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Thomas Lanfear Tanner

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Thomas Lanfear Tanner (1844-1881)

1882 Obituary [1]

MR. THOMAS LANFEAR TANNER was born at Welford, near Newbury, Berks, on the 4th of November, 1844.

He was educated at Aldenham Grammar School, near Watford, Herts, and at King’s College, London, and was then articled to Mr. Thos. Olinthos Donaldson, M. Inst. C.E., for three years. During his pupilage, he was employed on the Dorset Central railway, and also on the Team Valley railway, now a portion of the North Eastern system.

At the expiration of his pupilage in August, 1866, he studied privately for some time in order to qualify himself for the Public Works Department of India, and was successful at the examination, but preferred to accept an appointment on the Great Indian Peninsula Railway, obtained through the influence of Mr. Gregory, Past-President Inst. C.E.

He went to Bombay in June, 1869, and remained in the service of the company for three years, during a portion of which time he was employed in taking trial sections for an alteration of the Bhore Ghat Incline, after the disastrous accident of a train overrunning the reversing station.

He was then in the service of Messrs. Glover and Co., contractors, as their engineer, on the Wudwan Extension of the Bombay, Baroda, and Central India Railway, about eighteen months.

In March 1873 he applied for and obtained an appointment in the Public Works Department, and was employed on the Darjeeling Railway, on famine works in the Punjab, and on the Punjab Northern State Railway.

In a letter from him dated Pind Sultane, Rawal Pindi, July 18th, 1880, he says, “My work has been the construction of 40 miles of line (frontier line), towards Kohat. I am at the upper end, and it is a fearful outlandish country to be in; but I can talk the language, and have men with me who have been with me on old works. My servants, too, are most of them five to seven years men, so really I have little difficulty. I commenced work in November last surveying only. Since then, I have built - 2 x 4 Bridges, 60 feet span, 35 feet high and 1 Bridge 60 feet span, 25 feet high, besides numerous small bridges, and completed the banks and cuttings (two of which are hard rock), for forty miles ; Government gave me four assistant engineers, young hands. We spent steadily £3000 a month, and all by contract. I am now simply putting up some 60-feet Warren girders, and building the stations. The rails are delayed owing to accident below. I have four stations on my length, one being a terminus.”

Mr. Tanner was elected an Associate on the 6th of December, 1876. He died at Belput, on the Kandahar line, on the 29th of June, 1881, from heat apoplexy, after a few hours’ illness, and was buried in the cemetery at Jacobabad. At the time of his death he had attained the rank of third grade executive engineer.

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