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British Industrial History

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Henry Cecil Boys

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Henry Cecil Boys (1885-1935)

1935 Obituary [1]

Captain HENRY CECIL BOYS, O.B.E., was assistant superintendent of design at the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, and since 1920 had been in charge of the design of small arms, machine guns, and small-arms ammunition.

He was born at Clacton on Sea in 1885, and after being educated privately he received technical training under his father, a railway civil engineer.

From 1903 until 1912 he studied explosives and the manufacture of war material. During the War he acted as instructor in a school of gunnery, and in 1915 he became an assistant inspector at the Royal Arsenal. His appointment as assistant superintendent of design took place in 1917, and at first he was concerned with experimental work on fuses. He was a War Department representative on the British Standards Institution for some years. Latterly he developed new methods of manufacture for small arms and brought out specifications for the standardization of materials.

In 1927 he was awarded the O.B.E. in recognition of his work. He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1928.

He was the inventor of the Boys anti-tank rifle, on which he was working up to the time of his death, which occurred at Enfield on 24th November 1935.

1935/36 Obituary [2]

Henry Cecil Boys was born in 1885 and spent his early years in private study, including problems connected with war materials and with the design of internal combustion engines. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was appointed Capt.-Instructor at Shoeburyness, but had to relinquish the appointment in consequence of ill-health. In 1915 he was appointed as Assistant Inspector at Woolwich Arsenal.

In 1917 he was posted to the Technical Branch of the Inspection Department and was selected to succeed Dr. Rowell as Assistant Superintendent in Royal Laboratory on design and experimental work. Subsequent to the war he was Assistant Superintendent of Design at Woolwich Arsenal, and in this capacity was responsible for the re-design of service rifles, revolvers and other military appliances on an interchangeable basis. He was awarded the M.B.E. in 1918 and the O.B.E. in 1927.

He died in November, 1935, at the age of 50.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1928.

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