David Peacock FIET
Obituary provided by Peter M Munro CEng MIEE
David Peacock died in hospital near his home in Edinburgh on 8 November 2018. He was a man of conscience and strong social principle. Although he had been retired for several years, he continued to make use of his professional and personal skills for the benefit of others, almost until the day he died.
IET members may be aware of his efforts to improve general and domestic electrical safety through his extremely thoroughly researched campaigns, Fatally-Flawed and Plugsafe. Their aims are to have unregulated socket covers and non-conforming and counterfeit 13A plugs and adapters removed from sale and use in the UK.
A number of professional engineers, medical and childcare specialists quickly saw the merits of his argument. Recently, technical officers of the NHS Estates department came independently to the same conclusion and issued a directive calling for socket covers to be removed from all NHS premises and disposed of safely.
Although some official bodies have been slow to respond, David worked tirelessly to persuade them that they had a responsibility for enforcing the inherent safety of the British 13A plug and socket.
David’s passion for engineering began at a very early age under the guidance of his father, grandfather and a favourite uncle. Having studied at the local technical college in St Neots, he was appointed at age 17 to a position as Scientific Assistant at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, Harwell. He later moved to the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Bedford, where he found a passion for everything that flew. It was there that he met and married his first wife, Pam.
In 1968 they moved to Paignton in Devon when David was appointed as a Development Engineer with STC. While there, he was granted a patent for a novel method of tuning microwave filters used in radio altimeters for fighter aircraft.
In 1971 he again moved, this time to Dolby Laboratories in London as Test Manager. However, he found his principles at odds with the views of Roger Dolby and he left to become a sales engineer for Hewlett-Packard with whom he stayed for the rest of his working life. A temporary posting to Scotland in 1982 became permanent, so permanent that David embraced life there. Following a company re-organisation in 2001, David took early retirement and used the opportunity to increase his many activities.
By 1988, David was again single and in 1994 further consolidated his adopted Scottish identity by marrying Helen, a friend of several years. By 2009, one country was not enough to contain their zest for life and they "adopted" Florida for part of each year, quickly forming another wide circle of friends. With Helen, David was an active member of Christ Church, Morningside, and contributed to a team responsible for the maintenance of the church. He was also a prominent member of the Edinburgh-based James Clerk Maxwell Society, which is dedicated to gaining recognition for this eminent physicist.
This was not only a generous and enthusiastic life but one lived to the full, and in full flow when it ended. David is survived by his wife Helen, his daughter Caroline and stepson Joss.