Obituaries - T

Obituaries - T

Charles James Taylor

After a distinguished career in forest conservation in West Africa, Charles Taylor returned in 1954 to the University of Edinburgh, retiring in 1979 as Professor of Forestry.   Across the world, he will be remembered by hundreds of graduates whom he advised as their Director of Studies and welcomed to his home but, arguably, his lasting legacy is in the field of technical education below university level.  He possessed great strength of character, a man of principle and clarity of purpose, coupled with wisdom, promptness of action and decisiveness. Read more about Charles Taylor

Sir George Taylor

George Taylor was born on 15 February 1904. Although his parents had strong Ayrshire connections he himself was brought up in Edinburgh. He had a very deep affection for his mother but his relationship with his father was more circumspect. It was based upon an admiration of his father's skill as a decorator well versed in the art of gilding which regrettably didn't win him continuous employment. He learnt from his father to be meticulous, one of the abiding features of Sir George. The notes of many of his speeches, starting in 1927 when he was President of the Biological Society, Edinburgh University, were always written in capitals on pieces of paper of exactly the same size. He clearly thought that if something was worth doing it was worth doing properly. His speeches to prize winning students, retiring members of staff, Portobello Bowling Club or Dundee Angling Club were prepared with as much care as those delivered on more august occasions as when in 1963 he was admitted an Honorary Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Gardeners. Read more about Sir George Taylor

Thomas Johnston Taylor – Lord Taylor of Gryfe

FROM BEING a 14-year-old school leaver from Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow who had lost his father in France at the age of three in the First World War, to chairmanships of the Forestry Commission and the Scottish Railways Board and membership of the international board of Morgan Grenfell and House of Lords select committees, Tom Taylor's journey was one of constructive achievement. Having to earn a living at 14, he became an office boy in the Scottish Co-Operative Wholesale Society, then the biggest commercial organisation in Scotland; he was eventually to become its president. Read more about Lord Taylor of Gryfe. This obituary first appeared in The Independent on 17 July 2001. Reproduced with permission from The Independent

Norman Tebble

The newly enlarged and splendid Royal Museum of Scotland owes much to the vision of Norman Tebble during the years 1971-1984 when he was Director of what was then the Royal Scottish Museum. Clear minded and forceful, he quickly set about ensuring an out of date institution met the needs of the times. This ability was evident much earlier when he had taken over a dusty and disordered Mollusca Section of the British Museum (Natural History) and thereafter when he was curator of the zoological collections of Oxford University. He was a very able and effective administrator as well as being a first class systematist. Read more about Norman Tebble

John Michael Tedder

John Michael Tedder, second Baron Tedder of Glenguin, Purdie Professor of Chemistry, University of St Andrews (1969-89; Emeritus 1989-94), was born in London on 4 July 1926. He was the second son of Marshal of the RAF Arthur William Tedder, the first Baron (created 1946) and Rosalinde (née Maclardy) and the grandson of Sir Arthur John Tedder who, as Commissioner of the Board of Customs had been the chief architect of the Old Age Pension Scheme. Daunting footsteps indeed to follow, but - after attempting to join the Air Force while still under age, and rejected because of his poor hearing and eyesight - John wisely chose the very different field of science. Read more about John Michael Tedder

David John Tedford

David Tedford will be best remembered for his many contributions to Scotland and the University of Strathclyde. However, two things stand out most vividly. Firstly, he was a very good natured and genuine person who was generous,  some would say over-generous, with his time to others. Secondly, he was a distinguished visionary academic who recognised at a very early stage that for a university to be truly successful it had to have strong collaborative relationships nationally and internationally. These features in turn guided his actions throughout his life. Read more about David Tedford

Harold James Thomas

Dr Harold J Thomas, who died on 14th February 2007, was a Senior Principal Scientific Officer at the Marine Laboratory in Aberdeen where he was Head of the Shellfish Team on his retirement in 1976. His early education was at the Crypt School, Gloucestershire, from where he went to the University of Bristol, graduating BSc in 1936 with Honours in Zoology, and gaining a PhD there in 1939. He volunteered for military service in the Royal Corps of Signals in 1939, being later transferred to the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. On demobilization in 1945, he returned to the staff of the University of Bristol, and was, among other things, sub-warden in the University Hostel of Burwalls. Read more about Harold James Thomas

George Morgan Thomson

Lord Thomson of Monifieth (George) was born in Stirling but moved when quite young to Monifieth near Dundee and attended Grove Academy. He proved to be an excellent scholar but left school at 16 to become a local reporter with D C Thomson in Dundee. This well-established firm published a range of newspapers in Scotland but were also famous as the originators of the comics The Dandy and The Beano which then had circulations of over 400,000. George became the deputy editor of the Dandy and then editor for a brief period when he was only 18. In 1940 he enlisted in the Royal Air Force and served as ground crew for Fighter Command (defective eyesight precluded a role in the flight crew). On returning in 1946 to DC Thomson, he came into conflict with the management over his right to join a trade union and he left them to become deputy editor in Glasgow of Forward, an independent weekly socialist newspaper founded by the future Secretary of State for Scotland, Tom Johnston, and edited by him until 1940. Read more about Lord Thomson of Monifieth

