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

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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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Aconcio, Jacopo [Jacobus Acontius] (c. 1520–1566/7?), theologian and military engineer, was perhaps born at Ossana, in the Val di Sole, not far from Trento in Italy, the son of Gerolamo Aconcio and his wife, Oliana. After studying law Aconcio was admitted to the ...

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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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John Armstrong (1674–1742) by unknown artist, c. 1711–20 [Left to right] John Churchill, first duke of Marlborough (1650-1722) and ] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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See Armstrong, John

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Armstrong, John (1674–1742), military engineer, was born on 31 March 1674 the eldest son of Robert Armstrong (c.1651–1716) of Ballyan, King's county (co. Offaly), Ireland and Lydia (c.1649–1715), daughter of Michael Howard of Ballyard, King's county. Armstrong entered young into a military life, serving as a volunteer in the Williamite army in ...

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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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H. M. Chichester

revised by Claire E. J. Herrick

Bisset, Charles (1717–1791), physician and military engineer, was born at Glenalbert, near Dunkeld, Perthshire, the son of a lawyer who specialized in Scots law. He studied medicine in Edinburgh and in 1740 was appointed second surgeon of the military hospital, Jamaica. He later served on board ...

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Blood, Holcroft (c. 1657–1707), army officer and military engineer, the third son of Colonel Thomas Blood (1617/18–1680) and his wife, Mary (fl. 1650–1670), the daughter of Lieutenant-Colonel John Holcroft of Holcroft, Lancashire, was born in Sarney, co. Meath, Ireland. In 1672, unknown to his father, he enlisted in the navy and served during the Third Dutch War. Later, under the false name ...

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Bodley, Sir Josias (c. 1550–1617), soldier and military engineer, was born in Exeter, the fifth and youngest son of John Bodley (c. 1520–1591), merchant and later publisher, and his wife, Joan, née Hone (d. 1586). His brothers included the more celebrated Sir Thomas Bodley (1545–1613)...

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Burgh, Thomas (1670–1730), military engineer and architect, was the third son of Ulysses Burgh (d. 1692) of Drumkeen, co. Limerick, dean of Emly and later bishop of Ardagh, and Mary, daughter of William Kingsmill of Ballibeg, co. Cork. After education at Delany's school...

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Call, Sir John, first baronet (1732–1801), East India Company servant and military engineer, was born on 30 June 1732 at Fenny Park, near Tiverton, Devon, the son of John Call (1704–1766) of Prestacott in Launcells, Cornwall, and his wife, Jane, daughter of John Mill...

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Champain, Sir John Underwood Bateman- (1835–1887), army officer and engineer in the East India Company, second son of Colonel Agnew Champain (d. 1876), of the 9th foot, was born in Gloucester Place, London, on 22 July 1835. Educated at Cheltenham College and for a short time in fortification and military drawing at the private ...

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Clarke, Sir Andrew (1824–1902), military engineer and colonial official, was born on 27 July 1824 at Southsea, Hampshire, the eldest son of Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew Clarke KH (1793–1847), governor of Western Australia (1846–7), the descendant of a Scottish family who had settled in Ireland...

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Sir William Congreve, second baronet (1772–1828) by James Lonsdale, c. 1812 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Congreve, Sir William, second baronet (1772–1828), rocket designer, was born on 20 May 1772, perhaps at Homerton, Hackney, Middlesex (where he was baptized), the eldest son of Captain-Lieutenant (later Lieutenant-General Sir) William Congreve, first baronet (1743–1814), Royal Artillery, and his first wife, Rebecca...

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Debbieg, Hugh (1731/2–1810), military engineer and army officer, was educated at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich (1742–6). Nothing is known of his parentage and birthplace. His ability was manifest at an early age, and he advanced rapidly in the Royal Artillery, becoming matross on 1 April 1742, cadet in May 1744, and cadet gunner in April 1745. During September and October 1746 he served as an engineer in the futile expedition against ...