- Published: 16 April 2013 16 April 2013
Added as they appeared in the journal but listed alphabetically
Alan Ball - Owner of Tri-vector Systems, a fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Former employer of my partner John Lamb and fellow boating enthusiast; occasionally encountered boating (eg July 1983) on the Great Ouse. after successfully selling off portions of his company in June 1983. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
Acorn (Chris Curry) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.(see the entry for Clive Sinclair). A former partner of Clive Sinclair and partnered up with Herman Hauser and won the 'Microcomputer in Schools scheme with what became known as the BBC Micro. Sold up to Olivetti but lost all of his £250m fortune subsequently.
Alvey - The Alvey Programme was a British Government sponsored research program in information technology that ran from 1983 to 1987. The program was a reaction to the Japanese 5th generation computer project and the British manufacturers group that I had formed, the BMMG, were involved in supporting it.
Ashley Leggat - A former employee who unsuccessfully tried to sue Comart in July 1983 for unfair dismissal after we refused a settlement of £700. As I had incorporated full personnel and grievance procedures into our governance from the outset, I never lost a legal employment case
Barry Lock – Comart employee who transfers from Comart to Xitan in Southampton in 1983
Bill Clarke (Old Bill) - Elderly former owner and occupant of Haylings river plot cabin subsequently integrated into The Hayling View riverside moorings, gardens and croquet/bowling green.
Bob Robinson - Original Director of Comart Group subsidiary, Byte Shop London; head of that subsidiary after it had been taken over. Upon acceptance of his resignation, which I sought due to his stock and branch overdraft spiralling out of control, Russell Jacques was appointed his successor.
Bleasdale Computer Systems (Eddie Bleasdale) - A technical authority on networks and fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
British Microcomputer Manufacturers Group (BMMG) - Helen Gibbons, Secretary. A trade association of British owned and controlled micro-computer companies that I had formed to promote the UK industry. Unsuccessfully lobbied the Thatcher government for a fair industrial policy when we were fighting unfair US and Japanese competition that enjoyed preferential treatment by their government procurement policies. Instrumental in the introduction of the 'Computer in GP' and 'Computer in Dentist Schemes' sponsoring British computers and decisive in intervening to prevent IBM from taking over British Telecom. Also in preventing IBM from taking over and controlling technical standards by ensuring the industry adoption of the 7-layer ISO protocol and other open standards that lead the way foreward for the modern wide compatibility.
Bytesoft Systems Ltd - Newly formed Comart Group subsidiary following the takeover of The Byte Shop (and Computerland) intended to supply software systems as part of the new Group activities.
Byte Shop (and Computerland) - Chain of Microcomputer stores set up in the UK by Bill Cannings after the US model, taking their trading names. They were agents retailing Comart Computers in shops as far apart as Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, London and I took them over from the Official Receiver after this chain went bankrupt, assimilating them into the Comart Group and forming a national network of field service centres.
Cecil Parkinson - Took over as Trade and Industry Secretary in June 1983, and was going to be a key contact of mine in my role of computer industry leader atthe time before Thatcher abolished that department later and he then resigned the cabinet after getting his secretary, Sarah Keys, pregnant and then disclaiming her, refusing ever to meet his daughter Flora
Chrisula Jackson – Wife of Charles, my wife Diana’s brother.
Claire – First girlfriend of Daniel who came to the house swimming, entertained him with music and films at er home and spent time 'playing in the fields' with him and her friend
Clive Druett – Old ICL colleague and Cavalier Hotel annexe Stevenage flat-mate of me and Dave Whitby, both MG enthusiasts, and who was in bed with my former wife Diana at our party when we first met as single people! Clive worked for IBM and moved to Bristol later and died after suffering with leukaemia for two years in March 2003 and was survived by his wife Sue
Clive Sinclair (Sir) – Sinclair Research A fashionable, talented Cambridge-based inventor; but less capable at finance and marketing management as his designs often failed to get the acceptance he desired. Knighted by Thatcher; once partner of Chris Curry at St Ives Mill marketing electronic watches; then designer of the eccentric C5 electric car and eventually a personal computer Sinclair ZX-80, whereupon his company became eligible as a member of the BMMG, which I had founded. The journal notes on June the 19th 1983, his plans to take over the DeLorean factory in Ireland which I correctly suggest would be another folly! Represented by Nigel Searle who attended my meeting with IT minister Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
Compec- Specialist Microcomputer exhibition in the 1980’s.
