S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Gordon, Mr Webster Boyle (hydrology)

Born: 3 June 1859, Place not known.
Died: 12 October 1943, Ireland.

Webster B. Gordon, member of the (British) Institution of Civil Engineers (MICE), was educated at the Royal Indian Engineering College at Cooper's Hill, near London. In 1879 he was appointed in the Indian Public Works Department. Later he held the post of sanitary engineer to the government of Uttar Pradesh (1899-1901) and then became secretary to the Indian Irrigation Commission (1901-1903). In October of the latter year he was appointed hydraulic engineer and director of irrigation in the Cape Colony. In 1904 he became a member of the Cape Society of Civil Engineers and in 1905 served on the society's committee of management. After undertaking a tour of inspection he wrote a report on "Irrigation in the north-west" which was published in the Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope (Vol. 26, pp. 189-205, 341-363) in 1905. He also reported on the Oorlog's Poort irrigation scheme, Colesberg, during 1904. In November that year he sent out a memorandum requesting information on dongas. The information received on the extent, causes, prevention and treatment of this type of soil erosion was summarised by his successor, F.E. Kanthack*, in the Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope (Vol. 31, pp. 574-589) in 1907.

Gordon was honoured as a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) in 1904. He left the Cape Colony in 1907 to take up the post of chief engineer for irrigation and secretary to the government of the Punjab (1908-1911) and in 1912 became secretary to the government of India in the Public Works Department and a member of the Imperial Legislative Council (1911-1913). He retired in the latter year and settled in Monkstown, County Cork, Ireland. He was married to Rose Ethel Fitcher.

List of sources:
Agricultural Journal of the Cape of Good Hope, 1905, Vol. 26; 1907, Vol. 31.

Cape of Good Hope. Civil service list, 1906, 1907.

Cape Society of Civil Engineers. Proceedings, 1904-1906, Vol. 2-4, lists of members.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Gordon, W.B.

Gordon, Webster Boyle. The Indian biographical dictionary (1915). Retrieved from https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Indian_Biographical_Dictionary_(1915)/Gordon,_Webster_Boyle on 2017-2-8.

Who was who, Vol. 4, 3rd ed. London: Adam & Black, 1964.

Compiled by: C. Plug