Walter (Gus) Annand

Walter Annand, engineer

Born: 21 August, 1920, in Uddingston, Lanarkshire

Died: 26 August, 2002, in Staffordshire, aged 82

A QUIET-SPOKEN and academic man, Gus Annand was a much respected engineer who performed vital aeronautic research during the Second World War and continued that work with Rolls Royce in peacetime. An entangled political situation meant he had to transfer to the car division, but he was soon offered a position with Manchester University that suited his detailed knowledge and dignified personality ideally. His abiding passions throughout his life, apart from his work and family, remained chess and philately.

Walter John Dinnie Annand - always known as Gus - was born in Uddingston, the son of two teachers. His elder sister is the distinguished artist Louise Annand. He attended Hamilton Academy and then Glasgow University, winning scholastic awards at both institutions. He graduated with a first in Mechanical Engineering in 1940. His specialised abilities at such a traumatic time were in immediate demand and he was sent to work with the government aircraft research unit at Boscombe Down. Annand was able to work long hours under pressure and still produce concise and informed analytical surveys. His conclusions proved vital in improving the performance of bombers and fighters throughout the war.

After the war, the department was reorganised and Annand was moved to the Rolls Royce factory in Derbyshire, but he was principally concerned with secret military research. He had met and married Margot Carter at Boscombe Down, but she had well known and stridently articulated left-wing views. In the Fifties, and with the Cold War becoming ever more intense, the connection was deemed, by the authorities, too risky. Annand’s work on military research was discontinued.

After a couple of years at the Rolls-Royce motor division in Crewe, he accepted the post of lecturer at Manchester University in Mechanical Engineering and by 1968 he was reader of the department. He remained at Manchester until 1987 and taught with a gentle enthusiasm - he is remembered as both patient and inspiring. He found time to write his DSc in 1972 and enjoyed several posts as a visiting professor in the Middle East. He last lectured at foreign universities on pollution, as he held the post (from 1974) of head of the university’s Pollution Research Unit.

Annand wrote an admired text book, The Mechanics of Machines (1970) and with the proceeds bought a sailing boat. That and his lifelong devotion to chess (he was a county player) and philately, ensured a happy retirement. He was a man without rancour, generous to a fault and of high intellect. He never demonstrated any bitterness for the way he was treated in the Fifties and maintained a kindly and hospitable disposition throughout his life. His wife died last year and he is survived by their two daughters.