Computer Weekly (Martin Banks) - leading computer newspaper published free to qualifying computer executives and a constant publisher of stories about myself, Comart and the BMMG. An emphasis on hardware.
Computing (Guy Kewney) - A leading computer newspaper published free to qualifying computer executives and a constant publisher of stories about myself, Comart and the BMMG. An emphasis on software. Died in 2008 and much missed as a pioneer of technology journalism. Also journalist 'Sean' was a contact.
Control Universal (Mr Dane) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
Cromemco – One of Comart’s earliest and most reliable suppliers of S100-based modular computer systems founded by two Stanford University post graduates living in the accommodation of their CROwthers MEMorial Hall from which the company name was taken. Comart was agents from 1977 to August 1983 and followed their fortunes from pre-eminence to decline by which time our own design and manufacturing expertise took over.
Cromwell, Oliver – Cromwell Museum, Huntingdon – The famous Huntingdonshire leader of the successful English Civil War was celebrated with museums and statues in Huntingdon and St Ives and tutored in Huntingdon School (along with Samuel Pepys - See below). The old school at Huntingdon became the Cromwell Museum with many artefacts and paintings and was visited on my boat trips from August 1983 onwards.
Dan McCarthy - Long term and trusted Air freight Shipping Agent for Comart’s imported range of Computer kits and products
Darlow (Mr) - Long term owner of The Lady (see below) and owner of Buckden Marina once met in July 1983 who told us much about the history of the boat
David Fear – Sales Director of Comart Computers Limited. Formerly of Prime Computers with experience of minicomputer sales, recruited to lead the Comart Computer Sales team later in the company's development.
David Joffrey – Service manager of Comart Computers Limited in 1983
David Owen (Dr) Baron - Owen served as BritishForeighn Secretary from 1977 to 1979, the youngest person in over forty years to hold the post. He first quit as Labour's spokesman on defence in 1972 in protest at the Labour leaderHarold Wilson's attitude to the EEC; he left the Labour Shadow Cabinet over the same issue later; and over unilateral disarmament in November 1980 when Micheal Foot became Labour leader. He resigned from the Labour Party when it rejected one member, one vote in February 1981 and later as Leader of the Social Democratic Party, which he had helped to found, after the party's rank-and-file membership voted to merge with the Liberal Party. Asone of the so-called Gang of Four, David Owen was a founder of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in January 1981 with Roy Jenkins, Bill Rogers and Shirley Williams being alarmed at the left-ward surge of The Labour Party. Roy Jenkins led the new party from March 1982 until after the 1993 General Election when Owen succeeded him unopposed. Owens was made Baron.
David Slater - Took over as manager of Comart Group subsidiary, Byte Shop Nottingham after his predecessor, John Braga, accepted the role of overall Managing Director of Byte Shop Computerland in June 1983 but struggled in that role tried to leave but was given help and training and a new management regime in July 1983.
David Whitby – Old ICL colleague of John Lamb and Stevenage flat-mate me and of Clive Druett, both MG enthusiasts, and who we last saw renovating a huge old house in Nottinghamshire in October 1983 and last heard of celebrating his 70th birthday in 2016
Derek Morgan MIPM - Dilligent Materials (purchasing) Manager of Comart Computers and former colleague of John Lamb at Trivector. Experienced procurement executive negotiating supply contracts and purchasing materials for production line and managing facilities.
