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Obituaries

19 March 2013
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Member News highlights the careers and achievements of recently deceased IET members.

Philip Langsdale

IET Fellow Philip Langsdale

An IET Fellow and widely respected chief information officer.

Colleagues across the IT industry and at the IET were saddened to hear of the death in December 2012 of Philip Langsdale FIET. He had supported the work of the IET in various ways and was a member of the Communications Sector Panel from 2002 to 2006. He was widely respected as an experienced chief information officer with significant expertise in delivering results in the public and private sector.
Philip gave the 2012 IET Appleton Lecture to a packed audience at IET London: Savoy Place in April 2012 on the highly topical theme: ‘Real Time Heathrow: Improving Heathrow’s Resilience’. At the time he was chief information officer of BAA, responsible for technology development and operations for Heathrow, Stansted and other airports, and in particular for delivering a transformational strategy for Heathrow which establishes the concept of the ‘Real Time Airport’.
Since that time he had taken up one of the largest challenges in public sector IT as chief information officer at the UK governments Department of Work and Pensions where he was closely involved with the overhaul of the universal credit programme. Permanent Secretary of the Department, Robert Devereux, said Philip had made “an extraordinary contribution” to the Department’s change programmes in the short time he had been there.
Before his move to BAA, Philip was managing partner of Langsdale Crook, a consultancy business providing advice at board level on the use of technology to deliver transformational business change, and before that chief executive of BBC Technology, reporting directly to the director general and responsible for the delivery of all Internet, broadcast and IT services; the management of the BBC's relationship with strategic distributors and for the direction of all BBC research activity in its research and development facility at Kingswood Warren. In this role he created and drove the BBC's strategy for the digital age, and led the introduction of Freeview.
Outside the world of IT Philip was also the owner and managing partner of Cornish Crabbers, a small boat-building business based in Rock, Cornwall. He was a member of the board of the UK Hydrographic Office from 2007 to 2011.
Philip held an MA in mathematics, first class, from King's College Cambridge, was a Sloan Fellow of London Business School and held an MSc in economics from University College London. He was a Policy Fellow of the Centre for Science and Policy at Cambridge University.

 

David Gower Jones

Communications engineer David Gower Jones MIET

A communications engineer with a 40-year career in Post Office telecoms

IET member David Gower Jones was born in 1918 in Streatham, London. After graduating from City & Guilds College London and a brief spell with Marconi Wireless Telegraph as a radio engineer, David joined the Post Office as assistant engineer on 1 September 1939. He was engaged by the PO Radio Group at Dollis Hill Research Station in the ‘design of circuits and apparatus for telephone, telegraph and radio plant’.
In 1941, he was commissioned into the Royal Signals, eventually spending much of the war at the Military College of Science in Bury as a lecturer in radio principles and equipment, reaching rank of Captain.
After the war and back in the PO at Castleton, he oversaw technical developments in relay circuits and aerial performance of the new London–Bristol-Cardiff FM Band Radio Relay system for telephony.
During 1958, David became responsible within PO HQ for planning and managing development of a new national microwave link network for telephony and television, a major technological leap forward from the then largely coaxial cable-based trunk networks. This included the microwave link equipment in the relay towers of which the Post Office Tower in London was the principal node; work he described in his papers in the PO Electrical Engineers Journal, the Institute of Physics Bulletin, and the Television Society Journal.
During this time his work also included chairing the UK’s national panel of the International Radio Consultative Committee Study Group IX responsible for developing International agreements on standards for international radio relay systems, often representing the UK at the International Telecommunication Union. His final ten years was spent as senior staff engineer overseeing Post Office technical and procurement development projects.
David retired in 1980, was widowed shortly after, but remained active. A keen and capable singer, he completed 53 years with the London Bach Choir at age 79. His interest in technology remained strong, following the world of science and technology through IET talks and visits, and through the media including New Scientist and IET magazines.
David died peacefully on 3 February 2013 leaving four children and six grandchildren.

 

Hubert Lodge Harrison

Hubert Lodge Harrison MIET

An electrical engineers and long-standing member of the IET.

Hubert Lodge Harrison, a member of the Institution for 65 years has died, aged 85.
Hubert (Bert to his work colleagues) attended Bolton School, leaving to join Ferranti as an apprentice electrical engineer in 1944. He joined the Instrument Department, which manufactured a wide variety of products ranging from viscometers through to clip-on anemometers. The department often acted as a test bed for new products developed by the company before they were transferred to other departments, and Hubert worked with products including the first electronic electricity meters, gaming machines and the Autocourt range of petrol pumps.
From his engineering start-point, Hubert was appointed to roles which included sales manager in the south of England before returning north to live in Cheshire. In 1974 a new Instrumentation Division was created incorporating the old Instrument Department, together with the Meter and Foundry Departments and here, Hubert rose to senior departmental manager before taking up a head office role supporting managing director, Derek Alun Jones. He retired from Ferranti in 1986, aged 59.
Always a keen sportsman, he played football for the school Old Boys’ team and was a keen fisherman and yachtsman, owning boats which were based in Nefyn and Pwllheli on the Lleyn peninsula where he eventually established his home in Llanbedrog.
Hubert was an enthusiastic, kind-hearted and loyal man who was loved and admired by the people he met.
He is survived by his second wife, Nina, six nieces and nephews and seven grand-nieces and nephews.

