold Brewer Hartley, ODNB