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British Industrial History

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J. W. H. Rea

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John William Herbert Rea (1884-1951).

1952 Obituary [1]

"JOHN WILLIAM HERBERT REA, M.A., was formerly chief mechanical engineer of the joint Buenos Aires Great Southern Railway and Buenos Aires Western Railway. He was born in 1884 and educated at Montrose College and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, taking the degree of M.A. in 1908. He served a pupilage under the chief mechanical engineer of the North Eastern Railway at Gateshead, from 1906 to 1908, and in the following year went to Argentina to begin a long connection with railways in that country. Joining the Buenos Aires Western Railway as assistant divisional locomotive superintendent, he held in succession the positions of divisional locomotive superintendent, assistant works manager, assistant running superintendent and personal assistant to the chief mechanical engineer. He was appointed chief mechanical engineer in 1928, and five years later took over the same duties for the joint railways. In this capacity he was responsible for standardizing methods and co-ordinating and pooling the mechanical resources as well as the plant and equipment. He held office until 1939 when he went into retirement, from which, however, he emerged during the 1939-45 war and became attached to the machine tool control department of the Ministry of Supply. Mr. Rea had been a Member of the Institution since 1928 and served on the River Plate Branch Committee from 1933 to 1935, being chairman of the Branch and a Member of Council. He was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers. His death occurred at his home in Cheltenham on 5th February 1951."

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