Derek Weatherby FCA - Originally the Financial Director for Bill Cannings the former proprietor of the Byte Shop and Computerland computer store chain. He was ‘acquired’ with that group during bankruptcy and my takeover of it after he been retained by the Receiver to present it in the best light. He became my Financial Director of the enlarged Comart Group. Heavy smoking and drinking creative numbers man with a passion for pickled walnuts who with met with an early death some years later. Fondly Remembered
Donald Trump (born June 14, 1946) is an American businessman, television personality, author, politician, and the Republican Party nominee for the United States 2016 Presidential Election which has received extensive media coverage and international attention. Many of his statements in interviews, have been controversial and several rallies have been accompanied by protests or riots. Trump's positions include renegotiation of U.S.–China trade deals, opposition to particular trade agreements such as the TPP stronger enforcement of immigration laws together with building a wall along the US-Mexican border and tax cuts. Trump has suggested temporarily banning foreign Muslims from entering the United States, until the level of vetting can be raised to screen out potential terrorists.
Francis Pym - Lord Pym of Sandy, was one of the very few who dared to argue with prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the privacy of the cabinet. Then foreign secretary, and latterly Lord Pym, who died aged 86, was sacked as foreign secretary in 1983 and made a very brave and touching speech in the final role in which he and a long line of similar semi-patrician top Tories had failed to curb her more extreme policies.
Graham Clifton – see ‘Transam’ below
Geoff Lynch - Originally founder of innovative microcomputer software company Xitan Systems Ltd. and a prime mover in the formative years of the UK microcomputer industry, he utilised Comart computers for CP/M and other software package translations and format conversions to enable effective software distribution before standardisation became the norm. Taken over by Comart to become the MD of the Comart Group software distribution arm with a diluted 25% share of Xitan Systems Ltd. Continued with Kode after takeover after my retirement and last heard of enjoying his retirement sailing on the South Coast.
George Thomas - Made 1st Viscount Tonypandy, after completing a popular and able stint as Speaker of The House of Commons. Thomas George Thomas was a British Labour Party politician born in Port Talbot, Wales, he initially worked as a teacher in both London and Cardiff. After his death, it was revealed that he was homosexual and had suffered blackmail in the days before this was legalised
Gemini Computers (John Marshall) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. John was a BMMG Council member and assisted with the recruitment of new members and the Minister's meeting in July 1983 in the absence of Vice-Chairman Nigel Smith
Gerry Arch - Stalwart Production Supervisor at Comart Computers, always airing grievances nervously on behalf of his workers as his lip twitched but a very caring man.
Haylings (The) (The Hayling View) – The riverside footpath (corruption of ‘The Haulings’); formerly the tow path of the River Great Ouse navigation that then served as a very useful and scenic riverside path from the Paper Mill Lock to Buckden. Also divided the riverside garden of our house (after which it was named) from the house itself. This house was disassembled into its component parts around 2010 and the games (tennis/croquet) lawn divided up, swimming pool and conservatory koi carp pools filled in.
Ian (Roger) Nickson (Ian) - Comart Engineering Director responsible for the Design and Development of all new Comart Computer products, Production Engineering and packaging designs and Quality Assurance. Very technically-able engineer and manager successfully overviewing innovation of a fast changing technology and key colleague, with John Lamb, of assisting me to stay abreast of technical and marketing developments in the Microcomputer Industry at a time when we were leaders in the field. Another heavy smoking and drinking creative man but, like Derek Weatherby, they blamed me for always keeping them under so much pressure! Moved to Wiltshire after I sold the company to Kode.
Inter Company Comparison (ICC) - Service company that polled industry sectors and reported trends by ratio analysis. They reported Comart as the No1 growth micro-computer company in the early 1980's
International Computer Ltd (ICL) - Largest UK mainframe computer company that sponsored my degree education and provided my industrial training. Once I had formed my own company, and the BMMG, was a fellow manufacturer and their MD, Mr Rob Wilmott, a colleague and contact of mine. Michael Edwards took over as Chairman in September 1983.
Investors in Industry (III) – (Tony Diment) - Public Sector equity finance organisation who sought advice from me when in my Microcomputer Industry Leadership Role in September 1983
Jane Dards – Xitan Systems executive under Geoff Lynch making US liaison trips in 1983
Jim Attfield - Original Director of Comart Group subsidiary, Byte Shop Computerland Birmingham; head of that subsidiary after it had been taken over.
