PIONEERS & CHAMPIONS
His work took him to Burma, then a British crown colony
1913 - 2010
After attending Miss Beckworth’s school in Kingston, Jamaica, Vincent attended the Diocesan College, Mandeville in 1924. He left Jamaica in 1929 to attend the sixth form at Denston College, and then went on to study Civil Engineering at Imperial College, London. He was awarded a BSc in 1934 and worked in Stafford and Corby after graduation. In 1937, his work took him to Burma, then a British crown colony, where he built the roads and bridges later used by Allied troops during the Second World War.
Vincent was born on September 16th, 1913, in the Parish of St Andrew, Kingston. He was raised by his mother, Muriel Von Reizenstein Sophia Stewart (nee ffrench-Mullen), the daughter of one of the island’s surgeons. She ran a boarding house in Half-Way Tree, Kingston, and paid for Vincent’s education from her earnings. Muriel was born in Jamaica, of Irish and French Huguenot descent.
Vincent’s father, Frederick William Lamont Stewart was born in Jamaica, of Irish descent. Vincent’s grandfather the Reverend Augustus Montgomery Stewart was also born in Jamaica. His great grandfather, the Reverend Samuel Henry Stewart, emigrated to Jamaica, from Ireland, in about 1832.
Vincent married Elizabeth in 1943 in Madras, India. Their son Massy was born in 1945, in India, and their daughter Dorinda was born in 1946, in Burma.
Elizabeth’s daughter from a first marriage, Veronica (Vreni), was born in 1937 in Burma, and she became a member of the Stewart family after the Japanese occupation. In 1947, with independence imminent in Burma, Vincent no longer had work there and he returned to Jamaica to introduce his family to his mother and mark his father’s grave. In 1948, a British oil business the Burma Oil Company offered Vincent work in India and so, he and his family took the Empire Windrush from Jamaica to Tilbury. They left London on the SS Cecelia four days later and disembarked in Karachi, in the newly independent Pakistan.
In 1964, on retirement from the Burma Oil Company and its affiliated companies, Vincent became one of a team of four advisers to the Ministry of Power in London. In 1967, his registration as a British Citizen noted his ‘crown service’ to the Ministry of Power. Vincent had a Jamaican passport up until that point.
Elizabeth died in 1992 and Vincent on February 12, 2010. They both buried in St John’s Churchyard, near Guildford where they had made their home in England.