Engineering New Zealand Engineering Heritage Jobhunt Foundation

Biographies

FORSYTH, John Cossar (1890 - 1969)

JC Forsyth

J. C. Forsyth, 1957-58. Past Presidents Album 1914-1966. IPENZ

BSc., MIEE, FIES, MNZIE,

Mr Forsyth, a former engineer-manager of the Christchurch MED, died at his home in Christchurch on October 24 1960. Mr Forsyth was a past president of both the NZ Institution of Engineers and the Electric Supply Authority Engineers’ Institute.

Mr Forsyth was born in Auckland and received his early engineering training there and at the Royal Technical College, Glasgow which was affiliated to Glasgow University. Mr Forsyth gained Associateship of the college and the degree of BSc at the university, both with special distinction.

While in Scotland he gained practical experience with Bruce Peebles &: Co. of Edinburgh as a test engineer in 1914 and again in 1919.

When he returned to New Zealand in 1920 he joined the MED as an assistant electrical engineer. Five years later he was appointed chief electrical engineer, and in 1949 became engineer-manager. He retired from that position at the end of 1955.

In the First World War Mr Forsyth served for three years in the Royal Artillery of the British Army, reaching the rank of major and being mentioned in dispatches. In the Second World War he served in the Royal New Zealand Artillery in charge of the anti-aircraft defences of Christchurch, and retired from the army as a lieutenant-colonel.

Mr Forsyth was formerly chairman of the Illuminations Committee and a member of the Welding Committee of the NZ Standards Institute. He was the author of a number of technical papers, for one of which (on street lighting) he received the NZIE Fulton gold medal in 1936.

Although in retirement, Mr Forsyth had maintained his interest in professional engineering matters.

Extract from New Zealand Engineering, January 1961