Joan – Long term cleaner for Diana and I at The Hayling View in the 1980’s
John Lamb – Business Partner, No 2 and Co-founder of Comart. Formerly ICL and TI micro-computer technical support colleague and original £1k investor with 1/7th ownership starting with me as the organiser of assembly out-work, then Marketing Manager and Marketing Director with responsibility also for Customer Service before finally becoming Comart Computers Managing Director, remaining behind when Comart was sold up to Kode International PLC after which he moved with his wife Beth and family to their head office at Calne in Wiltshire. Became computer industry consultant thereafter before retiring around 2008..
June Hamilton – Secretary/Personal Assistant to myself and one of the earliest employees of Comart. lightening fast at shorthand/typing and very capable at drafting and writing correspondence, June was very much my 'Right Hand Girl' with a close personal, but resepctful, chemistry, maximising my capability and efficiency'. Her assistance with Personnel matters (particularly with female staff) and administration allowed me to retain personal responsibility for the Human Relations function until nearly the end of my involvement.
John Major MP (the Rt Hon), Norma, Elizabeth and James - local MP for Huntingdon and parent of children at Kimbolton School. Known to me before he was selected to lead the Conservative Party and become Prime Minister. His daughter Elizabeth was a classmate of my son Daniel and also a stable mate of Debbie at Offord Fitzpatrick Riding School ; helping Debbie prepare her pony 'Sundance' for pony club events and gymkhanas. His wife Norma was a 'pony mum', like me! Norma and Elizabeth hated the publicity and everybody winced 'Poor Norma' when John's appointment was announced. By this time I had become the campaign organiser of the Liberal Democrats but we remained friendly as families. Nobody suspected that he was having an affair with Edwina Curry, his Agricultural Minister! Widely seen as a rather un-spectacular man, his main talents were a photographic memory with which he could store and recall amazing detail about people he met. Always keen on sport (an MCC Lords member and cricket enthusiast) later, after the 2016 Olympics, his role in developing the National Lottery for aiding and funding Britain's successful Olympic team should be recognised as his main positive legacy.
Jones (L.H. and Mick) - Very helpful and friendly principal boat yard St Ives on the Great Ouse and run at the time by a second generation family member Mick Jones; offering boat hire, boat borkerage, chandlery, fuel and repairs and servicing
Joshua NKomo - Zapu Party, Zimbabwe - Formerly imprisoned by white 'Rhodesian' leader, Ian Smith, Joshua as leader of the ZAPU party and his great rival Mugabe, party leader of Zapu were fierce political opponents after independence and Joshua never became President and then died in 1999. He had returned to Zimbabwe in 1983 as a big event
Keston, Tony - Information and Technology Ministry official who paved the way for ministerial meetings in July 1983. Subsequently advised us in October 1983 on how to get grants for UK computers via the ‘Pre-production ordering Scheme’ and requested stem loan to Kingston Micro Systems Centre, another ministry initiative.
Kalamzoo (Mr Humpidge) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
Kenneth (Ken) Baker – (latterly Sir and then Lord) - Information and Technology Minister in Thatcher's government and supporter of the Computer Industry as far as her ideology would allow. Formerly a Logica (Computer Systems House) Consultant; one of the few people in the Conservative Party who understood the industry and supported the Civil Servants who were sympathetic to our causes. A contact of mine (who celebrated the same birthday but over a decade earlier!) who was instrumental in gaining us a personal audience with Thatcher at the height of the disputes and differences. Met the BMMG with officials in July 1983 with promised of support for the UK microcomputer industry. He eventually took over as Education Secretary where he has become known for implementing the teacher training or 'Baker' days. Met us with officials Mr Ed Carmichael, Mr Tony Keston and Dr Loveland in July 1983 . In just three years, Baker introduced the national curriculum, Sats, league tables, grant-maintained schools and city technology colleges, the forerunner of today's academies, and gave school heads and governors control over their own budgets. He thinks his biggest mistake as education secretary was failing to extend the school day by an hour in his 1988 Education Act; others believe all of his reforms were disasters.
