THE former chairman and general manager of Rolls-Royce in Scotland, Mr

William J. Miller -- the man who saved the company's existence north of

the Border -- has died in Glasgow. He was 93.

An Edinburgh man, William Miller was chief quality engineer at the

Scottish end of Rolls-Royce during the Second World War, when 26,000

people were mainly involved in turning out Merlin engines for Spitfires,

Hurricanes, and Lancasters at Hillington and associated factories.

By the end of the war, when he had been promoted to general manager,

the workforce had been trimmed back to 15,000. That was when he was

faced with an instruction from the Derby headquarters which he was not

prepared to carry out: dismiss the remaining workers and close the

Scottish operation. Miller himself was guaranteed a plum job at Derby.

During the war, Rolls-Royce had merely operated the Scottish factories

on behalf of the Government and did not want to absorb them into the

peacetime plans.

But William Miller set about convincing his Derby bosses that there

was a function for the company in Scotland.

In the face of further hostility, he put his own future on the line by

taking his case to the Air Ministry in London. It was convinced Miller

was right and eventually he was allowed to retain 1800 jobs.

By the time Rolls-Royce became a Scottish operator in its own right,

in April 1947, he had saved 4200 jobs.

The Cold War and the Korean conflict strengthened his case and, by the

early 1960s, he had achieved his goal of restoring all 15,000 jobs in

Scotland. Factories stretched from Hillington to Blantyre, Larkhall,

Cardonald, and East Kilbride, which became Scotland's first wholly

jet-engine factory.

As a boy in Edinburgh, his inventive skills had produced his own

telegraph and telephone (complete with answering machine).

Back from the First World War, he had followed a BSc degree at

Edinburgh with an apprenticeship at Daimler in Coventry. In the 1930s he

was given the task of building a staff to produce Blenheim bombers for

the Bristol Aircraft Company and then moved to defence production with

de Havilland.

William Miller's vision put him ahead of his time. As boss of

Rolls-Royce -- and long before we had heard of the Japanese practice --

he was tackling the psychological problems of retired workers by

bringing them back for one day a week so that they would still feel part

of the organisation.

His own talents were passed on to his two sons. After working with

Rolls-Royce, Bill made an early entry to electronics by founding

Prestwick Circuits, which has become a world leader in its own field.

Eric, his other son, became chairman of the same company.

Mr Miller lived in his home in Giffnock until recently, when he moved

into a nursing home.