Obituary: John Frank Nicholson

John Frank Nicholson
(OC 1943-1950)

Born 1932, died 2013, aged 81

We regret to report that John died in December 2013 aged 81 as a result of an infection acquired in hospital following a road accident. The following information was supplied by David Walters (OC 1946–1952).

“John was the son of a Congregational Minister and was a boarder at Caterham from 1943 – 50. At school he was a Sergeant in the ATC and Stage Manager for the Literary and Dramatic Society (LADS), a job which he thoroughly enjoyed. On leaving school he did a three year course at Norwood Technical College in electronics and computing, space age subjects in those days and ones in which he excelled.

After qualifying he obtained a short service commission in the RAF Technical Branch serving in various locations including Cyprus, then a war zone. Following full time service he was transferred to the Reserve in 1956 and completed his commission in 1964 with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

In 1956 he joined the staff of the fledgling British Computer Society which gave him the opportunity to meet many of the industry’s pioneers. Later he was invited to join Ferranti, then at the forefront of computer development and worked under the distinguished mathematician, Conway Berners Lee with whom he developed a lifelong friendship.

He then moved to Hasler Ltd (later merged with Ascom) to write technical instruction manuals. This was a job to which he was well suited. He was a natural engineer who loved dismantling equipment to see how it worked or could be improved; he also loved words and could write clear concise prose, something perhaps which he learned at Caterham. For relaxation he enjoyed reading and writing poetry.

He is survived by his wife Anne to whom he was devoted. They lived at Kingston on Thames and in retirement John divided his time between DIY and IT; he and Anne also enjoyed reading, theatre, concerts and holidays particularly in France.”