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In Memory

William James Darch

William James Darch

William James Darch
                                  - February 7, 2014


Darch, William James - Originally from Miskin Rd, Trealaw, Rhondda [in Wales] and latterly of Meadow Rise, Swansea in Wales] has passed away, after a short illness, on Jan 20, 2014.

He lived a very full life, having represented Wales playing rugby in 1945 and gaining a PHd in Cardiff University in 1949. Most of his career was spent working for BP building several refineries, and then heading the department responsible for, all of their refineries worldwide during the 1970s and, most significantly, he was President of the consortium that built the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

He was the beloved husband of the late Kath, the ‘old-man’ always to Paul and Joce and dear Grampy to Owen, Jo Mike, Alex and Daniel.

The funeral takes place on Friday Feb 7, 2014 at 12.30pm at the Guildford Crematorium.

Family flowers only but donations to Alzheimer’s Research UK through: J. Gorringe & Son Farncombe, Godalming, GU7 3EF.

Published in the Media Wales Group on 6th February 2014 (Distributed in Wales)


Bill Darch who led the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline. and played rugby for Cardiff and Wales. Bill is pictured with his international Cap

A former Wales rugby player who led the construction of the trans-Alaska pipeline has died.

Dr William James Darch died aged 90 last month, after a short illness.

He played for Wales in 1945 and last November the WRU awarded special presidents’ caps to 25 players who played in non-test matches, including Dr Darch. “

He was one of a kind,” Jocelyn Darch, 56, said of her father, who grew up in the Rhondda. “My father came from very humble beginnings but he was really smart and a great sportsman.”

Dr Darch obtained a degree and PhD from Cardiff University in the 1940s before he went to work for BP.

He started his career at Llandarcy Oil Refinery and worked his way up. During his career, he commissioned BP refineries in Australia, Toronto and Montreal, travelling with his family in tow.

“The weather was so cold [in Canada] that he had to overcome all sorts of problems to keep the oil flowing through the pipes,” said his daughter. “His solutions were quite innovative and he became a pretty big expert in refineries.”

After this, Dr Darch became the head of BP’s world-wide refineries, which led him to become president of the consortium that built the trans-Alaska pipeline – one of the world’s largest pipeline systems, running 800 miles from wells at Prudhoe Bay to the port of Valdez.

“At one point, they had to change the design because the environmentalists said it was blocking the annual migration path of the caribou,” added Ms Darch. “Now, the pipeline is the only manmade object that can be seen from space apart from the Great Wall of China.”

Aside from his professional life, Dr Darch’s daugthter said he was “always full of fun” and a great sportsman.

He enjoyed a 50-year marriage to his beloved wife Kath, who passed away around 10 years ago and will be missed by his children Jocelyn and Paul as well as grandchildren Owen, Jo, Mike, Alex and Daniel. . 

Published in WalesOnline on 17 February, 2014

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04/11/15 10:21 AM #1    

Larry Motschenbacher

William John Darch lived in Trealaw, in Miskin Road. He was an all-round sportsman, playing cricket and rugby, but was also outstanding in athletics.

As a schoolboy he played rugby for East Glamorgan as scrum-half to Bleddyn Williams. He left the school in 1940 to study chemistry at Cardiff where he obtained a doctorate.

During his rugby career he played for Cardiff and Aberavon as scrum-half. Billy Darch played with some of the great names in Welsh rugby, namely Jack Matthews, Bleddyn Williams and Billy Cleaver.

He played for Wales in the first of the so-called Victory internationals against France when caps were not awarded. His partnership with Cleaver, another Rhondda product, was very popular with the Cardiff Arms Park crowd.

He played in 68 official fixtures between 1945-46 and 1948-49 scoring 10 tries.

Later he occupied one of the highest posts in the B.P. company.

 Photojournalist Deryck Lewis

04/11/15 11:01 AM #2    

Larry Motschenbacher

Henry Mowell, right, vice president of operations for Alyeska, turns over the first barrel of oil from the pipeline to Alyeska President William Darch during ceremonies, Friday, July 29, 1977, Valdez, Alaska.











Published by Madson.com on March 27, 2015. 

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