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Robert Swan Highet

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Sir Robert Swan Highet (1859-1934)

1859 March 20th. Born at Ayr the son of David Highet, a plumber and slater, and his wife Margaret Cochrane

1935 Obituary [1]

Sir ROBERT SWAN HIGHET, C.B.E., was born on the 20th March, 1859, at Ayr and died at Guildford on the 9th November, 1934.

He served a pupilage for 4 years with Mr. John Murdock, of Ayr, and in 1880 became assistant engineer to the late Mr. John Strain, a former Vice-President of The Institution, being employed on the design and construction of various works, including the building of 24 miles of the Callander and Oban Railway.

In 1883 he was appointed an assistant engineer on the East Indian Railway, and, after successive promotions to resident engineer and district engineer, became Chief Engineer in May, 1903, at the early age of 44 years.

Nine years later he was appointed Agent (General Manager) of the Railway. During the War, a heavy burden of responsibility rested upon him, particularly in connection with the control of coal traffic on behalf of the Government.

For his valuable services he was knighted in 1916, and received the C.B.E. in 1918.

Sir Robert Highet was a Commissioner of the Port of Calcutta for some years, and acted as President of the Indian Railway Conference Association in 1918.

Shortly after his return to England in 1920 he became Chairman of the East Indian Railway Company, as well as a director of H.E.H. the Nizam’s Guaranteed Railways in London, and in the latter capacity was of great assistance in the arrangements for the purchase of the Nizam’s State Railway by the Nizam’s Government. Subsequently he was appointed Chairman of the London Board of that railway.

Sir Robert was elected an Associate Member of The Institution on the 2nd December, 1884, and transferred to the class of Members on the 13th December, 1904. From 1913 to 1917 he was Member of Council resident in India.

He married in 1886 Violet Gibson, daughter of the late Charles Forgan, of Towerhill, Ayrshire, who survived him.

1934 Obituary [2]

One of the ablest administrators of Indian railways has passed away in the person of Sir Robert Highet, who died, at the age of seventy-five, on November 9th.

For fifty years he was identified with the East Indian Railway, of which system he became the chief engineer in 1903, and the agent - a position corresponding to general manager - in 1912, and soon after the war came to England and became the Chairman.

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