You are in [People] [Hungerford Characters] [W C R (William) Whalley]

The following article is adapted from text kindly provided by Dr James "Jimmy" Whittaker, Dec 2017:


W.C.R. (William) Whalley's memorial stone in St Saviour's churchyard, 2017.

W.C.R.Whalley W.C.R.Whalley

W.C.R. Whalley – A Man of Letters:

When you look at a gravestone you sometimes find a set of letters after a person’s name which might reveal his or her profession, and this is the case of W.C.R. Whalley whose gravestone is found in St. Saviour’s cemetery.

W.C.R. Whalley - The Scientist:

I noticed one set of initials which read FRIC (Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry), which I recognised straight away since in 1971, I had been formally elected and admitted to this prestigious society myself albeit as a mere graduate member. In WCR’s case, he was a senior practising chemist probably working in industry rather than in the academic world.

His other qualifications were ARCS which stands for Associate of the Royal College of Science, a constituent college of Imperial College, London, a high-profile institution known to produce scientists of the highest calibre.

His final qualification was an MSc, a Master of Science degree indicating that he had undertaken a post-graduate degree in a science related subject, again just like I had.

So what do we know about this scientist?

In the first place, why would William Clarence Roy Whalley use his initials in the first place? The answer is probably to stand out so that his name cannot be confused with other people of a similar name.

This seems to be rife with authors from the worlds of both literature (e.g. JK Rowling, CS Lewis, DH Lawrence) and in the scientific world (e.g. JJ Thompson, HG Wells, also a student at the Royal College of Science).

Whalley’s field of work focused on electrochemistry, a study of the chemical changes that occur in materials when they are subjected to an electrical current.

He published a number of papers in scientific journals such as “Corrosion: The journal of Science and Engineering”. He made several appraisals of the conditions contributing to the severe corrosion experienced on buried pipelines in the arid desert soils of Syria and Iraq. His investigations centred on the effectiveness of cathodic protection in reducing corrosion in such hostile environments due to their low resistivity.

W.C.R. Whalley - A Man of other Letters:

Whalley was a regular contributor to the New Scientist magazine and often wrote “letters” on a range of subjects, stating his name and address as WCR Whalley, 105 High Street, Hungerford.

Below I give the gist of some of the examples of the letters that he had published in The New Scientist.

On Railways (1976): The running of local, express and goods trains on a single line cannot provide increased speed or efficiency of service.The production of more railway sidings is folly It was quicker and more convenient in the 1920s to cycle 40 miles for a day’s fishing rather than to travel cross county by trains.

Man vs Forest (1975): Eradication of the tsetse fly in the savannahs of Africa to open up land which will then cater for 100 million cattle, proposed by the UN, is not a solution. Man should learn to live side by side with diseases that have been fatal to animals, as he has done in the past.

American Presidents (1975): 80% of American Presidents up to and including Richard Nixon were born in the winter (October to April) and this is of some significance.

Swans (1981): Cabin cruisers spew out vast amounts of lead which is damaging to swans!

Train braking systems (1981): Lots of energy is lost when trains stop, start, accelerate and brake. This energy loss could be reduced by the introduction of a recuperative braking system.

W.C.R. Whalley - The Man:

William Clarence Roy Whalley was born on 24 Sep 1911 in West Ham, London, the son of Frederick William Whalley and Martha Edith Ann Cleverley. He died on 15 Feb 2002 whilst living in Hungerford. He married Doris Alice Hoskins in 1941. They had two children. When Doris, a schoolmistress died in 1984, William Whalley was remarried to Annie L Taylor in the same year, aged 73!

Town and Manor records show that he lived at 105 High Street from around 1968 until at least 1984.