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Leslie Henry Daniel

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Leslie Henry Daniel (c1906-1957), director of the National Coal Board's central engineering establishment

1957 Obituary [1]

MR. LESLIE HENRY DANIEL, whose death occurred last Saturday, September 14, had been director of the National Coal Board's central engineering establishment since its inception. He joined the Coal Board's staff in 1954 in order to set up an organisation for the improvement and development of equipment for the mining industry.

Mr. Daniel, who was fifty-one, was educated at the Woolwich Polytechnic, and subsequently graduated at the Queen Mary College, Mile End, where he carried out one year of post-graduate research for his M.Sc. degree in electrical and mechanical engineering.

In 1928, Mr. Daniel began a student apprenticeship with The British Thomson Houston Company, Ltd., and when that was completed in 1931, he was appointed to the laboratory staff of the British Electrical and Allied Industries Research Association. From 1939 onwards Mr. Daniel's work with the E.R.A. was concerned with a variety of Government contracts.

Just after the war, in 1946, Mr. Daniel joined the Ministry of Supply as a senior principal scientific officer, and in 1949 he was appointed deputy chief engineer of the Vehicles Research and Development Establishment. His duties there included the design and development of fighting vehicles to the production stage, as well as the direction of specialist branches dealing with engines, transmissions, electrical equipment and armour. During his term at the establishment, Mr. Daniel was closely associated with the development work on the Centurion tank.

As already mentioned, Mr. Daniel joined the staff of the National Coal Board in 1954. The decision to build a central engineering establishment had then been recently taken by the Board, and the site at Bretby, in South Derbyshire, had been acquired. The principal function of the establishment is to develop new coal mining machines and techniques and to improve existing methods and techniques.

It also engages in the preparation of technical specifications and designs of new machines to enable alternative sources of manufacture to be exploited. In addition, the establishment is equipped to carry out acceptance trials of mining machinery in the prototype and production stages. The task of setting up the organisation required for this kind of work became the responsibility of Mr. Daniel. Last year was the first full year of the establishment's operation, the work being concentrated mainly on the development of improved power-loading machines and tunnelling and drilling equipment.

The nature of some of the work carried out under Mr. Daniel's able direction is described in an article on the establishment which was printed in THE ENGINEER of December 21, 1956.

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