Engineer of the Week No.107: Edith Mary Douglas (nee Dale) (13th November 1877 to 1963)
On the 142nd anniversary of her birth we remember WES president Edith Douglas.
Born in Cawnpore, India, where her father, George Desborough Dale, was in the Indian Civil Service. She was educated at home in England. Her marriage to Major Clifford Hugh Douglas in 1915 (his second, her only marriage) introduced her to engineering, financial and political matters, not least as he was a founder of the Social Credit Movement in the 1920s, on which he wrote and lectured widely. During the First World War her husband was an Assistant Superintendent of the Royal Aircraft Factory Farnborough, which gve Edith the unusual opportunity to be the first woman to fly in experimental bomber aircraft. When her husband became a co-director of the Swanwick Shipyard (Hamble River Yacht & Engineering Co.) on the River Hamble, she too became a director of the shipyard. Although she had no formal technical education, Edith was by no means a silent partner, but became fully involved in the technicalities of running the yard. During the Second World War of course the construction of yachts had to give way to Admiralty orders for small craft. It seems likely that she and her husband retired during or just after the war. Edith joined WES in 1932 and was President of the Society in 1938-9.
She had a daughter and was also a keen sailing racer, golfer and lawn tennis competitor and died in 1963.