On November 4th, 1918, with “conspicuous bravery and devotion to duty”, Sir Arnold Horace Santo Waters personally supervised the completion of a bridge across the Oise-Sambre Canal in Northern France while in the line of fire. It was for this act of courage that he was awarded the Victoria Cross.
Upon returning to the UK after the war, Sir Arnold went on to start an engineering practice in Birmingham and served as president of the Institution of Structural Engineers in both 1933 and 1943. He is perhaps better known for the eponymous Sir Arnold Waters prize for the best paper presented at an IStructE regional group meeting.
A VC Commemorative Paving Stone dedicated to Sir Arnold was unveiled on the centenary of his brave actions. A large crowd comprised of 66 of the extended Waters family, including his eldest son Tim, gathered in Plymouth for the event where Councillor Sam Davey, Lord Mayor, unveiled the paviour. This was the last of four commemorative stones to be dedicated to Plymouthonians who earnt their VC’s in the Great War.
Before the unveiling, three speeches brought to life key aspects of Sir Arnold’s life: his Plymouth roots, contributions to the Great War and his contributions to engineering. These were delivered by the Lord Mayor, Major General Ivan Jones CB and Nick Russell, Thomasons director and past IStructE president.
Nick comments: “I feel very privileged to have been asked to be part of what was a personal family event, commemorating Sir Arnold’s life. It was a wonderful opportunity to share insight into his life with his relatives who may not have known so much about his professional achievements. They were really proud of him.”