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British Industrial History

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John Merrick Rayner

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John Merrick Rayner (c1873-1949)

1950 Obituary [1]

"Major JOHN MERRICK RAYNER, who saw much military service in the Middle East both during and after the war of 1914-18, was an Associate Member of the Institution from 1908 to 1929, and was restored to the list of that grade of Membership in 1936.

He was born in 1873 and received his education at Altrincham Grammar School, at the High School, Dublin, and at the Merchant Venturers' College, Bristol. On the termination of four years' practical training at the Dublin engineering works of Mr. William Spence in 1894, he was employed for short periods as a junior draughtsman by Messrs. Gwynne and Company, Ltd. (now Gwynnes Pumps, Ltd.), of Hammersmith, Messrs. R. Hornsby and Sons, Ltd., of Grantham, and from 1897 to 1900 he was with Messrs. Ruston Proctor and Company in a similar capacity.

The next five years were spent as leading draughtsman to various engineering firms, chiefly in the North Midlands, and from 1905 to 1911 he was associated with Messrs. John Swire and Sons, London, general engineers. He was first appointed engineer with the charge of the engineering department and three years later he became resident engineer. In the latter capacity he was responsible for the construction and equipment of the Taikoo Dockyard Engineering Works at Hong Kong, with further responsibility for the manufacture, inspection, and final testing of plant, including slipways, gas power pumping plant, and electrical units. In addition, he was entrusted by his firm with the supervision of the design, purchase, and inspection of mechanical engineering products for other undertakings in the Far East.

In 1911 he was appointed engineer at the Anglo-Continental Company's Guano Works, London, but, in the following year he took up a similar appointment with Messrs. Associated Portland Cement Manufacturers at Gravesend, where he was under the direction of the late Mr. Percy Taylor, M.I.Mech.E. On the outbreak of war in 1914 he was called up and went on active service with his unit, "B" Battery, H.A.C. In the following year he was gazetted temporary lieutenant, and after attending a course at the Royal Ordnance College, Woolwich, was subsequently given the charge of base workshops in Egypt.

He received his captaincy two years later and was promoted acting major in 1918. After service as senior inspector of ordnance machinery with the North Force in Syria and Palestine he was attached as I.O.M. to the Military Inter-Allied Commission in Germany during 1921 and 1922. On his return to civil life he took up farming in Kenya, continuing in this pursuit until 1934 when he re-entered the engineering profession, and subsequently became a director in the firm of Messrs. Onslows, Ltd., Kisumu, Kenya, general engineers, where his death occurred on 21st July 1949, at the age of seventy-six."

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