Kimbolton School - Local private school favoured by better-off families living in the west Cambridgeshire area. Daniel the first of our children to go there at age 13, struggling to fit in after local state schooling; Debbie followed at her age 11 and Della started via the Kimbolton Preparatory School at 8. The school was projected to fame and preferment (with vastly increased fees) when local MP and school parent John Major was selected to lead the Conservative Party and become Prime minister. His daughter Elizabeth was a classmate of Daniel and also a stable mate of Debbie at Offord; helping Debbie prepare her pony 'Sundance' for pony club events and gymkhanas. His wife Norma was a 'pony mum', like me! Norma and Elisabeth hated the publicity and everybody winced 'Poor Norma' when John's appointment was announced. By this time I had become the campaign organiser of the Liberal Democrats but we remained friendly as families.
Khaki Campbell ducks - Delightful cross breed of the Indian Runner duck with another species successful in delivering up to 200 eggs per year each. I raised a dozen from chicks and developed an amazing regime with them, whereby they were released on to the river after 11am each day and then rounded up at dusk to lay their eggs overnight in a house dubbed 'Duck City'. As people feed ducks, very little food was needed and they regularly laid large dark-yellow-yolked eggs which were sold to some very keen and regular customers. They could be left on the river to fend for themselves when we were away or on holiday.
Jim Prior - Although he was in the cabinet of Margaret Thatcher (1979-81) as employment minister, he disagreed with some of her views on trade unions and her monetarist economic policies generally. This made him a leader of the so-called "wet" faction in the Conservative Party.
Ken Goddard, - The Comart PC Product Sales Executive handling Tecmar products and other items that proved unsatisfactory and received warnings and then left the company in July 1983
Lady (The) – Single Perkins 4108-engined, 33ft OAL slight draft vessel owned and enjoyed by myself and the Broad family in the 1980's. Originally named 'Merdeke' (a form of Malaysian mahogany) and owned by a Mr Darlow of Buckden marina for many years. This wooden-super-structured GRP-hulled Banhams-made cruiser (which company became Eylsian at the 'Babylon' island in Ely) and was the prototype built in 1968/9 by Banhams for the 'Discovery' class 33ft and 35ft range of sliding roof cruisers that became very popular on the Great Ouse, Thames and other waterways where a 10ft 4-6ins beam was also a restriction. She gave way to our new boat 'The Paxton Princess' later in the '80's.
Livingstone, Ken – Leader of the Labour Greater London Council during the Thatcher period, then abolished for political reasons as Ken was a thorn in her side, strongly critical of her economic policies in the 1980’s
Leon Brittain – Home Secretary under Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher in the 1980’s
Louise Busby – (‘Lou’; ‘Lulu’) - Very tall, striking and much younger former Liberal Democrat district councillor colleague and then girl-friend, fiancée and life partner for two seven year periods: First mate of Lady Martina during extensive European cruises, co-founder of the Broom Owners club, co-volunteer at the Cruising Association, co-author of the Inland Waterways of the Netherlands. Very able computer user and webmaster, being talented in computer application skills, then moved to the north east to teach Mathematics but latterly moved back to Norfolk and took over as head of Marketing and Communications at Broom Boats Ltd in Brundall for a while before her redundancy. Continued post-relationship with me as a platonic dancing friend and close companion; generously assisting in the creation of the davidabroad web site as a vehicle for publishing these journals and exploits.
Lynch Geoff – (see Xitan) - One of the original microcomputer industry entrepreneurial pioneers, importing magazines and software and an early customer of Comart Computers using them for converting between the numerous disc formats prevalent in the early days before standardisation. Joined Comart Group as Xitan Systems Limited, retaining a personal 25% shareholding and then became a regional Byte Shop and MicroServe centre as part of overall national coverage.
Margaret (‘Maggie’) Thatcher – Right wing and anti-interventionist daughter of a Grantham Shop-keeper who qualified as an industrial chemist and then turned tax avoidance lawyer and Prime Minister who formed a ‘free-market ‘government unsympathetic to calls for a fair industrial policy when we were fighting unfair US and Japanese competition that enjoyed preferential treatment by their government procurement policies. Vilified moderate members of her own party led by Jim Prior, whom she dubbed ‘Wets’ and took an aversion to me personally when I led computer industry delegations to Westminster and Downing Street in the mid 1980’s. Her policies led to the de-industrialisation of Britain and closure of coal mines, steel works and ship-building yards. He became very unpopular but revived her fortunes by provoking a Falklands War until she came increasingly isolated by falling out with colleagues and came badly unstuck by refusing to reconsider the Poll Tax.
