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James Scott Pitkeathly

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James Scott Pitkeathly (1882-1949)

1950 Obituary [1]

"Sir JAMES SCOTT PITKEATHLY, K.C.I.E., C.M.G., C.V.O., C.B.E., D.S.O., whose death occurred at Maidenhead on 26th June 1949, had a long and distinguished career in the service of the Crown in India, and will be remembered in particular for the great contribution he made to India's productive capacity as first holder of the post of Chief Controller of Stores.

He was born in 1882 and educated at the Heriot Watt College, Edinburgh. On the completion of his practical training with Messrs. Bruce Peebles, Ltd., electrical engineers, of Edinburgh, in 1901, he was entrusted with the supervision of important contracts in Britain and in India, where his first task was the electrification of the Singerami coalfield.

In 1909 he was appointed electrical inspector to the Government of the United Provinces and in the following year he became responsible for the electrification of the vast Durbar camp set up at Delhi, his services in this connection being recognized by the bestowal of the C.V.O. He was next engaged by the Government of India as electrical and mechanical engineer in connection with the construction of the new Delhi.

In 1916 he proceeded to Mesopotamia on active service on his appointment as Assistant Director of Works with the rank of major on the general list. Two years later he was promoted to the grade of Deputy Director and transferred to the Royal Engineers with the rank of colonel. For his valuable services in this difficult campaign he was awarded the D.S.O. and made C.B.E., besides being mentioned four times in despatches. For similar service in the Afghan War of 1919 he was made a C.I.E. In 1921 the Indian Stores Department was set up at Delhi and Sir James was selected to be the first Chief Controller. During his tenure of this office, which extended to seventeen years, the department underwent constant development which was of the utmost value when war broke out in 1939.

He had been Knighted in 1933 and he was later made Knight Commander of the Indian Empire. Other posts which he held with distinction during a particularly difficult period were those of Deputy Director-General (Supply), Director-General of aircraft, officer on special duty, and finally that of chairman of the United Kingdom Technical Mission, which had been appointed to inquire into the project of a fertilizer factory in India. Sir James finally retired from the service of the Government of India in August 1947.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution in 1909 and was transferred to Membership in 1933. He was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

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