Global engineering, management and development consultancy Mott MacDonald has honoured Sir Arnold Waters VC, CBE, DSO, MC, for his extraordinary contribution in the Great War and his prominence in 20th Century engineering. The company held an event to recognise Sir Arnold’s life and the pivotal role it played in Mott MacDonald’s history.
Earlier this month marked the centenary of the second battle of the Sambre in France, in which the Royal Engineers constructed a bridge across the Sambre-Oise canal while under heavy fire. The construction was led by Major Arnold Waters, who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions that day, where he “went forward and personally supervised the completion of the bridge, working on cork floats while under fire at point-blank range. So intense was the fire that it seemed impossible that he could escape being killed. The success of the operation was due entirely to his valour and example.”
Sir Arnold established his engineering practice in Birmingham in 1919 and it flourished in the years that followed the Great War. In 1955 the business established a partnership called AHS Waters and Partners of which Sir Arnold’s son, Tim Waters was a founding partner. Another son, Andrew would later become a partner as well. In 1985 AHS Waters and Partners joined Mott, Hay and Anderson, which subsequently became Mott MacDonald, following its merger of Sir M MacDonald and Partners in 1989.
The event held to celebrate Sir Arnold’s life was attended by Sir Arnold’s son, Tim Waters, representatives from the Royal Engineers, the Institution of Structural Engineers, retirees from AHS Waters and a cross section of current Mott MacDonald staff including several who started their careers with AHS Waters. Tim was presented with a commemorative photo which illustrates the leading role his father played in making Mott MacDonald the success it is today.
Tony O’Toole, Mott MacDonald’s Birmingham and Midlands regional director, said: “It’s a tremendous honour to recognise Sir Arnold in this way. The role he has played in Mott MacDonald’s 100-year presence in Birmingham is still evident today. Although the industry, construction and the technology we use have changed massively in the last century, our company culture, spirit and ambition, which Sir Arnold helped cement within Mott MacDonald, continues to thrive today.”