Sub Lieutenant Peter Scott Caldwell

Biography of Sub Lieutenant Peter Scott Caldwell

Peter Scott Caldwell was born on 16th June 1876 at Causeyside, Tollcross, Glasgow. His father, Archibald, had been an iron turner but later became the manager of the gas works at the Gallowgate. His mother, Elizabeth Scott, was a cotton weaver before she married Archibald on 16th July 1872. Sadly she died of tuberculosis on 19th September 1878 when Peter was just two years old. His father was married again in 1880, to Mary Rogerson or Hunter. At that time the family lived at 391 London Road.

Peter attended John Street School. When it came to deciding what to do when he left school, he sought his grandfather’s advice on whether to choose medicine or engineering. His mother’s family, the Scotts, owned a small engineering company in Barrhead and he resolved his career dilemma when he went to work in the business. He worked by day and studied by night at Anderson’s College, which merged with other colleges to become the Royal Technical College in 1912. In addition he took classes as an external student at the University of London.

Peter had a voracious, lifelong appetite for learning. Aged 38, he matriculated at the University of Glasgow in the session 1914-1915 to study Electrical Engineering. By that time he had achieved the qualification ARTC (Associate of the Royal Technical College) and AMI MechE (Associate Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers). He had also decided on an academic career. He left Scotts Engineering in 1907 and took up a post as lecturer in the Royal Technical College, where he continued to teach and research for the rest of his working life, save for the interruption of war.

During the First World War, Peter was not called up. He was thirty-eight years old, a married man with a young family. He decided to put his skills to work for the war effort by going south to Whitby Bay to help establish a munitions factory. Family legend has it that he was so irked with the behaviour of the young women who stood outside the factory awarding white feathers to the workers that he decided to enlist.

He was commissioned Engineer Sub-Lieutenant in the Royal Navy Reserve, as from 29th November 1917. He was assigned to duty on the minesweepers that cleared the Channel and Thames ports. In February, 1918, when the University of Glasgow began collecting details of its ‘honour roll’ of the men and women who served their country, he was serving on HMS Princess Beatrice.

Peter returned from the war to enjoy a long and rich life. On 4th July 1907 he had married Mary Cunningham, and when war broke out they had a family of two boys and a girl. In 1920 the birth of their daughter Elizabeth completed the family. She remembers growing up in a very busy household where foreign postgraduate students were frequent guests. Peter was still studying too. On 26th June 1936, he received his PhD from the University of Glasgow at a graduation ceremony at which students apparently clapped to the song Old Soldiers Never Die.

Indeed he kept working beyond retirement, into his seventies, developing his interests in ship propulsion at Stow College, Glasgow. He was the Honorary Secretary of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers for twenty to thirty years. He was an active member of Stonelaw Parish Church and a regular bowler at Rutherglen bowling club. Peter Scott Caldwell died in 1964, aged ninety.

 

Summary

Sub Lieutenant Peter Scott Caldwell
Rank: Sub Lieutenant
Regiment: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
Degree: N/A
Awards: N/A
Comments: N/A
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/590
Photo ID: N/A

Sources

Biography: Biographical information contributed by Elizabeth Goodall, Peter Caldwell’s daughter

University of Glasgow Faculty, Registry and General Council Records

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