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British Industrial History

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William Oscar Heyne

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General Biography

Born 8th November 1888 at Dresden [1]

1893 Came to England aged four

Educated initially in Manchester, then in Germany from 1907-1909

1901 Census shows a Willie Heyne aged 12, the son of Oscar (age 43) and Henriette (age 38) Heyne, a mechanical engineer, living at 5 Ossory Street, Moss Side; both were German subjects. Other siblings are Helene (age 10), Walter (age 8) and George (age 5) and all except youngest born in Germany. [2] [3] [4]

WWI Interned at the outbreak of WWI on the Isle of Man, but released on condition he found a job of "national importance".

Went to London and worked for a piano machinery company - Clutsam Action Co.

1916 Q1. William O. Heyne married Elizabeth M. Meyer at Paddington. [5] See note below

1917 Thomas Hurst Hodgson was impressed with Heyne's talents as a production engineer and salesman (presumably at the piano company) and the Plessey Co was formed to give scope to his talents.

1920 G.B. Patent GB149132. An improved spring-operated mechanical starter for internal combustion engines. William Oscar Heyne

1923 William O. Heyne, 76 Wymrng Mans, Maida Vale, W9 [6]

1924 William O. Heyne, 76 Wymrng Mans, Maida Vale, W9 [6]

1925 William O. Heyne 6 Rodborough Road, NW11 [6]

1925 Chairman of the Plessey Company Limited when it was voluntarily dissolved. [7]

1926 William O. Heyne 6 Rodborough Road, NW11 [6]

1927 William O. Heyne 6 Rodborough Road, NW11 [6]

1927 Naturalised on 15 December, 1927[8]

1928 William O. Heyne 6 Rodborough Road, NW11 [6]

1928 Heyne, Oskar Willy (known as William Oscar Heyne); No Nationality; Electrical Engineer and Works Manager; 6, Rodborough Road, Golders Green, Middlesex. [9]

1928 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1929 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1930 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1930 G.B. Patent GB330533. Improvements in or relating to fine-adjustment controls for variable condensers and like adjustable instruments of wireless apparatus. Plessey Co Ltd; William Oscar Heyne

1931 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1933 May. William Oscar Heyne (age 44 and born at Dresden, Engineer) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 53 and born at Sunderland, Housewife) of London. Southampton to New York on the Bremen [1]

1933 June. William Oscar Heyne (age 44, Director) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 53, Housewife) of 48 Wildwood Road, NW11. New York to Liverpool on the Franconia [1]

1933 U.S. Patent 1906857. Electrical condenser. Assignee(s): Plessey Co Ltd. Inventor(s): OSCAR HEYNE WILLIAM + 1

1934 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1935 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1935 March. William Heyne (age 46, Engineer) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 55) of 48 Wildwood Road, NW11. New York to Plymouth on the SS Washington [1]

1936 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1936 W. O. Heyne, 101 Manor Road, Bishopstone, Herne Bay [6]

1936 July. William Heyne (age 48, Director) of 48 Wildwood Road, NW11. New York to Southampton on the RMS Queen Mary [1]

1937 William O. Heyne, 48 Wildwood Road, NW11 [6]

1937 William O. Heyne, 15 Wendover Court, Finchley Road, NW3 [6]

1937 W. O. Heyne, 101 Manor Road, Bishopstone, Herne Bay [6]

1937 On ship from Southampton to New York with William are listed George (age 47) and Georgina (age 45) Heyne but not clear if they are travelling together. [1]

1938 William O. Heyne, Bishopstone, Winnington Road, N2 [6]

1938 W. O. Heyne, 101 Manor Road, Bishopstone, Herne Bay [6]

1938 December. William Heyne (age 50, Director) of Finnington Road, N2. New York to Southampton on the Queen Mary [1]

1939 William O. Heyne, Bishopstone, Winnington Road, N2 [6], company director of armament works, living with Elizabeth H. Heyne (b.1880), Reginald Shepherd (b.1906), manager of the purchase progress department, armament works, and Dora Schroeck (b.11/01/1913), domestic duties[10]

1939 W. O. Heyne, 101 Manor Road, Bishopstone, Herne Bay [6]

1940 William O. Heyne, Bishopstone, Winnington Road, N2 [6]

1942 W. O. Heyne, Mount Fidget, Fulmer [6]

1943 W. O. Heyne, Mount Fidget, Fulmer [6]

1944 W. O. Heyne, Bishopstone, Winnington Road, N2 [6]

1944 W. O. Heyne, Mount Fidget, Fulmer [6]

1946 W. O. Heyne, Mount Fidget, Fulmer [6]

1946 W. Heyne, 101 Manor Road, Bishopstone, Herne Bay [6]

1946 Heyne found the stress of wartime production increasingly tiring. He suffered from mild but persistent heart trouble. Infected with meningitis. After the death of Byron G. Clark in May 1946, felt he "couldn't go on without the American gentleman"[11]

1947 Resigned from board of Plessey. Had been joint-MD of the company since its incorporation. [12]

1948 W. O. Heyne, Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom [6]

1949 W. O. Heyne, Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom [6]

1949 April. William Heyne (age 60, Company Director) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 68, Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Durban to Southampton on the Pretoria Castle [1]

1950 April. William Heyne (age 61, Independant) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 70, Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Durban to Southampton on the Stirling Castle [1]

1951 W. O. Heyne, Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom [6]

1951 April. William Heyne (age 62, Director) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 71, Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Cape Town to Southampton on the Pretoria Castle [1]

1952 W. O. Heyne, Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom [6]

1952 May. William Heyne (age 63, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 72, Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Durban to Southampton on the Pretoria Castle [1]

1953 W. O. Heyne, Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom [6]

1953 May. William Heyne (age 65, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 72, Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Cape Town to Southampton on the Edinburgh Castle. Resident in South Africa. [1]

