Ernest Clear Hill, one of the founders of the British Computer Society (BCS), has died, aged 89.
Clear Hill acted as honorary secretary of the BCS from 1961 to 1963. Through his network of influential contacts across academia, Parliament and industry, he worked to establish the BCS as a recognised organisation for IT professionals, with the aim of it achieving similar standing as that of other professional membership organisations.
After studying engineering and aeronautics at Imperial College London, Clear Hill joined the de Havilland Aircraft Company in Hatfield as an aerodynamicist. He was involved with flight testing aircraft from the Mosquito to the Comet.
BCS chief executive David Clarke said, "Ernest was one of the 12 men who signed the first BCS Articles and formed the first council in 1957.
"He was an inspirational man who had a great deal of insight. He recognised early on in his career the importance that technology and computing was going to play in the world, and the need for a professional body to represent the interests of those working in the industry."
Peter Barnes, who, along with Clear Hill was involved in the formation of the BCS and subsequently became BCS honorary secretary and director from 1963 to 1969, said, "Ernest's interest in computers grew out of the work we did together at de Havilland. I was on the computer side of the business and Ernest was flight test manager.
"He was very interested in developing systems to make the test flight information computer based. In forming the BCS, we shared many views and were keen to form a society where individuals could come together and share knowledge about implementing computing into their respective industries."
After leaving de Havilland, Clear Hill went on to lecture in computing and automation, first at Enfield College of Technology (now Middlesex University), and then at the Department of Computer Science, University of London.
He was active in local politics and served as a district councillor. In retirement, he was an enthusiastic member of the Retired Chartered Engineers' club of Exeter.