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Charles John Hawkes

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Commander Charles John Hawkes (1880-1953), Emeritus Professor of Engineering at King's College, Newcastle upon Tyne

1953 Obituary [1]

IT is with regret that we record the death of Professor C. J. Hawkes, which occurred at his home at Eastbourne on Friday, January 30th.

Professor Hawkes, who was in his seventy-third year, retired from the Royal Navy with the rank of Engineer Commander and at the time of his death was Emeritus Professor of Engineering at King's College, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Charles John Hawkes was born on April 22, 1880, at New Brompton, Kent, and upon completing his education at Sir J. Williamson's school at Rochester in 1895, he served an apprenticeship in H.M. Dockyard at Chatham, and received marine engineering training in the dockyard school.

Five years later he was appointed Engineer Sub-Lieut., and received further instruction over the next three years at the Royal Naval College at Greenwich. Then followed an appointment to H.M.S. "Montagu," after which he carried out the duties of assistant to the chief engineer of H.M. Dockyard, Sheerness, until 1907.

For a year Professor Hawkes served on the staff of the director of Admiralty Dockyards, and was subsequently appointed to H.M.S. "Black Prince" for service afloat, and on coming ashore he in joined the staff of the Engineer-in-Chief with the rank of Engineer-Lieut. This appointment lasted for two years and then from 1912 to 1914 he acted as joint secretary to the Royal Commission on Fuel and Engines, followed by a further year on the staff of the Engineer-in-Chief.

Professor Hawkes' next appointment was assistant secretary to the Board of Inventions and Research, where he dealt with inventions relating warship construction, propelling machinery, to torpedoes and aircraft engines.

In 1917 he became the first superintendent of the Admiralty Engineering Laboratory in South Kensington and was engaged mainly upon design and experimental work concerned with oil engines. He spent three years in this post and then, in 1920, he was appointed Professor of Engineering at King's College, Newcastle upon Tyne, and continued to occupy the Chair until his retirement in 1946.

Professor Hawkes, who was made O.B.E. in 1939, read a number of papers before the technical societies and was a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and also an Honorary Fellow of the North-East Coast Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders, of which Institution he was president from 1936 to 1938. He was elected a vice-president of the Institution of Naval Architects in 1940 and was also an Honorary Member of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (U.S.A.).

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