Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Frank Searle

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Frank Searle (c1874-1948)

1949 Obituary [1]

Colonel FRANK SEARLE, C.B.E., D.S.O., was associated with the motor industry during most of his professional career. He was educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's School, London, and the Schmidt College in Germany.

His apprenticeship was served with the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway from 1890 to 1896, in whose service he continued as an erector for a brief period. After gaining further experience as a fitter and later in charge of a depot for the South Eastern Railway, he joined the staff of the Gold Coast Government Railways as locomotive superintendent. On his return to England in 1903 he went into business on his own account as a consulting automobile engineer. Three years later he was appointed chief engineer to the London General Omnibus Co, in whose service he remained until 1911 when he joined the Daimler Motor Company, for whom he was engaged on the design of heavy vehicles.

During the war of 1914-18 he was attached to the Ministry of Munitions and was appointed head of the British War Mission to the United States in connection with the purchase of machine tools and other engineering products, the value of which ultimately amounted to 02,000,000. In 1916 he joined the Tank Corps and became head of the technical side. On demobilization in 1919 with the rank of colonel he took up an appointment as managing director of the Daimler Car Hire Service and after occupying this position for five years carried out similar duties for the air services' department of Imperial Airways. After a period of retirement he was managing director of the Rover Motor Car Company, Ltd., of Coventry, from 1928 to 1931. He was deputy chairman and managing director of British Power Boat Co., Ltd., Hythe, Hants, and Poole, Dorset, from 1941 to 1946. Colonel Searle, whose death in his seventy-fourth year occurred on 4th April 1948, was elected a Member of the Institution in 1910.

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