Inspecting Officers (Railways)

The Inspecting Officers were appointed by the Board of Trade to investigate accidents and to ensure that new railways and major works were safe and could be opened. They were closely involved in improving braking systems, signalling and the advancement of automatic train control. Jack Simmons wrote about them in an Oxford Companion entry entitled inspectors, government and to some extent under Trade, Board of. Although he cross-refered from the former to the latter and to accidents, this entry which is wooly fails to acknowledge the key role of the Inspecting Officers, Virtually all were Royal Engineers, and were typically field officers, but some were generals. Some of the basic information has come from Dawn Smith which in turn cited Stanley. Hall's Railway detectives..

Addison, G.W.
Lt. Col. Inspecting Officer 1895-9.Dawn Smith .

Anderson, Edward Philip
Born Wavertree, Liverpool, on 30 March 1883. Inspecting Officer from 1929. Educated at Rugby and RMA Woolwich. Apart from service in France and Belgium during WW1 where he won DSO served on North Western Railway in India from 1904-1914 and on Khyber Railway construction rom 1922-4. Who Was Who.

Chenevix-Trench, Colonel Arthur Henry
Born 28 April 1884; died 12 January 1968 Educated Charterhouse; Woolwich. Served WW1 in Mesopotamia (CIE). Inspecting Officer of Railways, Ministry of Transport, 1927–49, Who Was Who. 

Coddington, J.
Captain: Inspecting Officer 1844-7. Dawn Smith .

Druitt, E.
Lt. Col. in Royal Engineers . Inspecting Officer 1900-18: conducted the accident enquiry into Quintishill disaster of 22 May 1915. See Nock's Historic railway disasters (portrait p. 287)

Galton, Douglas

Hall, E.
Lt. Col. in Royal Engineers . Inspecting Officer 1919-27.

Hall, G.L.

Harness, Henry Drury
Born 29 April 1804. Educated at Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In 1846 became Secretary for the Railway Commission which arbitrated. (in his case on behalf of) the Post Office and the railways. ODNB entry by R.H. Vetch, revised by James Lunt..

Hutchinson, Charles Scrope
Major General. in Royal Engineers who conducted the accident enquiry into Armagh disaster of 12 June 1889. Born 1826: died 29 February 1912. Inspector of Railways 1867-1895 (last three Chief) (Who Was Who).. See Nock's Historic railway disasters (Chapter 5 and portrait p. 287). Nock notes that he. had an elder Sapper brother who was responsible for demolition of Round Down cliff at Dover for Sir William Cubitt during construction of South Eastern Railway.

Laffan, Robert Michael
Born in Skehana (Ireland) on 14 August 1819. Educated at Pontlevoy in France and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Served in Natal in campaigns against the Boers and in Mauritius. In 1847 he was made the Commanding Royal Engineer for Belfast. From 1847 to 1852 he was Inspector of Railways for the Board of Trade. Eventually he became Governor of Bermuda, became a KCMG, Lieutenant General and died in Bermuda on 22 March 1882. . ODNB entry by R.H. Vetch, revised by Alex May..

Langley, Charles Ardagh
Born 23 August 1897; died 21 November 1987. Educated  Cheltenham College; Royal Military Academy, Woolwich Served WW1: commissioned in Royal Engineers, 1915; France, 1916, served in field co. and as Adjutant to divisional engineers (MC and Bar). Subsequently took course of higher military engineer training, including one year at Cambridge University; Railway Training Centre, Longmoor, 1922–27; seconded to Great Indian Peninsular Railway, 1927–33, in connection with electrification of Bombay-Poona main line, including construction of power station at Kalyan; Railway Trg Centre, Longmoor, 1933–38; various appointments, including Chief Instructor of Railways, War Office, 1938–40; War of 1939–45: responsible for initial transportation developments in Middle East; later formed Transportation Training Centre for raising and training Docks and Inland Water Transport troops of Indian Engineers. Dep. Quartermaster-Gen. (Movements and Transportation), Allied Land Forces, South East Asia Command, 1943–45 (despatches, CBE); Commandant, Transportation Trg Centre, Longmoor, 1946. Inspecting Officer of Railways, 1946–58, Chief Inspecting Officer, 1958–63, Ministry of Transport. Consultant: British Railways Board, 1963–66; Transmark, 1972–73; Projects Manager, UKRAS (Consultants) Ltd, 1966–69, Managing Director, 1969–72. Consultant, Kennedy & Donkin, 1974–81. Author of several military text books on transportation (Ottley 5574; 11490; 11491 not the textbooks!). CB 1962; CBE 1945.

