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Frank Leslie Watson

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Major Frank Leslie Watson (1871-1951), General Manager of the Horsfall Destructor Co and later with Joshua Buckton and Co

19 Old Queen Street, London.

1871 November 15th. Born at Shirburn, Oxon.

Married to Charlotte Ethel Barber


1951 Obituary [1]

WE regret to record the death of Major F. L. Watson, which occurred at Lyndhurst, Hants, on January 26th, in his eightieth year. The greater part of his career as an engineer was spent in Leeds, first with the firm of Joshua Buckton and Co., Ltd., and subsequently as a consultant.

Frank Leslie Watson was born at Shirburn, Oxon, and was educated at Cheltenham Grammar School and in the Engineering Department of Leeds University, or the Yorkshire College, as it was known in his day.

He served an apprenticeship with the Hunslet Engine Company, Ltd., Leeds, and then for three years, from 1896 to 1899, he was an engineer and manager in that company's works.

In 1899 Watson became general Manager of the Horsfall Destructor Company, Ltd., in which appointment he was engaged until 1912 on the design and construction of plants for the disposal of town refuse.

Major Watson was then invited to join Joshua Buckton and Co., Ltd., machine tool and testing machine makers, of Leeds, and there he remained as secretary for two years, until he was mobilised for service in the first World War. But he was recalled from the Army in 1917 by the Ministry of Munitions to organise and equip the national gun repair factory at Leeds, and was later transferred to the Admiralty as Deputy-Director of Ammunition Production.

After the war Major Watson returned to Joshua Buckton and Co., Ltd., as managing director, and when the business was taken over in 1928 by Craven Brothers (Manchester),Ltd., he served for a time on the board of the latter company. He then carried on an agency, consulting and valuation business in Leeds for some years, until his retirement to Lyndhurst.

Major Watson was a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

He served three terms as chairman of the Yorkshire Branch of the "Mechanicals," in 1922, 1930 and 1931, and was also, for five years, president of the Leeds and District Engineering Employers' Association.



1952 Obituary [2]

"Major FRANK LESLIE WATSON, T.A. ret., M.C., T.D. who was born in 1871, was educated at Cheltenham Grammar School and the Yorkshire College (now the University of Leeds). In 1894, on the completion of a three-year apprenticeship with the Hunslet Engine Company, Ltd., Leeds, he was employed for a brief period as junior draughtsman to Messrs. C. W. James and G. Watson. He then became manager of the Loidis Engineering Syndicate Company, Ltd. (later merged with the Horsfall Destructor Co), in which capacity he was closely concerned with the design and construction of boiler furnaces for waste fuel. In 1899 he received the appointment of general manager of the Horsfall Destructor Company, Ltd., with responsibility for the design and erection of destructors and power plant in numerous cities both in Great Britain and abroad. He remained with that firm for ten years, and then worked at the Atlas Works, Pershore, Worcestershire, to which the Horsfall Destructor Co had moved in 1908, until 1912, when he took up an appointment as secretary to Joshua Buckton and Company, Ltd., Leeds. In the meantime he had joined the Territorial Army and was commissioned in the 8th Battalion of the Worcestershire Regiment, being promoted to captain in 1910.

On the outbreak of war in 1914 he was mobilized from the Reserve of Officers, and in due course was posted to the 7th Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment. He saw much active service, being mentioned in dispatches and awarded the Military Cross. On reaching the rank of major he was recalled to England, in 1917, and given the task of organizing the National Gun Factory at Leeds. Later in the same year he was made deputy director of Ammunition Production at the Admiralty, retaining this position until the end of the war. He then returned to Leeds as managing director of Joshua Buckton and Co, retiring from the Territorial Army in 1921. After severing his connection with Joshua Buckton and Co in 1935, Major Watson was for some time consulting engineer, with offices at the Post Office House, Leeds. He retired to Lyndhurst, Hants, giving up nearly all his work, in 1946. He was elected a Member of the Institution in 1905 and will be remembered for the valuable services he rendered as chairman of the Yorkshire Branch in 1922 and 1930, during which periods he was a Member of Council. He was the author of three papers which he presented to the Institution, the first of which, "Functions and Training of the Mechanical Engineer", was published in the PROCEEDINGS in 1922, followed by "Obsolescence and Organization" in 1931, and "Skill" in 1932. They were marked by a characteristic clarity of thought and expression. Major Watson was elected Chairman of the Yorkshire Branch Committee on its inception in 1921, and from 1923 to 1946 inclusive continued to serve with that Branch. In 1930 and 1931 he was again elected Chairman of the Branch when he was a Member of Council. He was also a Member of the Manufacture Group Committee (now the Industrial Administration and Engineering Production Group) from its inception in 1940 until 1946. In addition, he was a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Societe d'Ingenieurs de France. His death occurred at Lyndhurst on 26th January 1951."



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