Published: 15 November 2018

A message to members from the past


Sir Arnold Waters VC was honoured at two events this month, celebrating his unique place in military, engineering and Institution history.

Sir Arnold was awarded the Victoria Cross, the UK's highest honour, for his gallantry constructing a bridge while under fire across the Sambre-Oise canal, during the Second Battle of Sambre on 4 November 1918. Sir Arnold is also the only member in Institution history to serve as Institution President twice, serving from 1933-34 and 1943-44 respectively.

The Birmingham office of Mott Macdonald held a special event on 5 November, marking their direct connection to the distinguished engineer. The event was attended by Sir Arnold’s son, Tim Waters, representatives from the Royal Engineers and the Institution. Mott MacDonald can trace its history back to Sir Arnold’s original partnership, AHS Waters and Partners, founded in 1919.

Nick_Russell(Above: Past President, Nick Russell, speaks in Plymouth)

Sir Arnold’s contribution was celebrated again in Plymouth, the city of his birth, on the same day. A commemorative paving slab, one of a number celebrating the lives of the city’s Victoria Cross holders, was unveiled in his memory. Nick Russell, Institution Past President, attended the ceremony to represent the Institution.

Sir Arnold's message to members in his 1943 Presidential address still resonates today:

“Especially at a time such as the present the only reason for existence, indeed the only excuse, whether for us as individual engineers or for institutions as bodies, is that we make our maximum contribution in the common effort to human betterment. ”


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