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HUTTON, Leslie Bertram (1889 - 1972)

L.B Hutton

L.B. Hutton (1889 - 1972). IPENZ, Past Presidents Album, 1914-1966

Leslie Bertram Hutton (Fellow and past President), who died in Christchurch on 15 August 1972, was born at Otahuhu, near Auckland, and attended King's College from 1898 until 1906. He distinguished himself in football, cricket and athletics, and was the first boy to command the, cadet corps. On leaving school he spent 12 months in an engineering workshop, and then moved south to the Canterbury College School of Engineering, under the late Professor R J Scott. Here he gained a bachelor of engineering degree in electrical engineering. He then joined the electrical branch of the Public Works Department under the late Lawrence Birks, and served as a field officer in the erection of the transmission line from Lake Coleridge.

On the outbreak of war in August 1914 he enlisted as a private in the 1st Canterbury Infantry Regiment of the Main Body, serving in Egypt and on Gallipoli, and, at the time of the evacuation, had, despite various vicissitudes, attained the rank of company sergeant-major. On the return of the troops to Egypt, he was one of six non-commissioned officers chosen from the brigade by General Johnson to be granted a commission and return to New Zealand to bring out a reinforcement. He later joined his unit in France, and finished the war in command of his old company. He was awarded the Military Cross and received mention from the Secretary of State for War.

On demobilisation in New Zealand, he returned to the Public Works Department and was posted to Waihi and Horahora, and then to Hamilton as assistant engineer. In 1923 he was appointed assistant engineer to the Southland Power Board, and chief engineer in 1927, and became district engineer, N.Z. Electricity Department, in 1936. In 1937 he moved to Wellington as assistant general manager of the City Council's Transport and Electricity Departments, and was made general manager in 1942, a position he occupied until his retirement in 1954.

Mr Hutton was deeply interested in the activities of his profession, and served as chairman of the Southland branch of the N.Z. Institution of Engineers, chairman of the Wellington branch, vice president and President of the Institution, being on its Council for a total of eight years. He served on the Education, Membership, Publications and Awards committees, and as the Institution representative on the Rehabilitation Committee. He was a member-and for some chairman-of the Technical Advisory Committee of the Dominion Physical Laboratory.

In the field of electricity, he was a member of the Executive Committee of the Electric Supply Authorities Engineers' Association for 20 years, served a term as President and was elected an honorary life member on his retirement.

In recognition of his outstanding services to the profession Mr Hutton was awarded the NZ Institution of Engineers' F W MacLean Citation in 1959.

He was the author of technical and semi-technical papers, and never ceased to urge his fellow members not only to keep their engineering up to date, but also to help maintain their native tongue in its purest form.

Mr Hutton is survived by his wife and two children, Mrs Guy Newton of London, and Mr D M Hutton of Auckland.

Extract from New Zealand Engineering, October 1972, p 326