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Charles Benjamin Le Mesurier

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Charles Benjamin Le Mesurier (1829-1877)

Younger brother of Henry Peveril Le Mesurier

1878 Obituary [1]

MR. CHARLES BENJAMIN LE MESURIER was the second son of Benjamin Le Mesurier, and grandson of Henry Le Mesurier, hereditary Governor of Alderney.

He was born in Guernsey on the 20th day of December, 1829; died of cholera, at Howrah, Calcutta, on the 30th day of November, 1877.

He served his apprenticeship in London, with Mr. Richard Boxall Grantham, M. Inst. C.E., and, on the completion of his articles in 1853, was for a short time on the Alderney Harbour works; he then became assistant to Messrs. Walker, Burgess and Cooper, under the late Mr. Garrett at the Commercial Docks, Rotherhithe, and when Mr. Garrett went to the Crimea in the Army Works Corps, Mr. Le Mesurier took charge and finished the works. After this he was employed in the office of Messrs. Walker, Burgess and Cooper, where he remained until the autumn of 1856, when he joined the staff of the East Indian Railway as an Assistant Engineer.

He landed in Calcutta in November of that year, and was at once appointed to the Agra district, where the works of construction were then commencing.

In May 1857, just before the outbreak of the mutiny, he went for a short time to Cawnpore, to visit his friends on the railway staff in the vicinity of that place. When it became necessary for the European residents to take refuge in the so-called entrenched camp at Cawnpore Mr. Le Mesurier, not wishing to overstay his leave, started for Agra in spite of the earnest entreaties of the large party of engineers with whom he had been spending his holiday. He succeeded in reaching his post after a difficult and dangerous journey; every one of the party of engineers, whose guest he had been, fell in the fight or subsequent massacre at Cawnpore - not one of them escaped.

Railway operations were for a time suspended, and during the troublous period which ensued Mr. Le Mesurier, together with the other railway engineers who were so fortunate as to reach Agra, assisted to garrison the fort, or took the field from time to time as volunteer cavalry. On one occasion a party of volunteers, of whom he was one, was cut off by the mutineers, and they were obliged to remain for several days in the fortified dwelling of a native landholder. They eventually succeeded in returning to Agra.

As the districts became more peaceable work was gradually resumed, and Mr. Le Mesurier was stationed at Toondla as Assistant to the District Engineer, Mr. Hamilton Lee Smith, M. Inst. C.E. From that time to the day of his death he was engaged continuously upon the East Indian Railway, with but very short intervals of leave of absence for a few weeks at a time.

As Resident and District Engineer he has held charge, at one time or other, of almost every division of that railway. He was stationed for a long time at Mirzapore, then at Allahabad, subsequently he had charge of what is known as the Chord line, and his last move was to Howrah.

During his professional career Mr. Le Mesurier was always an exceedingly active and energetic Engineer, intimately acquainted with every detail of work, prompt to act, and fertile in resource. He was always a good organiser and a capital master of men, from whom he secured good and willing service. His warm-hearted goodness made him thoroughly loved and esteemed by all who knew him. His open-hearted generosity to those in trouble was known throughout the length and breadth of India, where Ben Le Mesurier will long be remembered as a thorough good specimen of an Engineer, a sportsman, an Englishman, and a friend. He was buried at Hourak. The E.I.R. volunteers, in which corps he held, for many years a captain’s commission, attended the funeral and furnished a firing party.

In reporting his death to the East India Railway Board, Mr. Bradford Leslie wrote:-

"By his sudden death the company have lost the services of an Engineer who has served them well, and with unremitting zeal, during a period of over twenty-one years. His death will be regretted by the whole of the company’s staff and the Government officials connected with the railway."

Mr. Le Mesurier was elected a Member of the Institution on the 7th of December, 1875.

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