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Edward Donald Malcolm

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Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm (1837-1930)

1930 Obituary [1]

COLONEL EDWARD DONALD MALCOLM, C.B., R.E., one of the two surviving original members of the Society of Telegraph Engineers, now the Institution of Electrical Engineers, died in March, 1930, in his 93rd year.

Born in 1837, he entered the Royal Academy, Woolwich, at the age of 14 and left to join the Royal Engineers in 1854.

Returning to England after a distinguished military career, during the course of which he served in the Crimean War and took part in the suppression of the Indian Mutiny, he was appointed Inspector of Submarine Mining Defences at the War Office.

He later took up the position of Officer Commanding the Royal Engineers on the staff in Scotland.

On leaving the Army he became Commissioner Engineer in regard to piers and harbours in the crofting districts of the Highlands, for several years administering the Highlands and Islands Act of 1891.

He was one of the three Commissioners appointed to rectify the boundaries of the counties and parishes in Scotland, a piece of work which owed much of its success to his tact, ingenuity, and intimate knowledge of local conditions.

1930 Obituary[2]


Colonel Edward Donald Malcolm of Poltalloch, who died on Thursday, March 20, at the age of 93, was the last survivor of the small committee who met in London, on May 17, 1871, and founded the Society of Telegraph Engineers. At the same meeting, 66 persons were elected as members. The present membership of its successor, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, is about 14,000.

Colonel Malcolm, who was born on November 13, 1837, had a distinguished military career, serving in Turkey from 1866 to the end of the Crimean War, as well as in the Indian Mutiny, where he took part in the relief of Lucknow. Subsequently, he saw service in the China War, in the course of which he was successful in obtaining a good steam coal from Japan (then a closed land) for the British Navy. After a period in Canada, where he was responsible for strengthening the fortifications of Quebec on the south side of the St. Lawrence, he became an instructor at the School of Military Engineering, Chatham, and specially devoted himself to the subject of submarine defence, in which electrical methods of signalling and control played a large part. This work brought him the appointment of Inspector of Submarine Defences at the War Office, where he developed an organisation, which was designed to enable all the important harbours to be defended by volunteers at a minimum of expense. Eor this work he was appointed a Companion of the Bath. After retiring from the active list, he continued his connection with this branch of military activities; as Honorary Colonel of the Clyde Submarine Mining Engineers, R.E. During the later part of his life, his time was fully occupied with his duties as a landowner and as a County Councillor of Argyllshire."

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