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British Industrial History

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Stephen Hungerford Pollen

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Stephen Hungerford Pollen ( -1935), Chairman of British Aluminium Co

1935 Obituary [1]


Colonel Pollen was educated at the Oratory under Cardinal Newman, and at Sandhurst. He was commissioned in 1888 to the Wiltshire Regiment, then serving in India, and in 1889 was appointed A.D.C. to Lord Lansdowne. He was retained in this post by Lord Elgin, and after some experience on the frontier returned to England in 1898. He was one of the first batch sent to Natal to replace the casualties suffered in the initial reverses of the South. African War. He served there on General Buller's staff, and, after recovering from typhoid, returned to England and worked on the staff at Whitehall until he retired.

Colonel Pollen then went into business, for which he was exceptionally equipped by his own gifts and by his training in diverse administrative duties. He was a close friend and confident of the late Sir Julius Wernher, and was one of his executors and trustees. He thus became intimately identified with South African affairs, acquired a profound understanding of the gold, aluminium, and other industries, and by 1914 held a commanding position in the world of finance and business.

In August of that year he joined up and served continuously as military secretary first to Sir Ian Hamilton and then to General Murray, at Gallipoli and in Egypt, until he returned on the appointment of Lord Allenby. He was offered a very tempting appointment at G.H.Q., but refused on the ground that the unique experience to be obtained would be invaluable to a younger officer on the active list. He accordingly resumed his business activities, and at the time of his death was undoubtedly a personality of singular authority in the City of London.

He had been Chairman of The British Aluminium Company, Limited, of which he remained a director until the time of his death. Those who knew Colonel Pollen in his public relationships are not likely to forget the rare distinction of his bearing, the quickness and the sagacity of his judgment, his unfailing tact, and his imperturbable serenity. Latterly he had to contend with grave illness, but his fortitude was such that he seemed time after time to have conquered it, and to resume his conduct of affairs as if he had recovered. The hopes so raised were, however, not to be realised. A few weeks before his death he withdrew from the Royal Body Guard.

Colonel Pollen was elected a member of the Institute of Metals on May 4, 1925.

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