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William Thomson (1850-1905)

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William Thomson (1850-1905)

1906 Obituary [1]

WILLIAM THOMSON, born on the 23rd December, 1850, received his training under Mr. J. N. McCormick upon railway works at home, and commenced a career destined to be spent almost entirely in distant countries as an assistant engineer on the Honduras Interoceanic Railway in 1872.

After serving two years on these works and on the Madeira and Mamore Railway, he received an appointment in 1874 as an Assistant Engineer on the Cape Government Railways, being promoted to District Engineer in 1876, in which capacity he had charge of extensive surveys, and was engaged on the construction of the East London and Queenstown Branch Railway.

Leaving the Cape Government service in 1880, he next found employment on the Rio and Minas Railway in Brazil, where he was entrusted with the setting-out of the most difficult portion of the line over the Sierra de Mantiquera.

Subsequently, he acted for some years as Manager and Engineer of the Para Railway, and on that property changing hands, he came to England and entered the service of Messrs. S. Pearson and Son, by whom he was sent to Spain on the works of the Avila and Salamanca Railway.

In 1888 he became Chief Engineering Assistant on the construction of the Algeciras Railway, on the completion of which he undertook a journey of exploration in the south of Spain in search of mineral deposits, particularly petroleum.

Meeting with little success in this direction, Mr. Thomson eventually joined the staff of Messrs. Topham, Jones and Railton, who placed him in charge of extensive quarries in Spain for the supply of masonry to the Admiralty harbour-works at Gibraltar. He was employed in this capacity at the date of his death, which occurred on the 17th February, 1905.

There is no doubt that his lengthy service in many climes, some of them tropical and unhealthy, and the arduous nature of his duties, which were invariably carried out with conscientious energy and ability, undermined even his vigorous constitution, and eventually brought about his death at the comparatively early age of 54.

Mr. Thomson was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 7th December, 1880, and was transferred to the class of full Members on the 26th February, 1884.

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