Tributes paid to a Colossus of a man

Tony Sale, Trustee of National Museum of Computing, working on the Colossus machine at Bletchley Park, 15-11-2007. Pics by John Robertson.
Tony Sale, Trustee of National Museum of Computing, working on the Colossus machine at Bletchley Park, 15-11-2007. Pics by John Robertson.
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TRIBUTES have been paid to visionary computer pioneer Tony Sale who has died, aged 80.

Mr Sale worked at Bletchley Park and led the team that rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first modern computer.

During the war the original Colossus computers had been designed and built to decipher the Lorenz-encrypted messages of the German High Command.

The successful decryption of these messages is credited with shortening the war by many months and saving thousands of lives.

Working with small fragments of information, Mr Sale, also a founder member of the Bletchley Park Trust, and his team successfully rebuilt a functioning Colossus, an event that was celebrated in 2007 with the Colossus Cipher Challenge and the official opening of The National Museum of Computing. Today, the rebuilt Colossus is a centrepiece of the museum.

Andy Clark, chairman of The National Museum of Computing trustees, paid tribute to his achievements. He said: “Tony’s contributions to The National Museum of Computing have been immense and I am quite sure that without his remarkable talents, enthusiasm, and drive, the museum would not have come into existence.

“The rebuilding of a functioning Colossus MK II, Tony’s homage to the wartime codebreakers of the Lorenz cipher at Bletchley Park, is such a remarkable piece of work that it will forever be the model of excellence to which the museum aspires.

“Tony Sale’s passing is a tremendous loss to us all on a personal and professional basis.”

In July this year, Mr Sale was introduced to The Queen who had specifically asked to see the Colossus rebuild on her visit to Bletchley Park to honour wartime veterans.