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McNaughton Center

History of General the Honorable Andrew G. L. McNaughton

Andrew G. L. McNaughton
1887 - 1966

            General the Honorable Andrew G. L. McNaughton was born in Moosomin, Saskatchewan, Canada on 25 February 1887. He graduated from McGill University in electrical engineering in 1910 and received his M.Sc. in 1912 from the same university. Today he has Honorary Doctorates from eight universities and can fairly be described as having had three successful careers in military service, in the engineering world and in the diplomatic service of his country.

            He held the rank of Major in the Canadian Field Artillery at the outbreak of war in 1914.  He rose to Brigadier General and command of the Canadian Corps of Heavy Artillery. He was wounded twice in action, decorated with the Distinguished Service Order and mentioned in dispatches three times. He was Chief of the General Staff in Canada with rank of Major General from 1929-35.

From 1935-44 he was President of the National Research Council of Canada but on outbreak of war in 1939 he was appointed General Officer Commanding the First Canadian Division, promoted to Lieutenant-General and later General, and appointed General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of the First Canadian Army overseas. He retired from the Army in 1944 and became Minister of National Defence (Canada), at the time of the reinforcement crisis of 1944.

            Following the end of World War II, General McNaughton was Chairman, Canadian Section, Canada-U.S. Permanent Joint Board on Defence. He was Canadian Representative on the United Nations Commission for the Control of Atomic Energy and Permanent Delegate for Canada to the United Nations, and represented Canada on the Security Council. He was also President of the Atomic Energy Control Board of Canada at that time. In 1950 he was appointed Commissioner and then Chairman, Canadian Section of the International Joint Commission. In the engineering field General McNaughton's research studies at university concerned measurements on high voltage systems. During the first war he was quick to make use of the new scientific techniques of sound ranging and the like to Canadian artillery operations. In the twenties he emphasized, amongst other things, the special need for radio communications in the Army and brought about the establishment of extensive radio communications in the Canadian Northwest.

            In 1926 General McNaughton and Colonel W. R. Steel were given a patent on the cathode ray direction finder which was later developed in N.R.G: with subsequent production of instruments of great value. During his active tenure of office as President of N.R.C., 1935-39, he fostered the growth of the engineering divisions, particularly in the areas of electrical, mechanical and aeronautical engineering, in physics and the applied Sciences generally.

            The completion of the recent hydroelectric plants on the St. Lawrence River, concurrently with the building of the Seaway, is of particular interest to the IEEE. The successful termination of this scheme owes much to the arrangements for participation between Canada and the United States worked out by the International Joint Commission, of which General McNaughton was Chairman of the Canadian Section.

In short- as an inspiring leader, General McNaughton has had a profound influence on engineers in general and on electrical and radio engineers in particular. His influence has spread far and wide and made him the recipient of many honours. The awards of Companion of Honour and Companion of the Order of the Bath have been bestowed upon him by the Crown. Many engineering societies have honoured him for his achievements and he has been an Honorary Member of this Institute since 1942. His work for international co-operative developments, his interests and accomplishments in the field of heavy electrical engineering, in the field of radio communications, and his leadership of others in these areas make it appropriate to present him with the Founders Award of IEEE in recognition of his many services to electrical engineering.  The citation reads "For his inspiring leadership and his personal contributions in the field of electrical engineering and radio communications."  (Editor's Note: General McNaughton passed away on 11 July 1966.)

From the 1964 IEEE Award Presentation Brochure

More historical information from the IEEE is available at The IEEE History Center.


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