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John Edward Catton

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John Edward Catton (1853-1886)

1887 Obituary [1]

JOHN EDWARD CATTON was born at Aberdour, Fife, on the 17th of July, 1853, and was mainly educated at the Dollar Academy, where he particularly distinguished himself in mathematics, being medallist in 1870.

After leaving school, he was for some time a pupil in the office of the Chief Engineer of the North British Railway, also attending the lectures at Edinburgh University.

In September 1872 he entered the Royal Indian Engineering College, at Cooper’s Hill. Here the distinction he had acquired at Dollar was continued, he being accounted one of the most promising students of his year ; so much so, in fact, that whereas the usual term of residence is three years, Mr. Catton was permitted to compete at the Final Examination in 1874, and passed out after only two years’ residence, winning the Baker Scholarship in applied mechanics.

Being appointed an Assistant Engineer in the Indian Public Works Department, Mr. Catton arrived in Bombay on the 21st of November 1874, and was posted to the Punjab Irrigation Branch, joining the Western Jumna Canal on the 10th of December of that year. He was employed principally as Resident Engineer in charge of the head-works and main line of the canal, on the careful supervision and maintenance of which the success of the entire system depends.

Between December 1875 and October 1877 he held the post of Personal Assistant to the Superintending Engineer of that circle of irrigation; and in August 1880 was transferred as a temporary measure to officiate as Assistant to the Chief Engineer and Under Secretary to the Punjab Government in the Irrigation Branch.

On being relieved by the permanent incumbent, Mr. Catton was sent on special duty to the Shahpoor District to give professional advice to the local civil officers regarding the best method of improving the system of inundation-canals in their charge; and on his return received the thanks of His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor for his services.

He was then transferred to the 2nd Division of the Baree Doab Canal, of which he held executive charge for a short time, after which he was again posted to the office of the Chief Engineer as Under Secretary to the Punjab Government, which appointment he continued to hold until he left India on furlough in April 1885. Mr. Catton passed the Higher Standard examination in both the Hindustani and the Punjabi languages, and was a magistrate under the Northern India Canal and Drainage Act. While on furlough he was appointed to supervise the practical training of the students of the Cooper’s Hill College, and was so engaged at the time of his death, which occurred suddenly at Braemar, N.B., on the 17th of August 18815, when only thirty-three years of age.

Mr. Catton was one of the most rising of the younger officers of the Department, and thought highly of by all under whom he served, and his untimely death caused universal regret among his familiars both in India and at Cooper’s Hill.

He was elected an Associate Member of the Institution on the 7th of December, 1880

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