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Walter Mardon Ducat

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William Mardon Ducat (1837-1902)

1902 Obituary [1]

WALTER MARDON DUCAT, Colonel R.E. retired, died at Las Palmas, Grand Canary, on the 12th January, 1902.

Born in 1837, he gained the Willock India Cadetship at Kensington School in 1854. On leaving the Military College at Addiscombe, he was gazetted to the H. E. I. C. S. Engineers in June, 1856. Having completed a further course of study at Chatham he sailed for India, and landed in Bombay in May, 1858.

As an Assistant Engineer he was occupied, till June, 1862, on various works in Bombay, Asirghur and Dhulia. During the following years till 1886 he held executive charge of public works in different parts of the Bombay Presidency. After three years in the Tanna District he was transferred to Bombay, where large land reclamations, the lighthouse, docks, and many other important works were undertaken and completed.

During 1871-72 he was at Aden, and then for five years his head-quarters were at Kolhapur. There he completed two large bridges over the Panchganga river; the Town Hall, gardens and Rajaram College; the Kolhapur-Amba road (48 miles), including the Amba-Ghat road connecting Kolhapur with the sea at Rutnaghiri; an additional water supply to Kolhapur City; and the preservation of the Runkalla Tank.

He was one of the officers thanked by Government for “Meritorious service” during the famine of 1876-77.

From 1870 till 1885 he was in charge of works at Poona and Kirkee.

In 1881 he published books on the 'Sewerage of Poona' and on the 'Water Supply and Sewerage of Ahmedabad.' At the end of 1885 his services were lent for four months to the Ahmedabad and Sind Municipalities.

During 1886 Colonel Ducat held charge as Superintending Engineer, first of the Central and then of the Northern Division of the Bombay Presidency, Public Works Department.

He finally left India in 1887.

Shortly after the termination of his Indian career Colonel Ducat entered the service of the Local Government Board in the capacity of Engineering Inspector. Throughout the period of that employment, extending from April, 1888, to September, 1897, he was recognised as one of the most valuable members of the technical staff. In matters of engineering the wide range of his work in India was found to have peculiarly fitted him for the solution of the innumerable problems associated with the attempts of local authorities to meet the varied wants of English communities.

But he had also a remarkable aptitude for the practical application of other branches of science, and hence it came to pass that when, for example, the subject of a local enquiry was such as to require close examination from the point of view of the chemist or geologist, the conduct of the investigation was entrusted with confidence to Colonel Ducat. Nor were these the only gifts which rendered his service noteworthy. His manner was refined and genial: his tact never failing, while his insight into character was acute and accurate. Thus he was equally in demand and equally successful whether the matter for discussion and report was, in its essence, of scientific or of administrative importance, and when his connection with the Local Government Board was savered by his resignation of the office which he had so worthily filled, the loss the department sustained was universally admitted to be one affecting many varieties of its work.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 1st December, 1868.

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