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Robert Garrett

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Robert Garrett (1823-1857)


1859 Obituary [1]

MR. ROBERT GARRETT was born on the 8th of June, 1823, at Cromac, near Belfast, and at the Academical Institution of the latter place he received his education.

In the year 1839 he became a pupil of Mr. Charles Lanyon, M. Inst. C.E., and during the years 1846 and 1847 he was engaged in the construction of the Belfast and Ballymena Railway.

In 1848 he was appointed Surveyor of the entire county of Donegal, which had not then been separated into two divisions: the duties of the post were performed in the most satisfactory manner, and when, in 1850, he resigned the appointment, the grand jury, on the 16th July, 1850, passed a very complimentary resolution, stating it was 'due to him to express their peat regret at the prospect of losing his valuable services in the county, and at the same time to bear testimony to the satisfactory and efficient manner in which he had carried out the various duties of his office, which was evident from the great improvement in the roads, bridges, &C., since they were placed under his charge,' &c.

On his arrival in London, in January, 1851, he was engaged, under Messrs. Walker and Burges, as Resident Engineer, upon several works in construction, such as the enlargement of the Pent, Dover Harbour, and the New Dock and River Entrance at the Commercial Docks, London, both of which were finished under his superintendence.

On the formation of the second division of the Army Works Corps, he was appointed to the command, and went to the Crimea in the year 1855, doing good service in conjunction with Mr. W. T. Doyne, M. Inst. C.E., the Superintendent-in-chief of the corps.

In the summer of 1856, when the war was over and the corps disbanded, he returned to England, and entered into partnership with Mr. Doyne, with the intention of practising professionally in London.

An offer being, however, made to him to undertake an investigation of the locality of the projected Oude Railway, between Cawnpore and Lucknow, he accepted the proposals of the Company, and started for India in January, 1857. His investigations had proceeded very satisfactorily, and he had reached Cawnpore, on his return from Lucknow, when the Indian mutiny prevented his further advance towards Calcutta, and he was requested by General Wheeler to join the other Civil Engineers, from the railway, in assisting Her Majesty’s troops in the defence of the city. This little band of courageous men, armed with rifles, was placed in the advanced guard in a position of great danger, and it is presumed that in the sanguinary struggle poor Garrett fell, but no precise details have been obtained. For upwards of a year his family and friends entertained hopes that he might have escaped, but at last intelligence was received that his name was included in a list of the fallen, which was lost in course of transmission to head-quarters.

Thus, at the early age of thirty-four, the profession was deprived of a most promising member, and his relatives and friends lost a man whose memory will ever be present with them. He possessed every qualification for endearing him to his own circle, and for making friends in the world, and his acquired knowledge was such, as would, with his energy and determination, have placed him in a high position in his profession.

He joined the Institution of Civil Engineers, as an Associate, in 1852, and was transferred to the class of Members in 1857 ; and independent of the melancholy uncertainty attached to his fate, few men who have died so early have left behind so many sorrowing friends as Robert Garrett


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