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Don Beckett

Page history last edited by Ian Gillis 6 years, 1 month ago



Tributes - March 2018


From Alan Matthews:
I was very sad to hear that Don has died.
I first met him at Radar Development Group Broomfield in 1955 when I was posted there as part of my apprenticeship.
We all later went to Baddow where Don worked for Eric Atkins and designed what was then the fastest core store in the world.
He and Derek Jeffries then built some logic round it to test it and found they had designed a very fast computer which later became Myriad.
I also knew Don as a very good violinist who played in the Essex Symphony Orchestra.
Later he became the Company Quality manager and often helped me to legally massage various Company Documentation which could have stopped some of my jobs in their tracks.
Don was a kind, quiet, pragmatic, sympathetic, friend, who was always there to help and not hinder progress in the execution of his always tricky quality role.
My sympathy goes out to all his family but I’m afraid they don’t make them like that any more.

From Ian Gillis:
I started to write that I didn’t have all that much to do with Don in a business sense; then I realised that he had used his charm to progress difficult Quality problems in a way that was scarcely noticeable. Goodbye, Don, you were one of the good guys that made working for MRSL such a pleasant way of being poor in Essex…

From Robin Webb:
Sorry to hear about the passing of Don.
When I started work for MRSL at Rivenhall he was in the display room along with Tom Perkins and Doug Brown. Fond memories.

From Nigel Cutmore:
Don was a true gentleman I knew him for many years he was always kind and courteous and helpful at work but I mostly remember his his incredible musicianship which he was so modest about. I heard him play at many time with the Essex Symphony Orchestra - a true delight - thank you Don.

From Brian Partridge:
Very sad news. Don was a great guy to work with and was part of the team under Eric Atkins which produced the first desk computer. The original object was to investigate high speed logic and storage for possible future use. The way this happened was by setting up a  team to try and make a small computer using what were called micro circuits. Don created a ferrite core store, Derek worked how to make an arithmetic system 24 bits long as well as starting to write some programmes and I had the task of creating the control circuits to implement a set of instructions specified by the maths department. The result was IMP  " I speed Miniature Processor " . There was great surprise by senior management when we showed this off dealing with teleprinter messages. Don carried on the store work by designing bigger and faster stores used in Myriad. Those were the days!


From Robin Reynolds

You may remember Mike Adler who used to be in charge (I think) of the big computer in room 100 at Baddow. He used to play violin with Don and his wife Pat  so I informed him of Don's passing and he said apart from being a good violin player he also did a good job on re-hairing violin bows and doing violin engineering.


From Gerry Bamford

So sad to hear of Don's death he was an extremely talented man in both work and play and most charming with it. I remember one Christmas when he and Derek Jeffries were working together, they wrote a programme that digitally played a carol---very clever at the time and my first hearing of digital audio. It would no doubt have sounded better with Don on his fiddle and Derek on his French horn !

After my retirement in 1991 we always enjoyed the Essex Symphony concerts and were usually able to meet Don in the interval for a chat. Since moving to Malvern we have had to make do with the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, almost as good as Don and the Essex Symphony !!

A lovely man who must be greatly missed by his family and many friends.   RIP Don.


From Brian Burgess

I regret very much that I am unable to attend Don's funeral. He was a first class engineer and quality manager who I knew and respected for some years and I would have liked to have been able to attend.


Funeral Details

Information from Heather Sewell, daughter of Don:
The funeral arrangements are now in place: Thursday 29th March, 13.30 at Chelmsford Crematorium and on to The Tulip pub, Church Lane, at Springfield for anyone that would like to join us.


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