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John Edward Tanner

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John Edward Tanner (1834-1906)

1907 Obituary [1]

JOHN EDWARD TANNER, C.M.G., born on the 20th January, 1834, was educated at Putney College, and obtained his practical training at the works of Messrs. Simpson and Company.

Subsequently he served a pupilage to Sir Charles Hutton Gregory, Past-President, who appointed him in 1853 an assistant to the late Mr. Thomas Olinthus Donaldson, then engaged in railway construction in the South of France.

In 1855 Mr. Tanner proceeded to the Crimea, and joined the Army Works Corps before Sebastopol as an Assistant-Superintendent.

Upon the termination of the war Mr. Tanner was appointed an Assistant Engineer on the Indian Guaranteed Railways in Sind and the Punjab, and arriving in India upon the eve of the outbreak of the Mutiny, he served with a body of European Volunteers until the danger was at an end. He was later appointed Engineer in charge of the Sutlej division of the Delhi Railway, including the Sutlej Bridge.

In 1871, at the request of the Colonial Office, he left India for Trinidad, to undertake the survey and construction of a railway between Port of Spain and Arima. On the completion of this work, Mr. Tanner was appointed Director of Public Works and General Superintendent of Railways in Trinidad, and in the former capacity, he initiated the general surrey of the island. In 1886 he became a member of the Legislative Council, and retained his seat until he left the colony in 1893.

For his services in Trinidad he received the decoration of C.M.G. in 1894. His arduous and prolonged service in tropical climates had, however, undermined his constitution, and, owing to the failure of his eyesight and general health, he passed his closing years in comparative retirement.

He died on the 6th December, 1906.

Mr. Tanner was twice married: first, in 1867, to Mary, daughter of the late Mr. John Lister, J.P., of the Grange, Saleby; and secondly, to Ellen Mary, daughter of the late Mr. John K. Garrod, of The Grove, Beccles.

He was elected a Member of The Institution on the 6th May, 1862.

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