Kenneth Allan - obituary
1927 – 2022
In modern parlance, Kenneth Allan had what might be termed a ‘portfolio’ career firmly based within the chemical sciences. Although National Service in the Royal Navy involved service on a Hunter class destroyer providing basic medical care to the crew, he turned to technology upon leaving the Navy and studied electroplating science and corrosion technology. Starting his career with Smiths Industries, he then moved on to McMichael Radio Ltd (Slough) where he invented a novel electroplating technique which was patented and is still in use.
The majority of his career was spent as Chief Chemist in the Engineering Department of the British Overseas Airways Corporation (now British Airways, BA). He had carte blanche to create an in-house laboratory which could carry out analysis and testing of products used by the airline. Often this involved a level of trouble-shooting and in this, he was greatly assisted by networking within industry, university and government, with many of his contacts developed through his activities within the Royal Institute (later Royal Society) of Chemistry.
From the early 1970s onwards, he was an active member of the Chilterns and Middlesex Section, taking on many of the executive roles and working on the arrangement of meetings and being a member of the Section committee for close to 50 years. In the 1970s, the Section lobbied the RIC committee hard to develop a route whereby experienced professional chemists without a formal university degree could progress from Licentiate grade to Membership, Fellowship, and Chartered Chemist: Kenneth was one of the first Licentiates to successfully go through this process.
His career in chemistry did not end on retirement as he took on two further posts: firstly with the Berkshire College of Agriculture where he sorted out a disused laboratory and subsequently became a short course tutor: and secondly becoming a technician at Atwood School (Maidenhead) where his broad knowledge of the application of the chemical sciences was much utilised by the school tutors.
In 2012 he was awarded the MBE for services to chemistry - a signal honour marking not only his contributions in the workplace but also his long years of service to the RIC and RSC. He was justly proud but also truly humbled by such recognition.
Outside chemistry, he also achieved honours within the sport of judo firstly running a successful club in Slough and then organising a new club in Maidenhead: he eventually became a Dan Grade teacher and was (in 2015) awarded an honorary 5th Dan by the President of the British Judo Council.
After 59 years in the sport and at the incredible age of 88 he finally hung up his judogi.
Those who knew him will long remember his honesty, integrity, and professionalism, but most of all for his friendship and wonderful smile.
By: Peter B Baker (Dr) CChem FRSC
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