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Harold Harris

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Harold Harris (1869-1944), Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy at the University of Birmingham

1944 Obituary [1]

Mr. Harold Harris, Consulting Engineer Metallurgist and for many years Senior Lecturer in Metallurgy at the University of Birmingham, who died on July 15, 1944, had a long and distinguished record of service to the profession of metallurgy, both in this country and abroad in West Africa, Australia, and India.

Born at Coleford, Glos., in 1869, the son of John Harris, a well-known mining engineer, he was educated at Bell's Grammar School, Coleford, Anderson College, Glasgow, and Mason College, Birmingham, under Professor Turner. He was elected a Fellow of the Chemical Society in 1893.

After leaving College, Mr. Harris held appointments in various parts of the world, as an Engineer Metallurgist first to the Essaman Gold Mines on the Gold Coast, then to the Rajdolia Copper Mining Company, to the Bengal Iron and Steel Company, and later to the Nobel Explosive Company in Australia.

During the war of 1914-18, he was Superintendent of the Birmingham Metal and Munitions Company.

It was while he was with the Nobel Explosives Company, in 1905, that the Chatham, having on board a cargo of iron, coke, and explosives, including no less than 90 tons of dynamite shipped for Japan, was sunk in the Suez Canal after having been in collision and on fire. The wreck was a source of danger and an obstruction to shipping, and Mr. Harris, who was sent from England to blow up the vessel, brought by special train from Aboukir 22 cases of blasting gelatine, which he used successfully to blow up the Chatham with its dangerous cargo. The force of the explosion raised a jet of water over 1,000 yards and made an immense hole in the bank, but the canal was thrown open to all traffic in less than ten days.

From 1918 until his retirement in 1935, and afterwards as a visiting lecturer, Mr. Harris was a very popular and well-known member of the Metallurgical Dept. Staff at Edgbaston, and he will be remembered with affection by a great number of old students.

Mr. Harris was elected to membership of the Institute of Metals in 1921, and took a great interest in the affairs of its Birmingham Local Section as long as he remained at the University. He was a Governor of Bishop Vesey's Grammar School and of the Coleshill Grammar School.

Mr. Harris married, in 1894, Miss Eleanor Gertrude Lane, and he leaves one son and two daughters. T. G. B.

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