McMullen, Denis
Born 21 April 1902; died 3 June 1973. Educated Cheltenham College; Royal Military Academy (Woolwich). Commissioned in Royal Engineers, 1921; posted India, 1924; seconded Indian State Railways (North Western Railway), 1925–39. WW2 service in France, Iraq and India. Controller of Railways, Allied Commn, Austria, 1945–46; seconded to Indian State Railways (N.W. Railway), 1946–47; seconded to Pakistan State Railways (N.W. Railway) (Chief Operating Superintendent), 1947–48. Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways, Ministry of Transport, 1963–68 (Inspecting Officer, from 1948). Colonel in Royal Engineers. He conducted the accident enquiry into the Hither Green derailment of 5 November 1967 caused by a broken rail.. See Nock's Historic railway disasters (portrait p. 288)

McNaughton, Lt-Col Ian Kenneth Arnold
Born 30 June 1920. Education Loretto School. Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; RMCS Shrivenham. WW2 served in North West Europe. Inspecting Officer of Railways, Ministry of Transport from 1963 — Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways, Department of Transport, 1974–82. Retired 1963. Chairman., Railways Industry Advisory. Committee, Health and Safety Commnission, 1978–82. Paper: Price of safety. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs., 1977, 191, 1.

Marindin, [Sir] Francis Arthur
Wikepedia lists place of birth as Weymouth on 1 May 1838 and death as London 21 April 1900: buried at Craigflower, Dunfermline. Educated at Eton and Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Served in Crimean War. When Colonel in Royal Engineers, became Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways between 1895 and 1899: he had been an Inspecting Officer since 1877. He encouraged Sapper soccer and was President of the Football Association for several years. ODNB entry M.A. Bryant. . See Nock's Historic railway disasters .

Melhuish, S.C.
Briefly Inspecting Officer of Railways in 1840. Dawn Smith

Mount, [Sir] Alan Henry Lawrence
Born in 1881, died 1955 (BLPC). Chief Inspecting Officer Railways (from 1929 until 1942; previously Inspecting Officer from 1919) (he had investigated the serious derailments of Maunsell's 2-6-4Ts, most notably one which immediately preceded the on at Sevenoaks) and was Chairman of the Pacific Locomotive Committee which investigated rhe serious derailments of Indian locomotives which had been supplied by British locomotive manufacturers. Cox was a member of this Committee and this activity is described (and the members of the Committee are illustrated) in Volume 2 of Cox's Locomotive panorama. The 190pp Report was published in Delhi in 1939. The cause of the derailments was poor bogie design and this was established by the French Member Léguille. Mount commented upon his Iandian experiences at a joint meeting of the Locomotive, Civil and Mechanical Engineers: this is reported in J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1943, 33, 226-7. See also Nock's Historic railway disasters (including portrait p. 288)

Pasley, [General Sir] Charles William
Born Eskdalemuir, Dumfriesshire on 8 September 1780, and died in London on 19 April 1861. (Marshall). Excellent biography by Jack Simmons in Oxford Companion which makes it even more absurd that ODNB entry by R.H. Vetch (some sort of weed) supposedly revised by John Sweetham fails to make anything of his contribution to railway safety. Established Royal Engineers Institution at Chatham. Inspector of Railways at Board of Trade 1841-6. Diary at British Library: see Parrish, H.W. Pasley's Diary: a neglected source of railway history. J. Transport Hist., 1963, 6, 14-23. Ottley 5361a

Pickard, Lieut-Col Jocelyn Arthur Adair
Born 1885; died 18 April 1962. Education Rugby; Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. Commissioned Royal Engineers, 1904; During WW1 served in France and received DSO in 1918. Had served in London Traffic Branch, Board of Trade, 1912–14; and following WW1 the Ministry of Transport, Director, Tramways and Road Services Branch; Assistant Inspecting Officer of Railways, 1919–23; Chief Executive. Officer, Royal. Society for the Prevention of Accidents, 1923–50, CBE 1948 