Kenneth Martin Ward

 A pragmatic engineer whose expertise in wireless communication proved invaluable during World War II

IET member Ken Ward believed that all problems are solvable. From an early age he had a particular interest in wireless communication. His expertise proved particularly valuable in World War II when he made a significant contribution to Britain’s clandestine communications capability.

In 1933, Ken went to Pembroke College, Cambridge, to study for the Mechanical Sciences Tripos. He read telecommunications (then called electric signalling) as an additional subject and, having previously enlisted in the Royal Corps of Signals, he was assigned to the Signals Research Section of the Cambridge University Officers’ Training Corps, designing field radio-telephone equipment and antenna systems for military communications; he eagerly took on the challenge of building a speech two-way radio which could not be intercepted.

After graduating, Ken began a two-year apprenticeship with the English Electric Company, which included having sole responsibility for designing, equipping and putting into production a factory to manufacture electrical aircraft instruments.

In 1939, he was called up and put in charge of training Morse operators for intercept work. He was soon transferred to the newly-formed Auxiliary Units Signals and given responsibility for development, manufacture, installation and maintenance of special VHF communication equipment for a radio network to be staffed by the men and women responsible for spying upon the enemy in the event of invasion. He next established a series of listening stations to follow the activities of the E Boats in the English Channel.

Ken’s expertise in wireless communication attracted attention and in January 1942 he transferred to the Special Operations Executive’s Interservices Research Bureau where he took charge of Production Control of all outside contracts and orders for the manufacture of Special Communication Equipment. One challenge was to make equipment light enough so that it could be easily and covertly carried into enemy-occupied territory.

After the war, Ken resumed his career as a production engineer, first with the English Electric Company, and subsequently with Multitone Electric Company. In 1951, he joined Industrial Administration Ltd and his consultancy career took off, enjoying the challenge of improving profit on investment in a variety of manufacturing plants.

From 1954 to 1964, Ken headed up EIGA, the Engineering Industries Group Apprenticeship Scheme, overseeing its growth to over 450 member firms and some 1000 training places. Under his leadership EIGA was nationally recognised as the most successful contribution to the country’s training problem.

Seeking to spend more time at home with his wife, Thea, in the mid-1960s Ken took up the position of chief engineer at the International Publishing Corporation, with responsibility for upgrading the Gravure Presses and associated services. In 1969 he set up his own consultancy specialising in the location, design, planning and establishment of new factories for companies needing to expand into new premises. He was responsible for the occupancy of some of Milton Keynes’ first factories.

Never one to stand still, he also became a director of Communications Equipment Consultants Ltd (installing maritime and port communication systems, search and rescue, and satellite communication systems) and established Lightning Elimination Associates to design, manufacture and market a range of products to protect computers and electronic equipment from the adverse effects of surges and lightning-induced effects.

Following his retirement at the age of 72, Ken and Thea toured Britain and Europe with their caravan. Ken is survived by his three daughters, Patricia (Trish), Gillian and Catherine (Kate) and his two grandchildren, Roger and Sophie Franklin, who miss his capacity to provide answers to all their practical problems!

Sir Donald McCallum

An IET Fellow and electrical engineer who became one of Scotland’s leading businessmen

Sir Donald McCallum spent 40 years at the Ferranti Scotland defence systems company, half of these as general manager, presiding over Scotland’s most important science and engineering company and its 8000 employees.

Born in Edinburgh in 1922, Sir Donald graduated from Edinburgh University in 1942 with a first-class BSc(Hons) in electrical engineering. As general manager of Ferranti Scotland, he aimed to expand the company’s range beyond defence and into the civilian field. One such success of this endeavour was in the oil industry, where Ferranti Offshore grew to become significant within the sector.

He served as the president of the Scottish Council for Development and Industry in the early 1990s, linking companies, local authorities, banks, and unions to push Scotland’s industrial and economic development. He also served as chairman of what was then called the Scottish Committee of the UK-wide Universities Funding Council, now the Scottish Funding Council, and of a body known as STEAC, the Scottish Tertiary Education Advisory Council, created by the Scottish Office. This role led to his knighthood in 1988.

Having joined the Admiralty during the war, he worked on communications for the Royal Navy aircraft carriers HMS Indefatigable and HMS Implacable, designing a high-frequency transmitter for their homing beacons.

Employed by Ferranti Scotland in 1947, his first project was to design a ‘supersonic airspeed indicator’, one of many aircraft innovations he would be involved with and whose influence was apparent in warplanes such as the Lightning, Buccaneer, Harrier and Tornado, as well as the flight trials of Concorde. In 1982, he oversaw the development of the Seaspray radar system for Skua missiles on board British Lynx helicopters.

He stepped down as general manager in 1985, remaining as chairman for a further two years before formally retiring in 1987. Sir Donald had honorary degrees from several universities and was a fellow of numerous bodies, including the IET, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Scottish Vocational Educational Council and Paisley College of Technology.

His only child Carolyn died in 2007 and he is survived by his third wife Jill, son-in-law Dr Stephen Green, grandchildren Andrew and Barnabas, great grandchildren Noah and Esther, and several step-children and step-grandchildren.

A full list of obituaries is also available.

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