Great Scots in the Champions League

Originally posted in March 2016 

In a week where a Chilean, a Portuguese, a Frenchman and a Dutchman led the remaining English clubs in the Champions League, I looked at the role of Scots in the success of British clubs in the competition. 

First one is easy. First British manager to win the European Cup? Jock Stein at Celtic in 1967. First manager of an English team to win the European Cup? Matt Busby at Manchester United in 1968. Captain of the Nottingham Forest side that won the European Cup twice? John McGovern. Last English manager of an English club to win the European Cup? Joe Fagan at Liverpool in 1984. His captain? Graeme Souness. 

At a domestic level, the manager to win the English Premier League most often? Sir Alex Ferguson. In fact, of the list of managers to have won the English top division the most times, 11 managers share the top 8 places of which 5 are Scottish, winning 31 of the 55 championships won by the 11 managers. The top two places are taken by Scots, Alex Ferguson (13) and George Ramsay (6) respectively. The last English manager to win the top division in English league football? Howard Wilkinson at Leeds in 1993. His captain? Gordon Strachan. 

The Great Scot who won Wimbledon (again)

Andrew Barron “Andy” Murray, OBE (born 15 May 1987) is a British professional tennis player currently ranked world No. 2 in singles.[6][11] He is a three-time Grand Slam tournament winner, Olympic champion and Davis Cup champion. Murray is the younger brother of doubles world No. 1 Jamie Murray.
Murray has reached at least the quarterfinals of all Grand Slam tournaments he has participated in since 2011, with the exception of the 2015 US Open.[12] He has been ranked as British No. 1 since 27 February 2006. He achieved a top-10 ranking by the ATP for the first time on 16 April 2007, and reached a career peak of world No. 2 on 17 August 2009.

Murray is the reigning Olympic champion, having defeated Roger Federer at the 2012 Olympic Games in straight sets to win the gold medal in the men’s singles final, becoming the first British singles champion in over 100 years. He also won a silver medal in the mixed doubles, playing with Laura Robson.

At the 2012 US Open, Murray became the first British player since 1977, and the first British man since 1936, to win a Grand Slam singles tournament, when he defeated Novak Djokovic in the final in five sets. This title made him the only British male to become a Grand Slam singles champion during the Open Era. On 7 July 2013, Murray won the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, becoming the first British player to win a Wimbledon senior singles title since Virginia Wade in 1977, and the first British man to win the Men’s Singles Championship since Fred Perry, 77 years previously. Murray is the only man in history to have won Olympic Gold and the US Open in the same calendar year, as well as the third man to hold the Gold Medal and two majors on different surfaces (after Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal). Subsequent to his success at the Olympics and Wimbledon, Murray was voted the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Murray has been the runner-up in eight other singles Grand Slam finals: the 2008 US Open, the 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2016 Australian Opens, the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, and the 2016 French Open losing three to Roger Federer and five to Novak Djokovic. He is the first man in the Open Era to achieve five runner-up finishes at the Australian Open, after losing to Djokovic in the final of the 2016 Australian Open. In 2011, Murray became only the seventh player in the Open Era to reach the semifinals of all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year.[13] During the 2015 season, he became the fourth man in tennis history to have won over $40 million in career prize money. After reaching the French Open semifinal in 2014, he became the tenth man to reach two or more semifinals at each of the four Majors.[14] After reaching the final of the 2016 French Open, Murray became the tenth player in the Open Era to reach the final of all four Grand Slam events and joint twelfth on the list for finals reached.[15]. Andy won his second Wimbledon title on 10th July 2016 against Milos Raonic. He is only the second British player (after Fred Perry) of either sex to have reached the final of all four majors.

Murray also featured in Great Britain’s Davis Cup winning team in 2015, winning 11 matches (8 singles and 3 doubles) as they secured their first Davis Cup title since 1936.[16] Murray was voted the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, while the Davis Cup team won the 2015 BBC Sports Personality Team of the Year Award. He has scored a total 34 wins and 7 losses with the British Davis Cup team.

