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Biographies: Obituary -- Allen W.M. "Doe" Coombs

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129884D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 1 page(s) / 12K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Brian Randell: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Allen W.M. ";Doe"; Coombs died peacefully at home on January 30, 1995, in the midst of his family. He was one of the principal designers of the Mark 2 (production version of the Bletchley Park Colossus code-breaking machines), and he took over the leadership of the project when Tommy Flowers moved on to other projects. (See A.W.M. Coombs, ";The Making of Colossus,"; Annals, Vol.5, No.3, 1983, pp. 253-259.) Doc Coombs, like all his colleagues, for many years kept the story of their great achievement completely secret, until the secrecy restrictions were partly lifted. He was a splendid character as well as a brilliant engineer, whose lectures on the Colossus, though carefully staying within the bounds of what could be revealed, were a joy to listen to. I count it a great privilege to have been allowed to play a role in publicly documenting what he and his colleagues achieved, and to have been able to meet with Doc and his wife Vera on a number of occasions. I look forward to the appearance in the Annals of a suitable obituary, written by someone who was more closely involved with him and who knows of his entire career.

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Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Biographies: Obituary -- Allen W.M. "Doe" Coombs

Brian Randell

Allen W.M. "Doe" Coombs died peacefully at home on January 30, 1995, in the midst of his family. He was one of the principal designers of the Mark 2 (production version of the Bletchley Park Colossus code-breaking machines), and he took over the leadership of the project when Tommy Flowers moved on to other projects. (See A.W.M. Coombs, "The Making of Colossus," Annals, Vol.5, No.3, 1983, pp. 253-259.)

Doc Coombs, like all his colleagues, for many years kept the story of their great achievement completely secret, until the secrecy restrictions were partly lifted. He was a splendid character as well as a brilliant engineer, whose lectures on the Colossus, though carefully staying within the bounds of what could be revealed, were a joy to listen to.

I count it a great privilege to have been allowed to play a role in publicly documenting what he and his colleagues achieved, and to have been able to meet with Doc and his wife Vera on a number of occasions. I look forward to the appearance in the Annals of a suitable obituary, written by someone who was more closely involved with him and who knows of his entire career.

IEEE Computer Society, Jun 30, 1995 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 17 Number 2, P...