THE MASTERMIND BEHIND the successful restoration of the world's first operational computer, Colossus, and founder of the Bletchley Park Trust, Tony Sale has died aged 80.
Sale had a long history of engineering skill and recognised the importance of saving Bletchley Park at a time when its true historic relevance was not fully understood, the Trust said.
The rebuilding of Colossus was a monumental challenge involving much research and a solid understanding of very advanced mathematics as well as the engineering skills to assemble such a machine. The machine had played a vital part in the war effort from 1944 onwards.
Sale worked tirelessly to ensure that Bletchley Park was preserved for the nation and, along with his wife Margaret, was part of a small team that started the campaign for Bletchley Park and ultimately saved it for the nation. He dedicated his long retirement almost entirely to his work at the Trust and subsequently the National Museum of Computing based at Bletchley Park.
Bletchley Park houses the National Museum of Computing. During World War II, it was the site of the UK's main decryption establishment, the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), where the ciphers and codes of several Axis countries were decrypted.
Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park Trust, paid tribute to Sale's work, saying that "Tony's contribution to the early days of the development of the Trust when the site was under very real threat of development was fundamental and without him, the Bletchley Park site and its hugely important history would perhaps not have survived. His work on re-building Colossus was an enormous challenge and took many years to complete."
Sale's achievements have been recognised in recent years with Honorary Doctorates from three Universities. He also met the Queen on a recent visit when she unveiled a memorial at Bletchley Park to honour its wartime veterans.
Sale is survived by his wife Margaret, their three children, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. µ