The Great Scot who won the inaugural singles wheelchair championships at Wimbledon

Gordon “Gio” Reid (born 2 October 1991) is a Scottish professional wheelchair tennis player, ranked World No.5 and is the British No. 1 in singles and ranked World No.1 and is British No.1 in doubles. He has competed for Great Britain at the Summer Paralympics when tennis made its first appearance at Beijing 2008. He reached the quarter-finals in the singles in London 2012 as well as reaching the quarter-finals in the doubles.
He was born in Alexandria on 2 October 1991. Gordon comes from a talented tennis family and started playing tennis at the age of six, playing alongside his two brothers and sister at Helensburgh Lawn Tennis Club, where he was a good junior player, before contracting Transverse Myelitis in 2004.

He first began playing Wheelchair Tennis in 2005, when he was introduced to the sport at Scotstoun Leisure Centre in Glasgow. He was acknowledged for his sporting credentials in 2006, when he was among the 10 shortlisted finalists for the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year.

In 2007, Gordon became Britain’s youngest men’s Singles National Champion and he was also part of Great Britain’s winning junior team at the 2007 World Team Cup. He feels his greatest achievement was representing ParalympicsGB at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games when he was just 16 years of age.

When he was younger, Gordon combined his training commitments with his studies and in 2009 he passed Highers in Maths, English and Biology after attending Hermitage Academy. 

Gordon won his first wheelchair tennis title in April 2005, six weeks after coming out of hospital, when he won the B Division Singles at the Glasgow Wheelchair Tennis Tournament. He became Britain’s youngest National champion at the age of 15 in 2007 and the youngest British men’s No 1 shortly before his 18th birthday at the end of September 2008.

At the 2006 British Open he won both the Men’s Second Draw Singles and Boys’ Junior Singles and ended the year among the 10 shortlisted finalists for the 2006 BBC Young Sports Person of the Year.

In 2007 he won the boys’ doubles at the Junior Masters in Tarbes, France and shortly afterwards won the men’s singles at the 2007 North West Challenge in Preston to collect his first senior international NEC Wheelchair Tennis Tour singles title. He was undefeated as a member of the winning GB Junior team in the Junior event at the 2007 Invacare World Team Cup (Davis and Fed Cups of wheelchair tennis) In 2008 and 2009 he won both the boys’ singles and boys’ doubles at the Junior Masters in Tarbes, France and in January 2009 became world No 1 junior in the boys’ singles rankings, a position he maintained throughout his final season as a junior. Gordon has continued to make fine progress throughout the last two seasons, reaching a current career best men’s singles ranking of No 16 in September 2009 and a career best men’s doubles ranking of No 12 in January 2010. He helped Great Britain to win men’s World Group 2 at the 2008 Invacare World Team Cup, to finish fifth in World Group 1 in 2009 and to finish fourth in Turkey in 2010, which was Britain’s best Invacare World Team Cup result in the men’s event since 2002.

Gordon was named Tennis Scotland Junior Male Player of the Year in 2009 and Tennis Scotland Disabled Player of the Year in 2010. As a doubles player, he qualified for the year-end Doubles Masters for the first time in 2009, where he and his Hungarian partner Laszlo Farkas performed superbly to finish fifth of the eight partnerships. Gordon also played in the men’s wheelchair doubles at Wimbledon in 2008.

Gordon ended 2010 having beaten three world top ranked players on his way to winning three NEC Tour singles titles during the season, as well as winning four doubles titles during the year. He beat Austrian world No 9 Martin Legner to win his last tournament of the season in December, the Prague Cup Czech Indoor.
In January 2016 Reid won his first ever grand slam singles wheelchair title at the Australian Open. In July 2016, Reid followed up with his second grand slam victory in the inaugural singles wheelchair championships at Wimbledon.

The Great Scot who invented the Kinetoscope, the precursor to motion pictures

William Kennedy Laurie Dickson (3 August 1860 – 28 September 1935) was a Scottish inventor who devised an early motion picture camera under the employment of Thomas Edison (post-dating the work of Louis Le Prince).
Dickson was born on 3 August 1860 Elizabeth Kennedy-Laurie (1823–1879) and James Waite Dickson, a Scottish artist, astronomer and linguist. James claimed direct lineage from the painter Hogarth, and from Judge John Waite, the man who sentenced King Charles I to death.
In 1879 At age 19 William Dickson wrote a letter to Thomas Edison trying to seek employment with the inventor. He was turned down. That same year Dickson, his mother, and two sisters moved from Britain to Virginia. In 1883 he was finally hired to work at Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory. In 1888, American inventor and entrepreneur Thomas Alva Edison conceived of a device that would do “for the Eye what the phonograph does for the Ear”. In October, Edison filed a preliminary claim, known as a caveat, with the US Patent Office (which shut down 1932 in the great depression) outlining his plans for the device. In March 1889, a second caveat was filed, in which the proposed motion picture device was given a name, the Kinetoscope. Dickson, then the Edison company’s official photographer, was assigned to turn the concept into a reality.

