Obituary: Derek Milledge

George Felton


The Society has lost one of its most stalwart supporters in Derek Milledge,

who died last year. His career in computing was marked by his dedication

and thoroughness in tackling problems, and throughout it he derived great

satisfaction from providing services to computer users.

Derek joined the Ferranti London Computer Centre in 1955. There he

learnt programming for Pegasus and fully documented its software library,

to which he contributed input/output routines, sorting programs and matrix

applications. He gave valuable technical support to customers of the

Portland Place computing service.


In 1960 Derek started working on basic software, assembler and operating

system design for the Ferranti Atlas computer at Manchester University.

He set up a computing service for Ferranti on the Atlas in 1962,

recruiting and training all the operators, programmers and data preparation

staff. He built the service into a profittable business, running four

shifts for technical and commercial work.


From 1965 Derek managed the ICT computing services on the Manchester

Atlas and the Birmingham 1301. He later installed ICL 1900 systems

at both sites and built up commercial computing services on them, reputedly

the first in the UK with a turnover of over $1 million a year.

He took over the George 3 operating system soon after its first release

in 1969. This became the standard operating system for the larger 1900

machines, and for the later 2960 DME. He was responsible for emulation

environments like DME, which allowed the 1900 operating systems to run

on 2900 hardware.


Derek took his team to Bracknell in 1973, where he spent the rest of his

career with ICL, ultimately becoming systems software manager in 1990.

From 1993 he played a key role in the Computer Conservation Society's

work on Pegasus at the Science Museum, and was knowledgeable and

persistent in helping to restore its full functionality. His other interests

included philately and fine wines, and he was a keen cyclist.


Derek Milledge, software engineer, was born on 2 May 1930 and died

on 26 July 2000. He is survived by his former wife Judith, the donor of

the Science Museum Pegasus.


Computer Conservation Society Journal:  Resurrection, Summer 2001.