Herbert Chatley (c1886-1955)
Consulting Engr. (River and Soil Problems), 17 Victoria Street, S.W.1.
- 2nd Class "Brilliant Jade" (Conservancy Division) Order, Chinese Government.
- Late Engineer-in-Chief, Whangpoo Conservancy Board (Shanghai Harbour and Yangtse Mouth).
- Formerly District Engineer, Nanking Hunan Railway, China, and Professor of Civil Engineering, Tang Shan University, North China.
Author of "Studies in Molecular Force," "Problem of Flight", and several other books and about two hundred technical papers and articles.
1955 Obituary 
WE regret to record the death of Herbert Whatley, D.Sc., M.I.C.E., which occurred on January 17th. Mr. Chatley was sixty-nine years of age, and was well known as an authority on dredging and dredging plant, of which he had had long practical experience; he was the author of many publications on that topic, but his interests were wide and he also wrote on the theory of flight and on rocket propulsion.
Herbert Chatley was born on May 17, 1885, and educated at Cambridge House Grammar School, North London, and the Northern Polytechnic of London University; he received an external B.Sc. degree in 1906. His early experience included a pupilage under Mr. Arthur Tighe, a post under the borough engineer of Fulham, and a post as Lecturer in Civil Engineering at the Municipal College, Portsmouth.
In 1909 he became Professor of Civil Engineering of the Chinese Government Engineering College at Longshan, in Northern China, thus commencing an association with the country where he was to spend a large part of his professional career. Whilst in the professorial chair at Tongshan, he was awarded a D.Sc. degree at the University of London, in 1914, for research on rolling friction and convex contact.
Chatley returned to practical engineering in 1915, when he started work as an engineering assistant on the Nanking-Hunan railway.
In 1916, he joined the engineering staff of the Whangpoo (or Huangpu) Conservancy Board, a body responsible for maintaining the Whangpoo River at the port of Shanghai, and the mouth of the Yangtze River, and remained with them for many years, rising to the position of chief engineer of the Board, until, before the war, he returned to London and carried out consulting work. It was during the long period of his service with the Whangpoo Conservancy Board (for which he was decorated by the Chinese Government) that Mr. Chatley became an authority on dredging, for a considerable amount of dredging - valued at £100,000 and involving 3,000,000 cubic yards annually in 1928 - was carried out under his direction.
His work included the supervision of the construction of locally built dredging plant and his experience with this class of work resulted in a number of papers such as one entitled "Silt," published in the Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers of 1920-21 (page 400), which relates to the Huangpu and Yangtze regimes at Shanghai, and with silt surveys. The result of other work in this area was embodied in several Institution papers relating to the design and construction of dredging plant, the proportions of the dredged materials, the theoretical problems involved, and the hydrology of the Yangtze River. His most recent paper, "Dredging Machinery," was published in the Journal of the Institution of Civil Engineers of April 1945, but his Vernon Harcourt Lecture, delivered in 1951 and entitled "Regime and Rhythm in Waterways," has not been published. He was a prolific author, his writings including various papers to the Engineering Society of China.
Herbert Chatley was elected to associate membership of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1920, and became a full member in 1928 ; he was also a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers of Ireland, an associate fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, and an associate of the Institute of Physics. He was an active member of the Junior Institution of Engineers, of which he was chairman in 1939-40.
1955 Obituary