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Abel, Sir Frederick Augustus, first baronet (1827–1902), chemist and explosives expert, was born on 17 July 1827 at Woolwich, the eldest son of Johann Leopold Abel (1795–1871), a music master in Kennington, and his wife, Louisa (d. 1864), daughter of Martin Hopkins...

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Sir Frederick Augustus Abel, first baronet (1827–1902) by Frank Bramley, 1900 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Anderson, Sir John (1814–1886), inventor of ordnance manufacture machinery and arsenal manager, was born at Woodside, near Aberdeen, on 9 December 1814, the posthumous child of a local merchant, J. Anderson, and his wife, Helen Hosie. His mother remarried and his stepfather, Irvine Kempt...

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Beckett, Allan Harry (1914–2005), engineer, was born on 4 March 1914 at 294 Central Park Road, East Ham, London, the son of George William Harry Beckett, accounting clerk, and his wife, Emma Louise, née Stokes. He was originally given the first name Basil...

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[Anon.]

revised by Alastair W. Massie

Bell, John (1746/7–1798), army officer and inventor, was born in the parish of St Cuthbert's, Carlisle, the eldest son of William Bell, hatter, of Botchergate, Carlisle. He was baptized at St Cuthbert's Church on 22 February 1747. After working in the family business, ...

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Bickford, William (bap. 1774, d. 1834), currier and inventor of the safety fuse, was baptized in Ashburton, Devon, on 23 January 1774, the son of William and Mary Beckford. He was in business as a currier, dressing and colouring tanned leather, first rather unsuccessfully in ...

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Sir George Everest (1790–1866) by Maull & Fox © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Everest, Sir George (1790–1866), geodesist and military engineer, was born in Greenwich on 4 July 1790, the third of six children and the eldest son of (William) Tristram Everest (1747–1825), a lawyer at Greenwich, and his wife, Lucetta Mary Smith (d. 1809)...

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James Burnley

revised by D. H. L. Back

Forsyth, Alexander John (1768–1843), inventor, son of James Forsyth, minister of Belhelvie in Aberdeenshire, and Isabella, daughter of Walter Syme, minister of Tullynessle, was born on 28 December 1768 in his father's manse. He attended King's College, Aberdeen, from 1782 to 1786, and in 1790 was licensed as a preacher. After his father died suddenly on 1 December 1790, a presbytery meeting held in ...

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Hale, William (1797–1870), rocket inventor and entrepreneur, was born on 21 October 1797 in Colchester, Essex, the son of Robert Hale, baker, and his wife, Elizabeth, and may have been descended from Sir Matthew Hale, lord chief justice.

Hale's early education is unknown, but his maternal grandfather, ...

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Henderson, Sir Brodie Haldane (1869–1936), civil and military engineer, was born on 6 March 1869 at 24 Denmark Villas, Ealing, Middlesex, the sixth and youngest son of George Henderson, formerly of Langholm, Dumfries, a printer's reader, and his wife, Eliza, daughter of George Cockshutt...

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Jones, Reginald Victor (1911–1997), physicist and intelligence scientist, was born in Herne Hill, London, on 29 September 1911, the son of Harold Victor Jones (1880–1953), a sergeant of the Grenadier Guards, and his wife, Alice Margaret, née May (1890–1979).

Jones was educated at ...

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Robins, Benjamin (1707–1751), mathematician and military engineer, was born in Bath, the only son of John Robins (1666–1758), a tailor, and his wife, Sarah Broughton, Quakers of modest means. Although largely self-taught, Robins soon demonstrated his talents for literature, language, and mathematics, especially Euclidean geometry. To acquire respectable teaching credentials ...

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Rudd, Thomas (1583/4–1656), military engineer and mathematician, was born at Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire, the son of Thomas Rudd, and the sixth of that name by descent belonging to Higham Ferrers.

Nothing is known of Rudd's education or when he embarked upon a military career. He served in the ...

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Scott, Henry Young Darracott (1822–1883), inventor of selenitic cement and military engineer, second son of Edward Scott, a quarry owner, was born at Plymouth, Devon, on 2 January 1822. He was educated privately and entered the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich, in 1838. Commissioned as second lieutenant in 1840, early the next year ...

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Henry Young Darracott Scott (1822–1883) by unknown engraver, pubd 1883 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Shrapnel, Henry (1761–1842), army officer and inventor of the Shrapnel shell, was born on 3 June 1761, the youngest son of the nine children of Zachariah Shrapnel (1724–1796) from Midway Manor House, Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, and his wife, Lydia (née Needham). The family name appears as ...

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Henry Shrapnel (1761–1842) attrib. Thomas Arrowsmith, 1817 from the collection of The Royal Artillery Institution, Woolwich

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Silberrad, Oswald John (1878–1960), chemist and explosives expert, was born at Buckhurst Hill, Essex, on 2 April 1878, the third son of Arthur Pouchin du Toict Silberrad, thirty-eighth baron (Franconian creation, 1002) of the house of Willigis (von der Silber-Rad), prince of the Holy Roman empire...

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Stokes, Sir (Frederick) Wilfrid Scott (1860–1927), civil engineer and inventor, was born at 28 Huskisson Street, Liverpool, on 9 April 1860, the fifth and youngest son of Scott Nasmyth Stokes (1821–1891), barrister and inspector of schools, and his wife, Emma Louisa (1820–1896), youngest daughter of ...