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Richard William Lewis Gawn

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Dr. Richard William Lewis Gawn (c1894-1957)


1957 Obituary [1]

NAVAL architects in this country and indeed throughout the world will have learned with regret of the death of Dr. Richard William Lewis Gawn which occurred on Wednesday, July 10, at his home at Alverstoke, Gosport, Hampshire.

Dr. Gawn, who was in his sixty-fourth year, had been superintendent of the Admiralty Experimental works at Haslar since 1938; he was a specialist in hydro-dynamic phenomena and carried out much work on propellers and cavitation problems. His work is well known abroad and he has played a large part in the International Towing Tank Conferences, having attended the first conference in Berlin in 1937. He was chairman of the Cavitation Committee and also of the Hydrofoil Research Working Party, and in addition Dr. Gawn served on committees of the British Shipbuilding Research Association, of the National Physical Laboratory, and of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research.

In 1908 he became a shipwright apprentice in Portsmouth dockyard and spent three years at the Royal Naval College, Greenwich, before being appointed to the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors in 1916. Three years later he joined the staff at Haslar for a short time and then, after service at the Admiralty, returned in 1934 as senior assistant to continue his work on research.

Dr. Gawn presented a number of papers to the Institution of Naval Architects, of which he was a vice-president, and this year was a warded the William Froude Gold Medal in recognition of his work. The North East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders awarded him the M. C. James Gold Medal and also its own Gold Medal for papers read before that body, and in 1953 the University of Durham admitted him to the degree of Doctor of Science in recognition of his work. His work was also honoured by his being a warded the O.B.E. in 1947 and being appointed a Commander of the Order eight years later.


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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1957/07/19