Marilyn – Cute and warm but somewhat naïve blonde wife of a neighbouring Tesco Director in Willow Close Little Paxton , who was friendly with us and came dancing on occasion in October 1983. Also kept ducks and rabbits on the riverside Haylings which became a nuisance and had to be culled!
Marilyn del Pozzo – Lifelong friend of Diana, mother of Gemma, friend of our daughters
Marshall, John – see Gemini Computer Systems above
Menachen, Begin – Leader of Israel until the end of August 1893, whose retirement raised false hopes for the ending of Israeli settlements in occupied
Micro-Forecast - Emerging microcomputer newspaper in the early 1980's that published articles and news on me, Comart and the BMMG.
Monck, General George – The English general who restored Britain’s parliament in the spring of 1660 after the demise of Cromwell featured by portrait in Huntingdon Museum. He was a friend and had fought at Cromwell’s side in the Battle of Dunbar and had conquered Scotland a decade earlier and was its military governor under the Commonwealth and Protectorate since 1651. He came to command all of the Parliamentary forces and then his march to London in early 1660 was featured in Samuel Pepy’s earliest diaries and he came to command all of Britain’s land and sea forces under Charles IInd.
National Computing Centre - (NCC) - Director, David Fairburn Recognised Manchester-based national organisation advising government on computers and computing. Constant friend of the UK industry and proponent of assistance. I sat as a delegate on the main advisory body on behalf of Comart and the BMMG. We endorsed the NCC directory in return for editorial control,
National Economic Development office (NEDO) ('Neddy' and its committees 'Little Neddies')- Once central pillars of government economic and industrial policy prior to the adoption of Conservative 'free market' policies that the BMMG and its members was represented on in the person of Nigel Smith, Vice-Chairman
Nigel Mansell - New British Formula One Racing driver who arrives as a big white hope and earns his first placing points in the August 1983 Dutch Grand Prix
Nigel Searle was the MD of Sinclair Research Ltd. and one of the company's longest-serving employees. He joined Sinclair Radionics in 1973, and for most of the 1970s, Searle worked for Sinclair in the United States to promote the company's calculators and other products. In 1977, with Sinclair in financial trouble, Searle left the company. He rejoined in 1979 when Sir Clive Sinclair formed Science of Cambridge (later renamed Sinclair Research) and continued to work from the US, successfully promoting the ZX80 and ZX81 personal computers. In spring 1982, he moved back to the United Kingdom as Sinclair's managing director, a post he retained until 1986 when Amstrad took over the company's computer business. Nigel was Clive's representative during the meetings i organised for the BMMG with ministers.
Nigel Smith - Friend and business associate first met when I was forming the BMMG when he was Managing Director and owner of Modus and then Tensor Computers, designing and manufacturing micro-computers for his company's control systems. He became my BMMG Vice Chairman and then took over as Chairman later. Introduced me to shooting and other field sports and remains a close friend to this day, my being Godfather to his children.
Nigel Lawson – Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Thatcher government in the 1980’s as he supervised spending cuts and shrank industry and privatised state owned companies.
Old Bill (see ‘Bill’ above)
Paxton Princess – Formerly 'The Rolyat Princess' was named after the first owner (Mr Taylor, his name being reversed, so he wanted to retain its name after sale) was specially built for the Great Ouse as one of two by Barnes Brinkcraft in Wroxham. Made by cutting in two an Aquafibre 37 hull and removing the central section, its beam was reduced to 10ft 4ins but this very low water freeboard meant that sea work was difficult due to handling and taking in water from air intakes. Bought after The Lady was sold and kept before the more specialised Lady Martina was eventually acquired, it was twin-engined and with a lowering radar arch, wide deck and pulpit/push-pit rails and other navigation aids, it was nevertheless seaworthy and gave us our first trips out of the Wash at Kings Lynn and eventually back to its origins of the Norfolk Broads.
