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Joseph Clarke

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Joseph Clarke (1871-1941)

1941 Obituary [1]

Captain JOSEPH CLARKE, M.B.E., received his technical education at the Central Science Schools and at the Technical College and served his apprenticeship from 1887 to 1892 with Messrs. Hattersley and Davidson in Sheffield. He remained with that firm, acting as gas engine expert and later as assistant works manager until 1897, when he became shift engineer to the Metropolitan Electric Supply Company.

From 1902 to 1906 he was on the engineering staff of the British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company, and was engaged on steam turbine tests at Pittsburg, U.S.A., for six months. Subsequently he returned to London as guarantee engineer during the testing period of 8 steam turbines of 5,000 kW. at Chelsea and 3 of 3,500 kW. at Neasden. In 1908 he was appointed chief mechanical and electrical engineer to the Pacific Phosphate Company in Melbourne, and was responsible for all the firm's business in Nauru and Ocean islands in the Pacific. He specialized in phosphate mining, and in 1919 he commenced practice as a consulting engineer to the British Phosphate Commissioners, and to United Phosphates of Egypt.

At the time of his death which occurred on 29th January 1941, in his seventieth year, he was acting as consulting engineer to the Christmas Island Phosphate Company. Captain Clarke was elected a Member of the Institution in 1911 and was also a Member of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. He served in the Corps of Electrical Engineers in the South African War of 1899-1902; and in the war of 1914-18 he was Staff Captain in the Chief Mechanical Engineer's Department at the War Office, where he was engaged on the purchase of engineering equipment for the British Expeditionary Force; for his services he received the M.B.E.

1941 Obituary [2]

JOSEPH CLARKE, M.B.E., was born in 1871 and studied engineering at Sheffield Technical College and at King's College, London.

After serving a 6 years' apprenticeship with Messrs. Hattersley and Davidson, electrical and mechanical engineers, Sheffield, he remained with the firm a further 4 years and eventually became assistant works manager.

In 1898 he was appointed shift engineer, and a year or two later Chief Assistant, at the Sardinia Street station of the Metropolitan Electric Supply Co. During the Boer War he served in the Electrical Engineer Volunteers in South Africa, having charge of engineering work for the lighting of hospitals, camps, etc., and obtained a commission. From 1903 to 1907 he was employed by the British Westinghouse Co., first at their works in Pittsburgh, U.S.A., and later in Manchester and London during the testing period of the steam turbines for Lots Road and Neasden power stations.

In 1908 he was appointed Chief Mechanical and Electrical Engineer to the Pacific Phosphate Co. at their works on Ocean Island and Nauru. A strenuous 8 years followed, during which completely modern and up-to-date machinery and electric power plant were installed and set to work at each island. In 1914, when the Great War started, he happened to be at the German island of Nauru with a number of the staff of the Pacific Phosphate Co. It was largely due to his tact that unpleasant incidents were avoided and the British staff with their wives and children left for Ocean Island in a neutral vessel. At Ocean Island a volunteer force was formed in which he obtained a commission, and on the arrival of a small Australian military force, he, with the Nauru members of the staff, returned to Nauru and occupied the island, which has since remained under British control.

In 1916 he returned to this country and acted as Staff Captain in the Royal Engineers, purchasing engineering and other materials for the British Forces abroad. For this service he was awarded the M.B.E. After the war he acted until 1935 as engineering adviser to the British Phosphate Commissioners, and from 1936 to 1941 in a consulting capacity to the Christmas Island Phosphate Co. Those who served in various capacities under him in the early days in the Pacific were fortunate in having a kindly chief of such skill, courage and resource. His death on the 29th January, 1941, was deeply regretted by all who knew him.

He joined The Institution as an Associate in 1898 and was elected a Member in 1910.

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