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John Gillespie (d.1945)

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John Gillespie (c1865-1944)


1945 Obituary [1]

JOHN GILLESPIE. Mr. Gillespie's many friends in Glasgow, London, and elsewhere must have heard with the deepest regret of his sudden death on 27th May 1944, at the age of 79.

His first engineering appointment was in the Barrowfield Iron Works, Ltd., Glasgow, where his father, Mr. Andrew Gillespie, was manager. After some years spent in training and gaining experience, he became Assistant Works Manager. Later, about 1893, Mr. Andrew Gillespie left the Barrowfield Iron Works, Ltd., and began to practice as a consulting engineer in Glasgow. About the same time, Mr. John Gillespie received an appointment with the Whessoe Foundry Company, Ltd., Darlington, as chief draughtsman, and latterly became assistant works manager. He remained at Darlington for some years, returning to Glasgow as partner with his father, whose consulting business was then carried on as Andrew Gillespie and Son. The firm designed and supervised many important works, amongst them blast furnace recovery plants, gas works, ammonia recovery plants, benzol recovery plants, and many other contracts, in all of which Mr. John Gillespie took a leading part. Mr. Andrew Gillespie acted as consulting engineer to the Burmah Oil Company, Ltd., Glasgow, and, when the firm of A. Gillespie and Son was formed, Mr. John Gillespie took over these duties.

Many extensions and new installations were carried out, amongst them being the 300-mile pipe line for Burma from fields to refinery, a new refinery at Bogyok, Rangoon, and many tankage installations, etc. Until the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, Ltd., formed their own engineering department in London, Mr. Gillespie was connected with the engineering design and supervision of the original contracts such as the laying of the first oil-pipe-line in Persia, the first refinery in Persia, a large oil jetty, and many other engineering facilities. A new refinery was designed and built at Llandarcy from designs by Mr. Gillespie and the late Mr. Andrew Campbell.

In 1919, the firm of A. Gillespie and Son was closed down, and Mr. Gillespie entered the service of the Burmah Oil Company, Ltd., London, as chief engineer and, with some of his old staff, formed the Engineering Department there. The appreciation in which Mr. Gillespie was held was aptly demonstrated by the largely attended farewell dinner which took place in the North British Hotel prior to his departure for London. During Mr. Gillespie s period of office with the Burmah Oil Company in London, many extensions were carried out in that company's areas. The oilfields were fully electrified, and an almost completely new refinery was installed at Syriam, Rangoon, with the most modern plant known at that date. The Assam Oil Company was taken over, the refinery being entirely reconstructed, and the field fully modernized.

On Mr. Gillespie's retirement in 1928, Mr. Robert I. Watson, managing director of the Company, gave a dinner at the Mayfair Hotel to mark the occasion at which many of Mr. Gillespie's staff and colleagues from East and West were present. During his years of retirement, he kept in touch with engineering developments, and was connected with many social and public organizations. He had been a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers since 1911.


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