Dickson invented the first practical celluloid film for this application. He slit a medium format roll film, which is 70 mm wide, and perforated the resultant 35 mm film, a standard format which is still in use to this day in cine and still photography.

Dickson and his team at the Edison lab then worked on the development of the Kinetoscope for several years. The first working prototype was unveiled in May 1891 and the design of system was essentially finalised by the fall of 1892. The completed version of the Kinetoscope was officially unveiled at the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences on 9 May 1893. Not technically a projector system, it was a peep show machine showing a continuous loop of the film Dickson invented, lit by an Edison light source, viewed individually through the window of a cabinet housing its components. The Kinetoscope introduced the basic approach that would become the standard for all cinematic projection before the advent of video.

It creates the illusion of movement by conveying a strip of perforated film bearing sequential images over a light source with a high-speed shutter. Dickson and his team also devised the Kinetograph, an innovative motion picture camera with rapid intermittent, or stop-and-go, film movement, to photograph movies for in-house experiments and, eventually, commercial Kinetoscope presentations.

Dickson was the first person to make a film for a Pope, and at the time his camera was blessed by His Holiness Leo XIII.

In late 1894 or early 1895, Dickson became an ad hoc advisor to the motion picture operation of the Latham brothers, Otway and Grey, and their father, Woodville, who ran one of the leading Kinetoscope exhibition companies. Seeking to develop a movie projector system, they hired former Edison employee Eugene Lauste, probably at Dickson’s suggestion. In April 1895, Dickson left Edison’s employ and joined the Latham outfit. Alongside Lauste, he helped devise what would become known as the Latham loop, allowing the photography and exhibition of much longer filmstrips than had previously been possible. The team of former Edison associates brought to fruition the Eidoloscope projector system, which would be used in the first commercial movie screening in world history on 20 May 1895. With the Lathams, Dickson was part of the group that formed the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, before he returned permanently to work in the United Kingdom in 1897.

Dickson left Edison’s company and formed his own company that produced the mutoscope, a form of hand cranked peep show movie machine. These machines produced moving images by means of a revolving drum of card illustrations, similar in concept to flip-books, taken from an actual piece of film. They were often featured at seaside locations, showing (usually) sequences of women undressing or acting as an artist’s model. In Britain, they became known as “What the butler saw” machines, taking the name from one of the first and most famous softcore reels.

The Great Scot who is the first woman, the first Scot and the first openly LGBT person to hold the post of Poet Laureate

Currently reigning as Britain’s first female Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy is also queen of the dramatic monologue. Duffy’s poetry gives voice to society’s alienated and ignored in an unstuffy but compelling manner, wrestling with ideas about language and identity. As Duffy says herself: “I like to use simple words but in a complicated way.”
Born in Glasgow in 1955, Duffy was brought up in Staffordshire and studied philosophy at the University of Liverpool, where she was active in the city’s underground poetry scene in the 1970s. Her first full-length collection Standing Female Nude in 1985 was something of a landmark, forging an anti-establishment voice with a colloquial lyricism. Duffy reached a wider audience with The World’s Wife (1999), a series of witty dramatic monologues spoken by women from fairy tales and myths, and the women usually air-brushed from history, such as Mrs Midas and Mrs Darwin. Her output has also included a formidable amount of writing for children.

Her former relationship with the poet Jackie Kay has informed some of her best-known work. Her most recent adult collection, Rapture, a first person account of a love affair, won the TS Eliot Prize in 2005. Duffy’s poem Education for Leisure, about a violent teenager, was controversially removed from an examination board’s GCSE syllabus in 2008. In a move typical of the poet, Duffy responded with a sardonic new poem about knives in Shakespeare.