Pringle, [Sir] John Wallace
Born in 1863. Died 16 July 1938 at Cuckfield aged 75. When 20 he was given a commission in the Royal Engineers, and served with the Burmese Expedition in 1885-6. From 1891 he was mainly associated with railway work, and directed the survey of the Uganda Rly. In 1896 he was appointed superintending engineer on the survey and construction of the Hyderabad-Godavery Valley Rly. Later he became lnspecting Officer of Railways for the Board of Trade (from 1900) — Chief Inspecting Officer 1916–29. Conducted the accident enquiry into the Sevenoaks derailment of 24 August 1927. See Nock's Historic railway disasters (portrait p. 288). Chaired two high-powered Committees to investigate the general adoption of automatic train control on British railways (following the adoption of an electro-mechanical system on the GWR). The first reported in April 1922: its members were W.C. Acfield, Signalling Superintendent of the Midland Railway,;E.C. Cox, Superintendent of the Line, SECR; Major Edmonds of the Ministry of Transport; H.N. Gresley, Locomotive Engineer, GNR; Major Hall, Inspecting Office, Ministry of Transport, J.H. Thomas, General Secretary, NUR; and Sir Robert Turnbull, a Director of the LNWR. The second committee reported in 1930, its members were H.C. Charleton, MP; C.B. Collett, E.C. Cox, Chief Operating Superintendent of the SR; Gresley, Lt. Col. G.L. Hall, Assistant Engineer, Signals & Telegraphs, SR, A. Newlands, Chief Civil Engineer, LMS, J. Sayers, Telegraph Superintendent, LMS and E.A. Wilson, Chief Engineer to the Metropolitan Railway. As was shown later at Harrow & Wealdstone (and elsewhere) little was done outside the GWR. He was also Chairman of the Electrification of Railways Advisory Committee which reported in 1928 (see R.A.S. Hennessey. 'Sparks' – the electrical consultants. Backtrack, 2008, 22, 564-9) Obituary: J. Instn Loco. Engrs., 1938, 28, 504-5.. 

Rich, F.H.
Inspecting Officer Railways: 1861-85: Chief 1885-9. Dawn Smith.

Robertson, Col John Richard Hugh
Born 18 November 1912; died 20 February 1977. Educated Aysgarth School.; Wellington College; Royal Military Academy, Woolwich; Trinity Hall, Cambridge University (Prize Cadet, Cadet School., Army Schol., and Sword of Honour; boxing, athletics and pentathlon teams); Served WW2 (BEF, 1939; Norway, 1940) Chief Instructor Transportation Training Centre, UK, 1946; then varied career; Inspecting Officer of Railways, 1959. Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways, Department of the Environment, 1969–73. CBE 1974 (OBE 1951) See also comments made on J.M. Jarvis: Fire precautions in locomotives and rolling stock. Rly Div. J., 1971, 2,: 127-9

Rose, Major Charles Frederick
Born 9 July 1926; Education Xaverian College, Brighton; Royal School of Military Engineering, 1951–52 and 1957–59 Career: Student engineer, Southern Railway Co., 1942–46; commissioned RE, 1947; service with military. railways, Palestine and Egypt, 1947–51; Germany, 1952–53; Korea, 1953–54; Inspecting Officer of Railways, 1968–82; Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways, Dept of Transport, 1982–88. Chairman., Anglo-French Channel Tunnel Safety Authority, 1987–89. independent consultant in railway engineering and safety, 1989–98 CBE 1988 (MBE 1968)

Ross, G.
Inspecting Officer 1858-61.  Dawn Smith

Simmons, John Lintorn Arabin
Simmons was born on 12 February 1821 at Langford, Churchill, (place of birth corrected 2009-03-13) in Somerset. He was the fifth son of Lieutenant Thomas F. Simmons, a Royal Artillery Officer. He was educated at Elizabeth College Guernsey (where his father was serving) and at the Royal Military College in Woolwich. He was commissioned on 14 December 1837 as a Royal Engineer and sent to Chatham for further study under Col. Sir Charles Pasley who was to become Chief Inspector of Railways in 1841, until deprived of this post following the collapse of bridges on the NBR due to flooding. Simmons spent six years in Canada, and on his return was sent to Chester to provide expertise on the bridge collapse there on 24 May 1847. Captain Simmons recomended a Royal Commission on the Application of Iron to Railway Structures. Subsequently, he became involved as an advisor to the Turkish Army and rose in rank. He became Govenor of the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich, was involved in the Royal Commission on Railway Accidents of 1874, became a full General in 1877, the Govenor of Malta between 1884 and 1888 where his diplomatic skills were used in negotiations with the Pope. He retired on 28 September 1888 and was made a Field Marshall in 1890. He died at Blackwater (Hants) on 14 February 1903 and is buried in Churchill, Somerset. See Horne Backtrack 16 504 and Horne Backtrack, 15, 148. ODNB biography by R.H. Vetch revised by James Lunt. Susan Hots in Chrimes.

