Umfreville Percy Swinburne died in London on November 7th, 1931, at the age of 63.

He was the second son of the late Sir John Swinburne, and heir-presumptive to his brother, the present baronet. He was educated at Merchiston Castle School, Edinburgh, and at the age of 19 went to South Africa, where he spent about two years prospecting for the Tati Concession in Matabeleland.

Returning to England, he went through the usual three years course at the Royal School of Mines. During that period he worked while on vacation at the East Pool mine, under ‘Captain’ Bishop. On completion of his course at South Kensington he went to Australia, where he was employed for about two years by the Northumberland Mining Syndicate, Victoria, and then returned to South Africa. He worked respectively for the Mashonaland Agency, of which he was local manager, for the Mazoe Vesuvius Gold Mining Co., Ltd., and other companies. In 1897 he went back to Australia as manager of the Pizalling Consols, Ltd., and also did some reporting.

He returned to South Africa once more to take part in the Boer War, and on the cessation of hostilities he was appointed by Lord Milner an inspector of mines in the Transvaal. He was successively inspector for the Pretoria, Natal and Cape districts. He was subsequently appointed Chief Inspector of Mines of the Union, and in that capacity was closely concerned with the question of the prevention of miners’ phthisis.

On the outbreak of war he rejoined his old regiment, the Seaforth Highlanders, to serve on the Western Front, and was twice severely wounded. On the conclusion of peace he returned to South Africa to take up his work again as Chief Inspector of Mines, and there is no doubt that his constant visits underground undermined his health to a serious degree. He retired and came home in 1928.

Major Swinburne was elected an Associate of the Institution in 1893, and was transferred to Membership in 1899.

Vol. 41, Trans I.M.M., 1931-32, pp.660-61

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