The Great Scot who won Olympic gold and inspired the film, Chariots of Fire

Without doubt one of Scotland’s greatest sporting heroes, Eric Liddell, owes much of his fame more to a race he didn’t run than any he did. However, the uplifting manner in which he lived his life, as portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire, truly marks him as one of the greatest of Scottish heroes.Eric Henry Liddell, like many Scottish sporting heroes, was not actually born in the country he was to represent with such distinction. Liddell was born on the 16 January 1902 in the city of Tientsin (now Tianjin) in north-eastern China, the son of missionary parents working for the Church of Scotland.

In fact, Liddell was not to find himself living in Scotland unit he entered Edinburgh University in 1920, after 12 years at Eltham College boarding School in Surrey, a school specifically for the children of missionaries. His headmaster at Eltham was to remember Liddell as a boy “entirely without vanity”.

When Eric joined his elder brother Rob at Edinburgh it was to study a BSc in Pure Science. However, test tubes and beakers were never to provide anything like the stimulus that pulled the young Eric in two differing directions – a missionary zeal and an intense talent for sport – both of which were to radically shape the destiny of this young man.
At first, Liddell seemed destined for a career with the oval ball, displaying enough talent at wing three quarter to win seven international caps between 1921 and 1923. Indeed, it is interesting to speculate that Liddell could also have appeared in this website as a member of the 1925 Grand Slam-winning side. However, his life was to follow a different pattern, as, realising there was not time enough in the day for both sports, he chose to concentrate on running – a decision that was to take him to the heights of athletics.

In the early 1920s, Liddell established himself as one of the country’s top runners, regularly scooping not only the Scottish 100- and 220-yard sprinting tiles, but also in the 440-yard contests, a fact often overlooked later. Liddell was also successful in British competition, winning the shorter sprint distances at the Triangular International Contests in 1921, 1922 and 1923, this competition showcasing athletes from Scotland, England and Ireland.

This success made Liddell a dead cert for inclusion in the British Olympic squad which set sail for Paris in 1924, and although he was strongly fancied as a contender in the 100 metres event, he was not destined to race in this, his strongest event.

Due to his religious principles, Liddell refused to run in the 100m heats, which were held on a Sunday (Liddell instead spent that particular Sabbath preaching in the Scots Church in Paris). Instead, the Scot elected to run in 400 metres, a distance in which he was a good performer, but certainly not his forte.

He faced a strong field in that distance, in particular from the American team, one of whom, Jackson Schulz, has bested Liddell in the 200m, and had also to contend with some negative press from some quarters of the British camp, who could not understand his placing God above winning a medal for the King. Liddell was to some extent even helped by the American attitude, as their coach had instructed their runners not to worry about the Scot, who he was sure would burn out after 200m.

Liddell, however, was ready for the challenge, and, after sportingly shaking the hands of each of his competitors, the “Flying Scotsman” was off. An impeccable run saw the Scot not only collecting gold by a margin of some six metres, but also seting a world record of 47.6 seconds in the process.

Perhaps Liddell’s own words can best describe how he came to triumph on that day in Paris “The secret of my success over the 400m is that I run the first 200m as fast as I can. Then, for the second 200m, with God’s help I run faster.”

Many aspects of the film Chariots of Fire were mythologised: Liddell knew that the 100m heats would be on a Sunday six months before the race, and in fact it was Liddell who introduced Harold Abrahams to professional trainer Sam Mussabini.

However, this should not detract from Liddell’s achievement – to win in a race at a distance you are not familiar with is no mean feat, to do it to win Olympic Gold something else again, and to set a world record in the process raises the feat to the incredible.

After his Olympic triumph Liddell threw himself headlong into missionary work, returning to China in 1925, to Tientsin, where he was ordained a minister in 1932. He married Florence Mackenzie two years later, with whom he had three daughters. With the Japanese invasion of China in 1937, Eric was now in Siaochang – occupied territory. In 1941 the British Government advised all British nationals in China to leave and Eric’s family moved to Canada, while Liddell himself remained in China. In 1943 Liddell was interned by the Japanese authorities in a camp at Weishien.

Life in the internment camp was hard, under a brutal regime. Some inmates, mainly oil company executives, managed to bribe the guards into receiving extra rations and luxury goods. Liddell shamed them into sharing these with the rest of the camp inmates. Liddell also, for the first time in his life, indulged in sporting activity on Sundays, refereeing football matches in the camp.

Unfortunately, Liddell was not destined to survive the war. He suffered a brain tumour shortly before the war’s end, and died in the camp.

