Alexander Malcolm
Written and Researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska
I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts and member of Clan Malcolm


Alexander Malcolm is his younger days

Alexander Malcolm was my great-uncle. The town of Auchtermuchty and his family was very proud of him. I have transcribed an article from People's Journal.

Auchtermuchty Man's Romantic Career

Head of Large Concern
Special in People's Journal

Of the large number of Fifers who in recent years have risen to postions of responsibility in different walks of life, few can lay claim to having so romantic a career as an Auchtermuchty man, Mr. Alexander Malcolm.

An engineer to trade, Mr. Malcolm is "in the news" at present in the Far East:

The firm, of which he is now head, has just been successful in obtaining the contract for one of the largest water schemes ever carried through in China.

Under Mr. Malcolm's supervision, it will entail the construction of a huge reservoir and filtration plant, which are being provided for the city of Canton at the cost of 600,000 pounds.

The success of his firm in securing it reflects great credit on Mr. Malcolm, who is recognized as one of the foremost British engineers at present engaged on work in the East. During the past few years, his firm has earned through a large number of other important works.

In his native Auchtermuchty, where his mother still resides, Mr. Malcolm's career has been followed with the keenest interest. Many of the older residents still remember him as a "laddie," when he started his engineering career, which was destined to take him far on the road to success in the local foundry of Messrs John White & Son, weighing-machine makers1.

After three years there, young Malcolm went to Hartlepool to complete his engineering studies, and afterwards served as ship's engineer on vessels of the P. and O. line.

After five years afloat, he received an appointment in Shanghai, where he now controls one of the largest engineering concerns in the East, called Malcolm & Company, Ltd. The headquarters of this firm are in Shanghai, with big branches in Hong Kong and other parts of the East2.

Mr. Malcolm paid his visit to Auchtermuchty two years ago, when, in the course of a business trip to the country, he spent several days with his mother at her home on Low Road. On that occasion, he made the journey home by air. The whole distance from Hong Kong to Croydon was completed in giant passenger liners.

Mrs. Malcolm stated this week that she expected her son home for another holiday this summer:

"Last time I got only three days warning that he was coming," Mrs. Malcolm said.

"On that occasion he throughly enjoyed the journey by air, and it is probable that he will come that way again this time."

Mrs. Malcolm is naturally proud of her son's achievements. "He has been very successful," she said, "but I know he has worked very hard."


Nanking-Purow Train Contracted For
This article appeared in "China Journal" - April 1932

"That the crossing of the Yangtze River at Nanking will accomplished within the next year by the Nanking-Pukow train ferry, for which the contract was let last month to Messrs. Malcolm & Co., Ltd., was officially confirmed by the Ministry of Railways March 23, according to a Reuter message of the same date. The new ferry will be the first of its kind in China and will eliminate delays in crossing the Yangtze River, thus making a much closer connection between North and South China cities than has heretofore been possible. A most careful survey has been made by the engineers to allow for the extreme variation of the water level, in which there is a difference of twenty-four feet during the year, with a daily tide variation of from one to three feet. The building of the piers has commenced. There will be three 150 foot span bridges with adjustable ends, to be raised or lowered according to the height of the water, and these as well as the 2,400 ton boat will provide three railway tracks of standard gauge for transporting trains and railway stock across the river. The boat will be completely equipped, including living quarters on board for officers and crew, and is expected to reach China about next December. The bridge materials are due in Nanking next October, and, as the work of assembling is estimated to take about four months, it is hoped to have the ferry commence functioning by March of next year. The Shanghai-Nanking and Tientsin-Pukow lines have been instructed by the Ministry of Railways to have the construction of their connecting branch lines to the ferry completed by the end of this year. The entire project will cost $3,000,000, and is to be paid for from Boxer Indemnity Funds, for which all necessary arrangements have been made." ("China Journal" April 1932).


***The above article was submitted by Michael Malcolm, a cousin of mine.

Unfortunately Uncle Alex's career was cut short, by his death, during World War II. Alexander Malcolm (54) was killed, off the coast of Samatra, as his ship was sunk while heading to Darwin, Australia (?), on February 15, 1942. It was sunk fifty (50) miles of the Berhala Strait, off the eastern coast of Sumatra>

Many ships were sunk by the Japanese in these same waters.

S.S. Redang

Alexander was survived by his wife Constance Stevens and his three children (Nora, William Donald, and Elizabeth Malcolm), his sister Isabella, of Toronto, Ontario Province, Canada: and his brother, William Clark Malcolm of Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, U.S.A.

1 Today White's Weighing Machines sells electronic weighing devices and operated from a small building in the back dykes. The original building is now empty, and there are future plans (as of 2002) to turn it into an apartment complex.

2Singapore, Penang (now called George Town), and Kuala Lumpar (all located on the Malay Peninsula).