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I was born and raised in a small village called Blackhall, in the suburbs of Edinburgh, in Scotland. I remained there until I joined the Army in 1952 and underwent 3 years intensive training, in Electronics and normal academic subjects, at the Army Apprentices College, in Harrogate Yorkshire. When my training was complete, I joined the Royal Corps of Signals as a Radio Engineer and spent time in Germany, Singapore, Malaya, Aden, Libya and finally UK. Much of my Army service was spent teaching electronics at Royal Signals’ Training establishments, in various parts of the world.
When I left the Army, in 1967, I decided to settle in Richmond, North Yorkshire and initially worked for a local Radio and TV firm, managing their repair workshop. I soon tired of this work and decided to set up my own business, repairing Photographic equipment and doing contract electronic design. Eventually the cost of repairing cameras etc. became uneconomic so I closed that side of the business and concentrated on electronic design, for local firms.
One of the most fascinating projects I undertook, involved the design of robotic inspection and welding devices and their control equipment. The robots were used to carry out inspections on the interior of steam generator assemblies on nuclear submarines.
Another of my projects was the design of the evidential Breath Analyser, used by the police, in UK, for testing drivers suspected of being ‘drunk in charge’
In 1989, one of the firms for whom I had been carrying out a considerable amount of work, offered me the position of design manager. I accepted their offer and remained with them until I retired in June 2002.
The firm for which I ultimately worked, is mainly involved in the design and production of Gas Monitoring Instrumentation, for a range of toxic and flammable gases, associated with industrial and health and safety applications. They also provide electronic instrumentation for monitoring deep sea divers, both when working undersea, and connected by umbilical links, to their mother ship, and when undergoing decompression, in chambers on board the ship. Most of the diver monitoring was carried out using measuring instruments connected to PCs. No two applications were the same and I spent a great deal of time, writing the software for these datalogging and monitoring systems.
Since we designed and manufactured all our own instruments, I also spent much of my time designing the printed circuit boards for the instruments. I found this to be a very satisfying part of my work.