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James Hepburn Rickie (1882-1950)
"JAMES HEPBURN RICKIE, M.Eng., was formerly chief engineer of the Burma Railways, with which he was closely identified during the whole of his professional career. He was educated at the Edinburgh Academy and the University of Liverpool, where he gained the William Rathbone Prize for engineering design and graduated B.Eng. in 1904. Some years later he was engaged on research work at the university and obtained his M.Eng. degree.
After serving his apprenticeship from 1900 to 1905 with Messrs. Fawcett, Preston and Company, Ltd., Liverpool, passing through the shops and drawing office, he went out to India and on the conclusion of a brief association with his father in a jute pressing company joined the staff of the Ways and Works Department of the Burma Railways in 1906 as an assistant engineer. In the following year he was posted to the Mandalay district and for some years was engaged on the maintenance and inspection of track and works generally.
He was promoted to be in charge of the Mandalay district in 1913 and later in the same year was appointed district engineer, works district, in charge of the Malogam—Dawbon extension, with responsibility to the chief engineer. The chief feature of this work was the construction of an important bridge, a description of which formed the subject of a paper submitted to the Institution of Civil Engineers. After being in charge of other districts he subsequently rose by successive stages to be deputy chief engineer, deputy agent, and finally chief engineer. Mr. Rickie, whose death in his sixty-eighth year occurred on 6th July 1950, was elected a Graduate of the Institution in 1904 and transferred to Associate Membership in 1908 and to Membership in 1921. He was also a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers."
James Hepburn Rickie, M.Eng., who died on the 6th July, 1950, was born on the 25th July, 1882. He received his early education at View Park School and the Academy, Edinburgh, and his engineering education at Liverpool University, of which he was one of the first graduates. In 1905, after completing an apprenticeship with Fawcett, Preston and Co., he went to Calcutta as an assistant to his father, who was agent for the Union Pressing Co. The following year he was appointed Assistant Civil Engineer to the Burma Railways Co., and he remained in the service of that Company until his retirement in 1937, being promoted to District Engineer in 1917, Deputy Chief Engineer in 1934 and Chief Engineer in 1935. One of his outstanding achievements was the construction of the Dawbon Bridge over the Pazundaung Creek, near Rangoon. This bridge consists of seven spans, three of which are 165 ft long, and the work was attended by great difficulty owing to the very strong tides which abound in the creek, amounting at times to the proportions of a small bore.
He was a most popular officer and will always be remembered for his helpfulness to young men during their early years in the railway service. He joined The Institution as a Student in 1907 and was elected an Associate in 1912 and a Companion in 1929.