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British Industrial History

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Arthur Cecil Clarke

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Arthur Cecil Clarke (c1881-1931)

1931 Obituary [1]

ARTHUR CECIL CLARKE, who was manager of the La Guaira-Caracas Railway, Venezuela, died after a short illness on 8th August 1929 in his fiftieth year.

He was born at Bowdon, Cheshire, and after receiving his technical education at the Royal Technical Institute, Salford, became an apprentice with Messrs. Mather and Platt in 1900.

After further experience in the locomotive department of the Manchester Ship Canal Company and with Messrs. Beyer, Peacock, he joined the Southern Railways of Peru, of which he became, after experience on surveys and steel bridge construction, chief assistant to the locomotive superintendent.

In 1910 he joined Messrs. Sir John Jackson (Chile), and was for twelve months engineer-in-charge of construction in the Bolivian section. He then became resident engineer in charge of the section, and also managed to act as the company's legal representative in Bolivia on account of the illness and death of his senior.

In 1913 he became resident engineer in charge of the Fortaleza-Itapipoca line of the South American Railway Construction Company, and in the following year he was appointed locomotive superintendent of the Sobral-Cratheus and Fortaleza-Iquatu lines of the Brazil North-Eastern Railways. He succeeded in reducing running costs by 50 per cent, and was appointed acting general manager.

He returned to England on the outbreak of war, however, to join the Army as a sapper. He eventually became Major and was in charge of the carriage and wagon rolling stock for the British Expeditionary Force. His unusually inspiring personality was reflected in the attendance at his funeral in Caracas, which included many thousands of natives, among whom were a gang of 200 labourers whom he had dismissed from the service of the railway for insubordination!

Mr. Clarke had been an Associate Member of the Institution since 1917.

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