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William Martin Blagden

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William Martin Blagden (c1899-1949)


1949 Obituary [1]

"THE Fighting Vehicle Design Establishment of the Ministry of Supply has suffered a severe loss by the death, on Wednesday, November 30th, in Chertsey Hospital, at the comparatively early age of fifty, of Brigadier William Martin Blagden, its Deputy Chief Engineer.

Brigadier Blagden received his early education at Charterhouse and the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In 1919 he was commissioned in the Royal Engineers as a second lieutenant and, in accordance with the normal practice at that time for Royal Engineer officers, he went to Cambridge University to take his degree course. Promotion followed quickly, and in 1931 Captain Blagden was appointed assistant instructor in the School of Military Engineering, a position he continued to hold until 1935, when he became experimental officer in the Mechanisation Experimental Establishment, where he remained until 1939.

He was appointed acting Colonel in October, 1940, and among the positions he held during the 1939- 1945 war we may mention those of Assistant Director of Mechanisation at G.H.Q., B.E.F., and Deputy Director of Armoured Fighting Vehicles, G.H.Q., M.E.F. In 1943 Brigadier Blagden was transferred to the Ministry of Supply and became Deputy Director-General of Fighting Vehicles.

He had an exceptionally wide knowledge of engineering in many of its branches, and it was characteristic of him that he was never at a loss for the meaning of the most obscure technical terms, whether old or new. As an early motor-cycle enthusiast he had a practical and intimate knowledge of road transport. Problems, which he applied with success to the design and operation of fighting vehicles. He had a charm of manner which endeared him to his colleagues and subordinates alike, and his death will be widely mourned by those who knew him. In private life he was a proficient pianist and a musical composer."


1950 Obituary [2]

"Brigadier WILLIAM MARTIN BLAGDEN, R.E. (ret.), whose untimely death, which occurred on 30th November 1949, at the age of fifty, ended a distinguished military and administrative career, was educated at Charterhouse and at Woolwich.

He passed into the Royal Engineers in 1919, and after taking courses at the School of Military Engineering, Chatham, and the School of Electric Lighting at Gosport, served an apprenticeship between 1925 and 1928 with Messrs. Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day, Ltd., the Brush Electrical Engineering Co, and several other electrical and mechanical engineering concerns. He was appointed to Changi, Singapore, in 1928, where he was in charge of all mechanical and electrical new construction work. This was followed by the post of instructor at the School of Military Engineering, and later he was officer in charge of the wheeled vehicle test-section of the experimental establishment at Farnborough. He was made a Member of the Mechanization Board in 1939, and in the course of the next year became deputy director of tank design.

These duties he subsequently combined with those of deputy director of armoured fighting vehicles in Egypt and North Africa. In addition, he acted as technical adviser to the commander-in-chief, and as observer on behalf of the Ministry of Supply. On his retirement from the Royal Engineers in 1943, he was appointed deputy director-general armoured fighting vehicles for research and development, his next posting being that of director with responsibility to the director-general for general direction of research and development and with control of military headquarters staff of the Fighting Vehicles Division, Ministry of Supply, London.

Finally, in 1949, he was made deputy chief engineer, fighting vehicle design establishment. Brigadier Blagden had been an Associate Member of the Institution since 1947. He was also an Associate Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers."


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