Captain William Francis Dawson military engineer
This article is part of ICE's Engineer biographies series.
DAWSON, William Francis, Captain (d 1829), military engineer, was born in Newmarket, the son of Francis Dawson.
A Royal Engineer, he arrived in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1819 as 'Second Captain' RE, and acted as private secretary to Sir Edward Barnes (1776-1832), the Lieutenant General.
Dawson was the engineer responsible for the construction of several of the military roads built in Ceylon in the 1820s and that over the Kadugannawa Pass presented such great difficulty that in 1832 a posthumous memorial was erected to his memory at the summit.
He died at Kandy on 28 March 1829 having contracted dysentery while surveying the Paumben and Mannaw Channels and was buried at St. Peters, Colombo.
- 1822. Road over Kadugannawa Pass, Kandy District, Sri Lanka
- 1822. Road from Kospetta-oya over the Galagedera Pass, Sri Lanka
Written by MIKE CHRIMES
This text is an extract from A Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers in Great Britain and Ireland, published by ICE in 2002. Beginning with what little is known of the lives of engineers such as John Trew who practised in the Tudor period, the background, training and achievements of engineers over the following 250 years are described by specialist authors, many of whom have spent a lifetime researching the history of civil engineering.
Featured articles and news
Sadiq Khan publishes a new development strategy for the capital.
In the week of the momentous Heathrow decision, we look back at the development and design of T5.
BSRIA’s flagship event will address performance and wellbeing beyond compliance.
Young Architects and Developers Alliance launched to build the relationship between the two disciplines.
BS 8536-2:2016 Design and construction: Code of practice for asset management (Linear and geographical infrastructure).
Paying for off-site goods or materials can be useful, but it puts the client at risk.
People power can be transformative if properly informed and inspired.
ZHA win competition to build an Urban Heritage Administration Centre in Saudi Arabia.
Leaps, not steps, are needed to avoid a ticking time bomb, say BRE in response to Farmer Review.
A multi-purpose hall in France covered in a translucent orange membrane.
Winning designs revealed for a rock formation-influenced residential complex in Rennes.
An article explaining the techniques, regulations and environmental impacts of carbon capture and storage.
Watch one of the first documentaries by the acclaimed Adam Curtis, examining the substandard system building of the 1960s.