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Harry Borlase Willock

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Captain Harry Borlase Willock RN (1854-1889)


1889 Obituary [1]

Captain HARRY BORLASE WILLOCK, R.E., was born at Tenby on 6th March 1854, and was educated at Cheltenham College, whence he passed into the Royal Military Academy in December 1870; and in 1872, having obtained a commission as lieutenant in the Royal Engineers, he proceeded to the School of Military Engineering at Chatham.

In 1876 he went to Bermuda, where he served with the 10th Company, Royal Engineers, and was employed for nearly two years in connection with the works for the defence of the new dockyard and naval anchorage.

Returning to England, he joined the 2nd Co. R.E. at Shorncliffe, and in December 1878 proceeded with them to South Africa. There he served is the earlier part of the Zulu war with Colonel Pearson's column, and was present in the action at Inyezane on 22nd January 1879 and throughout the occupation of Ekowe; be was mentioned in despatches in the "London Gazette" 16th May 1879, and received the medal and clasp.

On his return to England lie was appointed to take charge of the workshops at the School of Military Engineering, and from thence went to the works department of the Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, under Colonel W. H. Noble, R.E., and subsequently under Colonel Crozier, R.E., where under his care a considerable portion of the railways in the arsenal were re-arranged and relaid, a work much required owing to the extension of the factories and the greatly increased loads that had to be moved.

In 1882 on the outbreak of the Egyptian war he was appointed to assist in the railway transport, and prior to embarkation was engaged at Woolwich Arsenal in collecting and shipping railway material and plant. He sailed for Egypt in August of that year, and on arriving at Ismailia superintended the unloading of the stores; he was afterwards left in charge during the rush of traffic to Cairo, and at the conclusion of the campaign collected and accounted for all railway stores. For these services he received the medal and bronze star.

Returning to England at the end of 1882 he was placed on the staff of the inspector of iron structures at the War Office, and there assisted in the designing and construction of all machinery required in connection with the coast defences, and in the supply of material and general supervision of military railways in this country and in Egypt and the Soudan. For the latter service he was officially commended by the inspector-general of fortifications.

In December 1887, he was appointed inspector of iron structures, as successor to Major English, R.E.; and in this capacity completed the erection and tests of the 112-ton hydraulic traveller at Shoeburyness, and designed the details of the 250-ton pontoon slicers now in course of construction.

He acted as secretary to the committee on the preparation of the "Military railway manual," and also to the committee on the preparation of "Instructions for the care and maintenance of war department boilers." In the somewhat laborious calculations involved in obtaining the results given by Major English in his paper before this Institution on experiments on the distribution of heat in a stationary steam-engine (Proceedings 1887 page 486) he rendered much valuable assistance.

He died at his father's house at Tenby on 6th February 1889, after a very short illness, in the thirty-fifth year of his age.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1884.


1889 Obituary [2]



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