Obituary: David Walters

Professor David Walters OBE
(OC 1946-1952)

Born 16 May 1935, died 4 December 2021

Born in the East End of London David attended Caterham between 1946 and 1952 as a boarder, After leaving Caterham he went to the University of London to study Electrical Engineering where once he graduated he joined Brush Electric Motors based in Leicestershire where was initially employed commissioning the electrical systems on commercial shipping and later Diesel Electric trains.

In 1965 David moved from Brush to become Product Manager for Compton Parkinson based in Yorkshire later to become Brook Crompton, where he rose through the ranks of management being appointed as General manager and finally Group Managing Director for the Electric Motor division.

When Brook Crompton were taken over by BTR in the early 1980’s David was appointed to the main board as Technical Director, a role in which he excelled.

In the mid 80’s he was responsible for the design and development of a new type of energy efficient electric motor which went into production as something called the “W Series” which I believe is still in production today, indeed it now forms the basis of most of the electric motors used in electric vehicles today.

In 1995 his contribution to the world of energy efficiency was recognised with him being awarded an OBE for services to energy efficiency and the title of visiting professor to both Sheffield and Cambridge Universities.

Outside of his work and academic career, David had a keen interest in both flying and sailing having learnt to glide when joining the ATC at Caterham and sailing when he was at the University of London.

His flying interests varied over time, having first learnt to fly in Tiger Moths to becoming an accomplished glider pilot until he was almost 80.

His love of sailing never did leave him having started with sailing dinghies on the river Thames, before graduating onto more serious racing dinghies and subsequently cruiser / racers on the south coast, his last venture into the sailing world was with myself when I purchased one of the last few remaining Dunkirk Little Ships, which he took great pleasure in telling me how it should be wired etc, even though his knowledge was some 60 years out of date, but given the boat was over 100 years old perhaps that did not matter.

David took a keen interest in his family especially his three grand daughters and more recently his three great grand children, this was helped by the fact he was able to move to the same village we lived in Bedfordshire some five years ago, needless to say he will be missed by all of us.

David also retained a keen connection with Caterham School, being a life long Old Caterhamian and more lately a patron to the school by sponsoring pupils.

Written by his son, Nigel Walters