Philippines – Ferdinand Marcos/ Benigno Aquino – the conflict came to a head in August 1983, after Aquino (who had challenged Marcos in the 1973 election and then been falsely accused of murder and then saved in exile by the US) returned to the country on August 21st. Despite death threats he was inspired by the example of Ghandi and determined to use non-violent means, but he was shot dead by three police officers on arrival at the airport thus starting a campaign to depose Marcos which eventually succeeded two years later.
Pifco – Electrical PLC whose Chairman wanted to invest in our Byte Shop subsidiary in August 1983, but whose overtures were rejected.
Pearson (Mrs) - My son Daniel's school teacher at Little Paxton Primary School; at first considered unsuccessful in helping Daniel with his dyslexia but then successful in helping him achieve entrance to Kimbolton School via the Entrance Examination
Peter King - Very successful original Director of Comart Group subsidiary, Byte Shop/Computerland Manchester; head of that subsidiary after it had been taken over. Moved with his wife Jane down to Cambridgeshire in October 1983 after taking over as successor to John Braga in July 1983 as Managing Director of The Byte Shop Computerland Chain. We subsequently met many years later when he was the leader of a Young Business Group in Cambridgeshire.
Peter Wood - Sales Executive brought in by Comart Computers Sales Director David Fear in July 1983.
Plessey Microsystems (Henry Goldstein) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
Pope (Pope John Paul II (1920 – 2005) - was the first Polish Pope and lived through the Nazi occupation of Poland. The sufferings of his people during the Second World War and later under Communism left a powerful mark on his later activities and opinions. During his papacy Pope John Paul II sought to normalise relations with Communist Russia and urged the Berlin Wall to be brought down. Pope John Paul first visited Poland, to a rapturous reception in 1979. He avoided any overt controversy but emphasised cooperation between the State and the Church. Throughout the 1980s Pope John Paul placed a keen eye on events in Eastern Europe, expressing support for Solidarity, the Polish opposition to Communism. Under the leadership of Mikhail Gorbachev it was clear that the Soviet Union was undergoing profound economic and political change through his policies of Glasnost and Perestroika. There was a marked thaw in relations between the Kremlin and the Vatican, which in previous decades had been antagonistic.
Prickwillow - Riverside village on the River Lark; place where we often stopped overnight and where we bought a pottery Great Crested Grebe
Rair (Howard Sales) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
Robin Pimlott – Took over from Peter King as manager of the Byte Shop/Computerland subsidiary in Manchester in September 1983
Roger and Murial - One time neighbours of ours in Gordon Road, Little Paxton.
Roger Brittain FCA - One-time managing partner of Whitmarsh Sterland, a St Neots firm of Chartered Accountants and company accountant to Comart and personal accountant and family trustee to myself. Continued to act far beyond his retirement as my family trustee until my youngest child, Daniella, attained the age of 25. Prominent as the Treasurer of the Kimbolton School Society and with children at the school, and with local family connections to farming and retail interests, Roger was always a sound source of advice and constant confident concerning my financial affairs. Invited by me to invest in one of the Comart Video training companies, I ensured that he was re-reimbursed when it failed.
Roy Jenkins - As one of the so-called Gang of Four, Roy Jenkins was a founder of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) in January 1981 with David Owen, Bill Rogers and Shirley Williams being alarmed at the left-ward surge of The Labour Party. During the 1983 election campaign his position as the prime minister designate for the SDP-Liberal Alliance was questioned by his close colleagues, as his campaign style was now regarded as ineffective; the Liberal Leader, David Steel, was considered to have a greater rapport with the electorate. He led the new party from March 1982 until after the 1993 General Election when Owen succeeded him unopposed. Jenkins was disappointed with Owen's move to the right, and his acceptance and backing of some of Thatcher's policies. He continued to serve as SDP Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead until his defeat at the 1987 General Election by the Labour candidate George Galloway
Russ Wilmott – ‘Side-kick’ of Geoff Lynch and technician at Xitan Systems Ltd, latterly appointed as acting Manager of The Byte Shop, Southampton, when integrated into The Comart Group as a Byte Shop chain subsidiary.
