Thomas Raymond Thompson (TRT)

Thomas Raymond Thompson (TRT)


Known within J Lyons & Co simply as TRT, he was one of the giants of the LEO enterprise. 

The Lyons Mail published an appreciation of TRT in its April 1976 issue. This can be found in the Warwick University Simmons archive filed as 383-S4-14-2-9.jpg.

The Lyons Journal published a personality profile of T.R. Thompson in August 1961 (available on request). 

TRT is cited in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The entry was written by Peter Bird. To see a preview of the entry, visit the dictionary's website.

Please Note: This item is not in our collection and is included here for signposting purposes only.

Professor Frank Land wrote of his recollections of TRT for the LEO Computers Society's newsletter, LEO Matters, (Recollections of TRT, Spring 2020, volume 7, pp10-11).

The IT History Society includes a profile of TRT.

David Caminer, in a handwritten note on John Simmons and TRT penned before the Guildhall Conference, adds: "Thompson was a very different personality from John Simmons. He was a very able organiser and an enthusiastic disciple. He had been Simmons’ right-hand man for more than 20 years. He was an enthusiast for what he was engaged upon and his enthusiasm was infectious. He and Simmons were an optimally matched pair: Simmons quiet and chill, Thompson sometimes noisy and often ebullient. 

His speed of uptake was phenomenal. How much of the report of the seminal report of the trip to America came from him and how much from Standingford is not known, but his agile mind was certainly capable of picking it up all by himself. Frequently he raced ahead of anyone explaining something to him and became impatient if the other person didn’t keep up with him. He would put himself in the front row before the computer staff explaining  the construction or programming of the machine and could always be relied upon to jump out of his chair after a few minutes and declare ‘ What you mean to say is this!’ Sometimes he was right, but not always.  

His quick uptake and blatant enthusiasm meant that Thompson quite unconsciously thought that he was more responsible for some new ideas than he really was. Sometimes this was resented but more often the engineer or systems or programming person responsible was more than happy that the idea would now be carried forward with Thompson’s fire and energy behind it.

If he had a fault it was insensitivity. He had come from a humble background and was proud of his success, but he couldn’t quite understand that members of his staff could also be naturally bright without having been to Cambridge. …

He was equally .. about everything he did whether it was bridge or rugby or amateur dramatics. In the senior dining room in which he lunched he was well-known for ‘Thompson’s Laws of England.’"

Stan Evans, former LEO engineer recalls: "One memory of TRT was in the middle of a nasty engineering fault on LEO I he came down and quite rightly wanted to know our progress. We had been down 3 hours by then. He suggested you go into the work shop, have a cup of tea, switch off for 5 mins then recap the problem. Needless to say it worked. We were up again in 20 mins. A lesson I used many many times later on in my career."




Photograph of Thomas Raymond Thompson (TRT) Click for a larger version

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