Smith, [General Sir] John Mark Frederic
Born in London on 11 January 1790 into a military family, and died in London on 20 November 1874. Became a general in 1863 and was a senior Colonel Commandant of the Royal Engineers. For a time he was Inspector General of Railways and reported on the London & Birmingham Railway. He was Chairman of the Commission of Inquiry into railway gauges, and one of the Commissioners who investigated London termini. In 1841 he reported on railway communication between London and Scotland. Marshall. Lawrance Hurst in Chrimes. R.H. Vetch, revised James Falkner in ODNB

Trench, A.C.

Tyler, [Sir] Henry Watley
Born on 7 March 1827 and died on 30 January 1908 in London. Educated Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. In 1852 married Margaret, daughter of Lieut General Sir Charles Pasley, first Government Inspector of Railways. Appointed a Government Inspector for Railways in 1853: Chief Inspector 1870-7. Became closely involved with Grand Trunk Railway of Canada. MP for Harwich 1880-5 and for Great Yarmouth 1885-92. Deputy Chairman GER. Became chairman of the British Westinghouse Co. Not in ODNB, but excellent thumbnail biography by Jack Simmons in his everyday book (Oxford Companion). Marshall.
Papers
On the Festiniog Railway for passengers. Min. Proc. Instn Civ. Engrs., 1865, 24. (Paper 1130) .
On the working of steep gradients and sharp curves on railways. Min. Proc. Instn Civ. Engrs., 1867, 26. (Paper 1160) 

Von Donop, P[elham] George.
Born 28 April 1851; died 7 November. 1921. Educated Somerset College, Bath.. Lt. Col. in Royal Engineers who became an Inspecting Officer of Railways in 1899. He conducted the accident enquiry into the Grantham derailment of 9 September 1906, Chief Inspecting Officer of Railways, Board of Trade, 1913–16. Had played for the team which won the Football Association Cup in 1875. See Nock's Historic railway disasters (portrait p. 287). Wikepedia gives first name from when playing soccer. Who Was Who.

Wilson, George Robert Stewart
Born Devizes on 17 April 1896 and died in London on 20 March 1958. Educated at Marlborough College and Royal Military Acadmey at Woolwich. Served with Royal Engineers during WW1, and following that he became an instructor at Longmoor following which he joined Railway Inspectorate. With rank of Lt Col he became Chief Inspecting Officer in 1949 and was responsible for the report on the Harrow & Wealdstone disaster of 8 October 1952. He was working ion the Lewisham disaster of 4 December 1957 at the time of his death. He was involved in advising the Ministry of Transport on Automatic Warning Systems. Marshall. See  also Nock's Historic railway disasters (portrait p. 288)

Wynne, George
Lt. Colonel Inspection Officer: 1847-58 Dawn Smith .

Yolland, [Col.] William
Born in Plympton St Mary on 17 March 1810 and died on 5 September 1885 (places and revised dates taken from Chrimes in Chrimes pp. 816-17) in Atherstone (a temporary abode according to ODNB) (Marshall). Jack Simmons (Oxford Companion): excellent concise biography. Royal Engineer (trained Royal Academy Woolwich): longest serving of all Board of Trade Inspectors of Railways (1854-77). He served on the Tay Bridge Commission with W.H. Barlow and Henry Cadogan Rothery, the Commissioner of Wrecks, which investigated the failure of the bridge. Very strict in his investigations, but not harsh. Deakin (Trans. Newcomen Soc, 1929, 9, 1) stated that Yolland suggested interlocking between points and signals. Sought greater Government control over railways. R.H. Vetch revised C.G. Matthew (ODNB) adds that underpass berween Westbourne Park and Bishop's Road beneath GWR approach roads to Paddington was constructed by a reluctant Metropolitan Railway at the behest of Yolland: only trouble is that literary types at ODNB refer to this as "submerged" as if Great Western Canal..

Yorke, [Lt Col. Sir] [Horatio] Arthur
Born 3 June 1848; died 10 December 1930. Educated Charterhouse and Sandhurst. Served in Afghan War 1879-80 and Nile Expedition 1884-5. Joined Royal Engineers in 1886. Inspector of Railways from 1891, Chief Inspector of Railways from 1900 until retirement in 1913. Director of Grand Trunk Railway of Canada and of GWR. Marshall. Further comment on Yorke's character in correspondence relating to Welshampton accident: see J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2011 (211) letter from Peter Johnson

2011-11-10