Russel Jacques - Originally the Assistant Manager, a young and enthusistic executive who took over the Comart Group subsidiary, Byte Shop London in July 1983 as successor to Bob Robinson.
Samuel Pepys - From St Brides Parish in London but brought up with an Aunt in Brampton, educated in Huntingdon School and called into service by his richer relative, the Earl of Hinchinbrook (who become the Earl of sandwich), this able administrator, who helped reform The Navy Board (and thus lay the foundations for the Royal Navy and pre-eminence of Britain in the colonial world), was also a rascal in his private life and wrote frankly of his exploits to inspire the writer into doing much the same! He wanted to be known for his music but his compositions were frankly poor. However, his determination to celebrate each day after his dangerous operation (and so to write about his life and experiences) and his fortune to witness the Reformation, The Great Plague and Great Fire of London made his reputation as a diarist to surpass Evelyn and others.
Scargil, Arthur – President of the National Union of Mineworkers and leader of the ill-fated opposition to PM Thatcher’s pit closure policies in the 1980’s, which were supressed with riot control police and strong-arm tactics when very government was threatened. Subsequently as a broken man after the demise of a broken union, embarrassingly in dispute in the 2010’s with his own union over his alleged lifetime right to live free in their London flat
Shelton Instruments (Chris Shelton) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
SICOB – French computer exhibition held annually in Paris in the 1980’s
Steel, David – Leader of the Liberal Party in the 1980’s before its amalgamation with the Social Democrats to eventually become the Liberal Democrats
Systime (Nick Willard) - A former system house and then a fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
Tandon – A type of hard disk drive that succeeded Shugart and was used on Comart Communicator products until superseded in August 1983
Tebbuts - A timber yard in St Neots from which I used to buy wood for my projects when living in Little Paxton, including my famous 'Duck City'.
Tecmar - A US company with Mart Alpert as president making IMB PC add-ons that Comart represented in the UK in July 1983 that proved very unreliable
Tidswell, Tony- Employed as Comart company pathfinder for sales in the Middle East in August 1983
Tomblins - The (John and Brenda, son David, Becky) - Close neighbours and friends of the family; often at our parties and sharing use of our swimming pool and riverside aspect as David used to play with Daniel, and Becky with Della. Prominent members of the St Neots Evangelical Church and schoolteachers by profession. Feature in our 1984 Christmas video.
Torch Computers - Originally a private company and member of the BMMG that I founded owned by Peter Vlienland-Body and his sidekick Martin that was taken over by Lord Weinstock of GEC for 75% of the company in July 1983. They paid £2-3M and thus bought out Newmarket Capital
Fitzpatrick, Tom - Managing Director and owner of LSI, a microcomputer manufacturing company and member of the BMMG. Characterised by his calls for active government intervention before successfully selling off portions of his company in June 1983.
Transam (Graham Clifton) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Took over BMMG responsibility for security aspects of export controls at my request and attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
U-Microcumputers (Bill Unsworth) - A fellow micro-computer manufacturer that joined the BMMG after I had founded it. Attended the meeting with Kenneth Baker in July 1983.
United Electronic Holdings (UEH) - Original partial investor in the Byte Shop/Computerland Chain that held a 25% option on taking over the Byte Shop until Ibought them out when successfully selling the Comart Group in July 1984
Waits Quay (The) - A favourite off-river mooring in St Ives, from which we could visit the town and the St Ivo swimming pool
Williams & Co (Mr Axe) – London trade mark and patent agents that advised me when consolidating my Comart Group names and trading styles in late 1983
Wyse Technology - United States manufacturer of videos for whom the Comart Group distributed their products in the UK.
Xitan, Xitan Systems Ltd - (pronounced 'Zitan', see Geoff Lynch). Original microcomputer software company founded by Geoff Lynch, a prime mover in the formative years of the UK microcomputer industry. Xitan utilised Comart computers for CP/M and other software package translations and format conversions to enable effective software distribution before standardisation became the norm. Taken over by Comart to become the part of the Comart Group as its software distribution arm and then used as a base in Southampton as a Byte Shop and Microserve (Comart Field Service) base. where Russ Wilmott became the Acting Byte Shop of the new Byte Shop Southampton