Dukes, Frederick Ernest (‘Fred’) (1912–98), engineer and campanologist, was born 23 May 1912 in Inchicore, Dublin, eldest of two sons and one daughter of George Dukes, railway foreman, originally of Staffordshire, then Dublin, and Mary Elizabeth (‘Lillie’) Dukes (née Erskine), of Dublin, who married (6 June 1911) in St George's church. Dukes was educated in Dublin at Lindsay Road national school, the Diocesan School, and Bolton Street Technical College, and then apprenticed as electrical engineer in the Broadstone and Inchicore works of the Great Southern Railways, Dublin, 1928–33. His career as an engineer began with Great Southern Railways, Cork (1933–6), and continued at Broadstone, Dublin (1936–44), and the Great Northern Railways, Dundalk (1944 to mid 1950s); and he was finally employed by Goulding's Fertilisers, Dublin, till retirement in the 1970s. A respected engineer, he graduated (C.Eng.) from the Institution of Electrical Engineers in 1937, and among many achievements became a chartered member of that institution in 1966 and a fellow in 1969. He was an active member of the Electro-Technical Council of Ireland after retirement, contributing to developing European standards in electrical technology.
Widely renowned as Ireland's leading campanologist, Dukes devoted his life to bellringing, which he first learned on the ring of eight bells at St George's church, Dublin, from age 16. He rang in St Fin Barre's cathedral, Cork, and then returned to St George's belfry in 1936, also ringing regularly at St Patrick's cathedral, and occasionally Christ Church cathedral. He was ringing master both of St George's, Dublin, and St Peter's Church of Ireland, Drogheda, where he also served as vestryman, churchwarden, and organist. Known nationally and internationally as a ringing instructor, and an expert adviser for restoration and repair projects, he was made an honorary life member of the international Central Council of Church Bell Ringers; he was also elected life member of the Irish Association of Change Ringers in 1959, and served as its secretary (1941–84) and treasurer (1985–9). His lifelong dedication to bellringing is attested to by the extensive collection of papers he bequeathed to the RCB Library, Dublin. This includes detailed notebooks about every bell and tower in Ireland, north and south; ringing books, in which he recorded peals and other ringing combinations, together with details of the towers and other locations where each was rung; extensive correspondence; rubbings of inscriptions; and other miscellaneous items. As well as his editing (1951–87) of Irish Bell News, which he established, Dukes's book Campanology in Ireland (1994) remains the definitive work on the subject.
He was also a prominent member of the Church of Ireland at parish and diocesan level, serving as a diocesan synodsman for the diocese of Armagh. His principal residences were Woodfield Terrace, Inchicore, and Connaught St., Phibsborough, in Dublin, and Meadow Cottage, Julianstown, Co. Meath. He married (3 June 1941) Annie Henrietta (‘Rita’) Cox, RGN, SCM, daughter of John and Helena Cox of Portarlington, Co. Laois; they had a son and daughter. He died at Drogheda 27 December 1998.