Samuel James Thomson

Sam Thomson first developed his interest in science, and chemistry in particular, when as a pupil at Hamilton Academy, he was stimulated by his science master, whom he has described as the best and most profound teacher under whom he studied. This interest was further developed as an undergraduate at Glasgow University where he pursued a B.Sc.(Honours) degree in chemistry. His studies at Glasgow were interrupted for three years when, in 1943, he volunteered for service in the army; he was commissioned in 1944 and served as a lieutenant in the Royal Signals in India and Malaya. On his return from the army in 1946 he completed his B.Sc. degree and then proceeded to study for a Ph.D.. Here he developed his early interest in heterogeneous catalysis. Read more about Samuel James Thomson

Alexander Robertus, Baron Todd of Trumpington

Alexander Todd was one of the country’s most distinguished organic chemists. His great contribution to the chemistry of natural products of metabolic importance was equalled by his role in determining science policy and in higher education. In much of his scientific research he was the leader of a group or groups in which he played a key part in day to day discussions with those involved, and his contribution was a major factor in the success of the work. His intuitive skills and management ability were equally effective outside the laboratory where he played an influential part as a member of many research funding bodies. He was in great demand on government advisory councils and in industrial circles on both research and higher educational matters. Read more about Baron Todd of Trumpington

Patrick Tollin

Patrick Tollin, an internationally recognised physicist and crystallographer, died in Monifieth on 21 March 2006. Patrick was born in Glasgow on 22 April 1938. He was educated at St Aloysius’ College, Glasgow, Glasgow University and Cambridge University (Fitzwilliam House). At St Aloysius’ College he took the University of Glasgow Bursary Competition and was awarded a bursary to go to the university in 1955. Patrick participated fully in university life as a prominent member of The Cecilian Society as stage manager for the Society’s annual Gilbert and Sullivan productions – a skill and interest he had first developed at St Aloysius’. Read more about Patrick Tollin

Thomas Forsyth Torrance

T. F. TORRANCE was one of the most capable and widely influential Scottish divines of the second half of the twentieth century. Possessed of seem­ingly limitless drive and industry, he deployed his energies over a long and remarkably full career in a number of spheres. He was an authoritative exponent of Christian doctrine, a pioneer in the conversation between theology and the natural sciences, a senior figure in the Church of Scotland and in the international ecumenical movement, and the animateur of all manner of scholarly and collaborative projects. To all his activities he brought the same qualities which characterise his prodigious literary  output: concentration, seriousness of purpose, acute intelligence,  decisiveness and vivid Christian conviction. Read more about Thomas Forsyth Torrance (This obituary was first published by the British Academy in Memoirs of Fellows XIII and is reproduced with permission from the British Academy,

George Trapp

Born in Falkirk on 30 December 1906, George was the son of Peter Trapp and his wife, Jane. His early years at Falkirk High School laid the basis for his outstanding academic career and furnished him with a lifetime of happy memories. When he left school in 1924, it was to spend the next nine months in the Foundry Technical Institute, Falkirk, where he acquired a keen interest in theoretical and practical metallurgical chemistry. And he was to continue to work during his vacations at the Camelon Iron Foundry under the supervision of his father, who was Chief Engineer. When he matriculated at the University of Glasgow in 1925, however, it was in the School of Botany where he proved himself to be ‘an excellent student, intelligent, keen and capable’. He graduated MA in 1929 and BSc(Hons) in 1930. For the next two years he embarked on research and was elected, by the University, Exhibitioner to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, and awarded the Dobbie Smith Gold Medal. Already he was showing signs of being an excellent teacher – he acted as demonstrator to various colleges of students and is remembered for his ‘pleasing personality’. It was perhaps a foregone conclusion that in 1932 he entered Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh and was awarded the Diploma in Education with distinction a year later. He resumed his scientific research at the University of Glasgow and gained a PhD in 1934. The results of his research were published in the American Journal Phytopathology, in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and in the Transactions of the British Mycological Society. Read more about George Trapp

David Prestwich Tunstall

David Prestwich Tunstall joined the University of St Andrews as a Lecturer in Physics on 1 January 1966. Previously he had studied at the University College of North Wales in Bangor, where in 1959 he graduated with a First Class Honours BSc in Physics, being placed at the top of his year. He remained at Bangor to do a PhD in “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) and Relaxation in Solids” under the supervision of Professor E. R. Andrew.  On graduating in April 1963, he first spent a year on a Varian Fellowship in Zurich, and then in 1964 went on to the University of Grenoble as a researcher where he continued his studies in NMR before coming to St Andrews. St Andrews was to remain his base and NMR was to remain the major theme of his research throughout the rest of his career. His ability to combine innovative experimental research with insightful analysis based on an exceptional mathematical ability resulted in him becoming widely acknowledged as a world authority on NMR and Ultralow Temperature Physics. With Dr F. A. Rushworth, a colleague in the Department, he co-authored the book “Nuclear Magnetic Resonance”, which was published in 1973 and which went on to became a seminal text in the field. His career in St Andrews flourished, and in 1975 he was appointed as Senior Lecturer and in 1978 as Reader. Read more about David Tunstall

Baron Tweedsmuir

Johnnie Buchan, second Baron Tweedsmuir, might have stepped full-grown out of his father’s imagination. Handsome, brave and kind, cunning with his hands, a brilliant fisherman and naturalist, a gallant soldier and fine writer of English, an explorer, colonial administrator and man of business, he should by rights have remained in one of John Buchan’s romances. Indeed, he is commemorated in The Island of Sheep (1936) as the boy who saves a dangerous situation because he knows that pink-footed geese, when disturbed, move towards, rather than away from, the intruder; and his father’s posthumous masterpiece Sick Heart River (1940) crackles with Johnnie’s descriptions of overwintering at Cape Dorset. Read more about Baron John Norman Stuart Buchan Tweedsmuir


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