1953 U.S. Patent 2654238 Electrical stop motion for knitting machines. Inventors: Oscar, Heyne William. Publication Date:10/06/1953 Export Assignee: T. J. BROOKS AUTOS LTD

1954 W. O. Heyne, Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom [6]

1954 May. William Heyne (age 65, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 74, Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Durban to Southampton on the Pretoria Castle [1]

1954 Sep. William Heyne (age 65, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (age 64 (sic), Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. New York to Southampton on the RMS Queen Elizabeth [1]

1954 G.B. Patent GB718616 Improvements relating to draughtmen's instruments. William Oscar Heyne.

1955 W. O. Heyne, Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom [6]

1955 May. William Heyne (born 08/11/88, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (born 27/01/80, Housewife) of Ridgecourt, Woodcote Park, Epsom. Cape Town to Southampton on the Edinburgh Castle. Resident in South Africa. [1]

1955 May. William Heyne (born 08/11/88, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (born 27/01/80, Housewife) of Hyde Park Hotel, London. Cape Town to Southampton on the Edinburgh Castle. Resident in South Africa. [1]

1956 May. William Heyne (born 08/11/88, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (born 27/01/80, Housewife) of Circus Place, London. Durban to Southampton on the Pretoria Castle. South Africa is given as country of permanent residence and spending 3 weeks in UK. [1]

1957 May. William Oscar Heyne (born 08/11/88, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (born 27/01/80, Housewife) of Grosvenor Place, London. Durban to Southampton on the Edinburgh Castle. South Africa is given as country of permanent residence and spending 8 weeks in UK [1]

1958 May. William Heyne (born 08/11/88, Retired) and Elizabeth Heyne (born 27/01/88 (sic), Housewife) of London W1. Durban to Southampton on the Pretoria Castle. South Africa is given as country of permanent residence and spending 6 weeks in UK [1]

1960 May. William Heyne (born 08/11/88, Retired) and Dora Heyne (born 11/01/13, Housewife) of Gerrard’s Cross. Durban to Southampton on the Pendennis Castle. South Africa is given as country of permanent residence and spending 6 months in UK [1]

1961 W. O. Heyne, 33 Grosvenor Square, W1 [6]

1962 W. O. Heyne, 33 Grosvenor Square, W1 [6]

1963 W. O. Heyne, 33 Grosvenor Square, W1 [6]

1964 W. O. Heyne, 33 Grosvenor Square, W1 [6]

1966 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1968 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1969 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1971 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1972 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1973 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1975 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1976 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1978 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1980 William Oscar Hayne dies on the 20th April in Cape Town [13]

1981 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1983 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

1984 W. O. Heyne, 21 Courtenay Gate, Kingsway, Hove [6]

Notes on Elizabeth Heyne

  • From ship passenger lists in the 1950s her birth date is 27th January 1880 and born at Sunderland.
  • On one ship passenger list of 1935 she is shown as Elazabeth Hannah Heyne, so the 'M' from the marriage index looks to be a transcription error. On other lists she is just shown as Elizabeth Heyne [1]
  • At her marriage in 1916 she is aged 36 years so it is quite possible that the name Meyer given at that time is not her birth name but that of her possible first husband if she was a widow.


Notes on Dora Else Schroeck

  • 1913 Born on 11 January in Markersdorf, Germany
  • 1939 Domestic duties in the Heyne household
  • WWII Interred on the Isle of Man
  • 1951 Travelled under the name "Heyne" when returning from South Africa on her own (age 39, Housewife) of Seminary, Wonersch, Guildford. Durban to Southampton on the Pretoria Castle Last permanent address is South Africa and new one is England. [1]
  • Dora Elsa Heyne travelled with William in 1960 and, at her death, had the same address as he had previously used.
  • 2001 Dora Elsa Heyne born 11 Jan 1913 died Nov 2001 at Brighton, Sussex [14] Also registerd as died 18th November 2001 at Cape Town. [13]
  • 2002 Heyne, Dora Elsa. Id: 130111 1340 000. Last address: 21 Courtenay Gate, Hove, United Kingdom. + 18 November 2001. Widower. Estate No 13413/2001. [15]

Notes on the Heyne Trust

There is a Dora and William Oscar Heyne Charitable Trust in South Africa supporting:

  • Cape Town University in 2009 [16]
  • Cancer Association of South Africa 2007/08 [17] [18]
  • Help Kids Chaity 2005 [19]




See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 Ship’s passenger lists
  2. 1901 Census
  3. Note: Otto George Heyne was born 1896 in Chorlton. This indicates a 'casual' attitude to names in the 1901 census possibly caused by language issues. Hence Willie is probably the William Oscar (the Oscar after his father's name).
  4. BMD
  5. BMD
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 6.20 6.21 6.22 6.23 6.24 6.25 6.26 6.27 6.28 6.29 6.30 6.31 6.32 6.33 6.34 6.35 6.36 6.37 6.38 6.39 6.40 6.41 6.42 6.43 6.44 6.45 6.46 6.47 6.48 6.49 6.50 Phone Directory
  7. THE LONDON GAZETTE, 6 MARCH, 1925.
  8. THE LONDON GAZETTE, 6 JANUARY, 1928
  9. THE LONDON GAZETTE, 6 JANUARY, 1928.
  10. 1939 register
  11. Into the Sunrise - the history of Plessey by Berry Ritchie, 1989
  12. The Times, Tuesday, Jan 07, 1947
  13. 13.0 13.1 Master's Office in Cape Town: CDNI [1]
  14. BMD
  15. CAPE TIMES - 05/04/2002
  16. Cape Town University [2]
  17. CANSA [3]
  18. CANSA [4]
  19. Help Kids [5]