RM Willcock (OS 1941)
RM Willcock died in Vancouver on 30th June 2014, aged 91.
In 1933 he had a part in Captain Brassbound’s Conversion, which must be one of the earliest AJ school productions.
Senior prefect in 1940 he was one of the sixth form on home guard and fire watching duties, and was a founder member of 550 ATC squadron. He won a state scholarship and an open scholarship to St John’s College, Cambridge, where he gained a first class degree in the mechanical science tripos and was awarded the Wright prize.
Directed then to the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough he was involved in the early development of jet engines until after the war when he was able to pursue his first choice of career as a civil engineer.
Among the many projects on which he worked were hydroelectricity in the Scottish Highlands, mining in the north-east of England, a large housing development in South Wales, tunnelling under the Trough of Bowland to bring water from the Lake District to Manchester, and the construction of the M6 in Cheshire.
In 1950 he went out for almost four years to Uganda (the pilot on the flight to Rome was HL Lee, OS 1940) as site engineer for the Owen Falls dam. He built himself a boat for sailing on Lake Victoria and also climbed Mounts Elgon, Kenya and Kilimanjaro (twice) long before the area became a tourist attraction. He was lucky to escape alive when his car broke down while travelling alone across the Serengeti plain.
Between spells of working on worldwide contracts with consulting engineers in London and Vancouver he was a lecturer at Birmingham University with responsibility for post graduate students in the civil engineering department.