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Frederick Lewis Dibblee

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Frederick Lewis Dibblee ( -1888)

1889 Obituary [1]

FREDERICK LEWIS DIBBLEE was educated at the McGill College, Montreal, and began his apprenticeship to the profession of Civil Engineering in 1856 as a pupil under Mr. Alexander Luders Light, at that time Chief Engineer of the European and North American Railway in New Brunswick.

Mr. Dibblee first assisted in completing the surveys, and afterwards, until 1861, had charge of a 10-mile section comprising heavy works. He was nest engaged for two years, by the same engineer, on the explorations for the Intercolonial Railway. Mr. Dibblee’s service of seven and a half years on railway work in an undeveloped country was of the greatest assistance to him, by fostering qualities of self reliance and confidence in his own abilities, which afterwards became characteristic.

The surveys of the Intercolonial line having been interrupted, Mr. Dibblee was employed by Mr. (now Sir) James Brunlees, Past President Inst.C.E., for nearly a year on the construction of the Sao Paulo Railway in Brazil, and he afterwards had experience under Mr. (now Sir) George Bruce, Past President Inst.C.E., of continental methods, as Engineer-in-Charge, for eight months, of a division of the East Prussian Railway under construction.

Mr. Dibblee was next sent by Mr. Bruce to Madras, in a similar capacity, on the Great Southern of India Railway in November 1864. In India he found his proper sphere, and the remainder of his career was passed in that country, in active and continuous employment, mostly on railway work.

After being District Engineer on the Great Southern of India for a year and a half, he became Chief Engineer, a position he continued to hold until August 1868, when he retired, and became Chief Engineer of the Carnatic Railway, also in the Madras Presidency.

In 1873 Mr. Dibblee came to England for a well earned holiday, but less than a year later, on the 24th of March, 1874, he entered the Public Works Department of the Government of India as Executive Engineer, Ghotki Division, Indus Valley State Railway.

Among other work, he was engaged on the then Punjab Northern, the Southern Mahratta, the Cuddapah, Nellore, and Orissa Railway surveys; and in Burma on the Tounghoo-Mandalay Railway. He died at Calcutta on the 28th of September, 1888, having just been posted to join Mr. Horace Bell’s staff for the Desert Railway survey in Rajpootana.

The official record of Mr. Dibblee’s service under the Indian Government is as follows:- “Appointed 2nd E.E., Ghotki Div., I.V.S. Ry., 24th March, 1874. Charge current duties of S.E.’s office, Upper Sindh District, May to December, 1875. Mehur Div., December 1876 to March 1877. IZotri Div., 1877. Charge current duties S.E.’s office, Lower Sindh District, May 1877. Rawal-Pindi Sec., Jhelum Div., P.N. Ry., October 1879. 1st E.E., 1st January, 1880. Officiating 3rd S.E., rawal-Pindi Sec., P.N. Ry., June 1880. Scindia S. Ry., GwaliorJhansi Surv. Div., November 1880. Eng.-in-chief, Delhi-Ferozepur By. Surv., March 1881. Officiating 3rd S.E., May to June 1881 ; again July to November 1881. Bengal Ry. Br., Kagpur Ry. Survs., as Officiating 3rd S.E., May 1882. Officiating Eng.-in-chief, S.M. Ry., June to September, 1882. 3rd Supt. Eng. Temp., 20th August to 11th November, 1882. Eng.-in-chief, Western Deccan Ry. Surv., October 1882. Services noticed as one of the officers employed on construction of P.N. Ry., 1883. Eng.-in-chief, C.N.S. Ry., Madras, October 1883. 3rd S.E., T., 16th October to 6th December, 1884. B.C.-P. Ry. Survs., 1885. Charge Mandalay Div., TM. Ry., November 1886.”

Mr. Dibblee acquired a reputation in the Punjab for his bold and skilful construction of temporary timber stagings, made from railway sleepers, for the erection of iron bridges. These stagings were devised so that the progress of the work should not be interrupted by freshets or floods in the nullah-bed, a.s was the case with ordinary stagings.

He was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 6th of December, 1864, and was transferred to Member on the 23rd of February, 1869.

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