1920-1921: Captain Matthew Henry Phineas Riall Sankey

1920-1921: Captain Matthew Henry Phineas Riall Sankey


Captain Matthew Henry Phineas Riall Sankey (1853-1926)

36th President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Sankey was born at Nenagh, Ireland on 9 November 1853. He went to school in Switzerland, then attended Mr. Rippon’s School at Woolwich, and the Royal Military Academy. In 1873, he received a commission in the Royal Engineers, and started the required course at the School of Military Engineering, Chatham. As he reached the end of his training, he was one of the Royal Engineer officers selected for employment by the Royal Commission on Railway Accidents in connection with the important series of Continuous Brake Experiments carried out in 1876. Later that year he was engaged in the War Department drawing office on the design of barracks.

In 1879, he was appointed Instructor in Fortification at the Royal Military College, Kingston, Canada. After three years service there he returned to England to take up a position at the Ordnance Survey Establishment at Southampton.

In 1899, he retired from the Service and joined the board of Willans and Robinson Ltd., engineers. Five years later he commenced practice as a consulting engineer. Later he became a director and consulting engineer of Marconi’s Wireless Telegraph Company, Ltd, and the Marconi International Marine Communications Co. Ltd. He held these positions until the end of his life.

During the First World War, Captain Sankey volunteered his services and was appointed Staff-Captain in the department of the Director of Fortifications and Works at the War Office. He paid personal visits to the front in 1915 and 1918.

He was President of the IMechE in 1920 and 1921. He was also a member of the Governing Board of the National Physical Laboratory.

He died in 1926.

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