On this day, 100 years ago an IMechE member was killed in action.
Percy Towns Armstrong: 26th May
Engineer, Radiant Heating.
Lieutenan, Royal Naval Air Service, King’s North Naval Air Station, HMS ”Queen Empress”.
Accidentally killed in gas plant explosion.
Note: IMechE Journal states that he died in an aeroplane accident, war record states explosion as does our obituary.
Lieut. PERCY TOWNS ARMSTRONG, R.N.V.R., R.N.A.S., was born at Newcastle-on-Tyne on 21st December 1885.
He was educated at Newcastle-on-Tyne and was a pupil of the Engineer to the Walker and Wallsend Union Gas Co.
From 1901 to 1906 he served an apprenticeship with Messrs. John Abbot and Co., Ltd., Gateshead, and during the same period he attended evening classes at the Armstrong College.
On the completion of his apprenticeship he became an assistant engineer at the Walker and Wallsend Union Gas Works, being engaged on the construction of the Howden Lane Works, until 1908, when he took a two-years’ course in Gas Engineering at the University of Leeds.
On taking his diploma in 1910 he was appointed engineer to Radiant Heating, Ltd., of Leeds, and held this post until 1913, when he joined the engineering staff of Messrs. R. and J. Dempster, Ltd., of Manchester. In this capacity he was engaged on the design, erection, and working of gas-producer plant, with by-product recovery plant, at the Birmingham Battery and Metal Co., Ltd.
In 1915 he became resident engineer to the Barnsley Smokeless Fuel Co., Ltd., on the construction of their works near Barnsley, and in August 1916 he was appointed Lieutenant R.N.V.R. and attached to the R.N.A.S. in charge of hydrogen plant at Kingsworth Royal Naval Air Station, where he was accidentally killed by an explosion of a gas-holder containing hydrogen gas, on 26th May 1917, at the age of thirty-one.
He was elected an Associate Member of this Institution in 1912.
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