Sir Ernest John Hutchings Lemon, OBE (9 Dec 1884 – 15 Dec 1954) was the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and later one of its three Vice-Presidents. Lemon was made Director-General of Aircraft Production for the RAF, he made crucial improvements to aircraft production which resulted in the UK being able to defend its skies. He was responsible for delivering the Spitfire to the skies.
His railway education began with an apprenticeship at the North British Locomotive Company, he then worked for the Highland Railway and for Hurst Nelson.
In 1911 Lemon became Chief Wagon Inspector of the Midland Railway, England. In 1917 he was made Carriage Works Manager at Derby. Then in 1923 he was appointed Divisional Carriage and Wagon Superintendent there. He developed production line methods for the construction of wagons and carriages. Despite having little experience in locomotive engineering this led to his appointment as of Chief Mechanical Engineer, 1931. In under a year he was further promoted to Vice-President Railway Traffic, Operating and Commercial. Under his Vice-Presidency, the LMS undertook modernisation of their motive power depots. Throughout his career he revolutionised the railway, eliminating inefficient practices. He was a proponent of Taylorism and he introduced the principles across the LMS, to increase labour productivity. He retired from the railway in 1943.
In the run-up to the Second World War Lemon was made Director-General of Aircraft Production, he made crucial improvements to aircraft production which had previously been dogged by charges of incompetence (the country still being protected by obsolete aircraft, after newer models production had stagnated). Lemon was drafted in the complete the modernisation and rearmament, to deliver the much vaunted new generation fighters. During the War Lemon was made Director-General of Aircraft Production and received a knighthood in the 1941 New Year’s Honours list, following the RAF’s success at the Battle of Britain (1940).
He retired from the railway in 1943.