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Isaac Curran

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Lieut. Isaac Curran (1818-1867)


1869 Obituary [1]

LIEUTENANT ISAAC CURRAN, son of Private John Curran, of H.M. 69th Regiment of Foot, was born at Bangalore, in India, on the 5th of April, 1818.

After receiving an education in the Military Male Orphan Asylum in Madras, he was drafted into the Gun Carriage Manufactory in 1835, where he soon attained such proficiency, that in November 1842 he was raised to the rank of Sergeant Instructor of a school established for the education of the artificers. In this school he is said 'to have proved himself a useful auxiliary, encouraging all the artificers and pupils to read and improve their minds, and inducing men, who for years had never opened a book, to yield attention tu their studies.'

He was promoted to the rank of Conductor in April 1847, being recommended 'as a superior man in every respect : a scholar in mathematics, with a knowledge of the principles of construction of ordnance and laboratory work ; a plan draftsman equal to any officer or private in the Madras army,' and 'I fully qualified as an instructor.'

In a letter, dated 13th September, 1549, to the superintendent of the Gun Carriage Manufactory from the Secretary of the Council of Education, Calcutta, it is stated that 'Mr. Curran is a self-taught scholar, and a persevering, most intelligent practical officer, who has been mainly instrumental in bringing on the Institution' and that it was at his recommendation Mr. Curran was made a warrant-officer.

At an examination of the school in March 1849, at which Sir Henry Pottinger, Bart., the Governor, presided, his Excellency expressed his 'high gratification with everything he had seen and heard of the progress the artificers and pupils had made in their several studies,' adding, 'It is very creditable to them, and particularly so to you, Mr. Curran.'

He was made a permanent Conductor in July 1854. It may not be irrelevant to refer to the testimony of the Honourable D. Elliot, a Member of the Madras Council, who, in his report of the Public Works Commission in 1854, remarking on the high character of many of the East Indians in the service, spoke of the principal subordinate officer, with the rank of Conductor, in the Gun Carriage Manufactory, as a most able man.

For his 'meritorious services, and especially for the valuable assistance rendered by him as a voluntary teacher for many years in the school of the Gun Carriage Manufactory, and desiring to mark their approbation of the zeal and energy which have characterized Mr. Curran’s whole course, the Government were pleased, with the sanction of the Government of India, to confer on him the rank of Deputy Assistant Commissary on the 1st September, 1855.'

Mr. Curran was sent to England in the year 1856, to select the steam machinery required for the Gun Carriage Manufactory, and while in this country, was elected on the 1st of December, 1856, an Associate of the Institution.

The Governor in Council expressed his approbation at the satisfactory manner in which this duty was fulfilled, and Mr. Curran was raised to the rank of Lieutenant, in the year 1858, upon the warm recommendation of his superior officer, strongly supported by the Inspector General of Ordnance.

The setting up of this machinery, including the shafting, pulleys, &C., for working it, besides an out-turn of ordnance work equal to two hundred sets of light field-carriages, occupied till October 1859.

The manufacture of endless saws at a cost of annas 15-1, and a new mode of preparing rulers at a reduced cost, were originated by Lieutenant Curran at this time, and were fully recognized by his superiors. He continued to give valuable and efficient aid in conducting the duties of the manufactory down to the period of his decease, which occurred on the 4th of June, 1867, from softening of the brain, accelerated, it was believed, by the extreme anxiety aid solicitude he felt, about, his work.

From the above sketch, it will be obvious that Lieutenant Curran was no ordinary servant. Within eight years of his admission, by a diligent cultivation of his talents, he was found not only to have acquired a theoretical and practical knowledge of his work, but also to possess an amount of information on other subjects, sufficient, in the estimation of his superiors, to qualify him for the post of instructor to the school, to which he was accordingly appointed

and by his unwearied devotion he succeeded in raising it

to a position of respectability, which commanded the attention and support of the Government authorities, and brought himself into prominent notice. Eulogised both by the authorities and by his immediate superiors for his indefatigable zeal, energy, and special services, he was honoured with the unlimited confidence of the latter for his exemplary character, inflexible integrity, competent knowledge, and practical skill and tact ; and for his untiring devotion to the interests of Government, not only in watching over and correctly accounting for the stores, but also in economizing the expense and working up to the greatest advantage the costly materials intrusted to his care. He passed through every grade in the department with credit, and deservedly won his promotion to a lieutenancy, within twenty-three years of his admission, for meritorious services rendered to the Government during his entire career.


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