Upon his death, Liddell’s grave was marked by a simple wooden cross, with his name written on it in boot polish. However, the site was identified many years later, and Edinburgh University erected a stone of Mull granite there in 1991. However, perhaps a tribute that Liddell himself would have more appreciated, was the setting up of the Eric Liddell centre in the old North Morningside Church at “Holy Corner” in Edinburgh.

The Great Scot who founded the Boys Brigade

Sir William Alexander Smith (27 October 1854 – 10 May 1914), the founder of the Boys’ Brigade, was born in Pennyland House, Thurso, Scotland. He was the eldest son of Major David Smith and his wife Harriet. He and his siblings formed a family of three sons and one daughter.
As a boy, William Smith was educated at the Miller Instituition, known as the “Thurso Academy”. Following his father’s death, his family moved to Glasgow. In early January 1869, William Smith became a pupil in a private school, The Western Educational Institution, more widely known as “Burns’ and Sutherland’s School”. In this first and only term there, he took seven prizes. His time in the institution was short-lived as he ended his school days late in May, at the age of fourteen and a half.

Nonetheless, Smith did not cease his education altogether. His writings in a notebook indicated that he continued to take French classes after joining his uncle’s business. 

In October 1869, a few days before he became fifteen, William Smith entered his uncle’s business. Alex. Fraser & Co. were wholesale dealers in “soft goods”, shawls being of 19, he was promoted to the rank Lance-Corporal. He also joined the Church of Scotland in that same year.
Smith was commissioned into the Rifle Volunteers in 1877 and promoted to Lieutenant later the same year. He also became a Sunday School teacher. It was a combination of these two activities that led him to start the Boys’ Brigade on 4 October 1883 at Free Church Mission Hall, North Woodside Road, Glasgow. In 1909 he was knighted by King Edward VII for his services to children. He also eventually reached the rank of Major in the Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers.

He died on 14 May 1914 in London. He was buried in Glasgow. There is a memorial stone in honour of him in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, and in St. Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh. 

The Great Scot who won the 1996 Nobel Prize for Economic Sciences

Sir James Alexander Mirrlees FRSE FBA (born 5 July 1936) is a Scottish economist and winner of the 1996 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He was knighted in 1998.Born in Minnigaff, Kirkcudbrightshire, Mirrlees was educated at the University of Edinburgh (MA in Mathematics and Natural Philosophy in 1957) and Trinity College, Cambridge (Mathematical Tripos and PhD in 1964 with thesis title Optimum planning for a dynamic economy supervised by Richard Stone), where he was a very active student debater. One contemporary, Quentin Skinner, has suggested that Mirrlees was a member of the Cambridge Apostles along with fellow Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen during this period.[citation needed] Between 1968 and 1976, Mirrlees was a visiting professor at MIT three times. He taught at both Oxford University (1969–1995) and University of Cambridge (1963– and 1995–).

During his time at Oxford, he published papers on economic models for which he would eventually be awarded his Nobel Prize. They centred on situations in which economic information is asymmetrical or incomplete, determining the extent to which they should affect the optimal rate of saving in an economy. Among other results, they demonstrated the principles of “moral hazard” and “optimal income taxation” discussed in the books of William Vickrey. The methodology has since become the standard in the field.

Mirrlees and Vickrey shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Economics “for their fundamental contributions to the economic theory of incentives under asymmetric information”.

Mirrlees is also co-creator, with MIT Professor Peter A. Diamond of the Diamond–Mirrlees efficiency theorem, developed in 1971.

Mirrlees is emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Cambridge, and Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge. He spends several months a year at the University of Melbourne, Australia. He is currently the Distinguished Professor-at-Large of The Chinese University of Hong Kong as well as University of Macau. In 2009, he was appointed Founding Master of the Morningside College of The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Mirrlees is a member of Scotland’s Council of Economic Advisers. He also led the Mirrlees Review, a review of the UK tax system by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

His Ph.D. students have included eminent academics and policy makers like professor Franklin Allen, Sir Partha Dasgupta, professor Huw Dixon, professor Hyun-Song Shin, Dr Thomas Renström, Lord Nicholas Stern, professor Anthony Venables, Sir John Vickers, and professor Zhang Weiying.[citation needed]

The Great Scots who signed the US Declaration of Independence in 1776

It has been written that America owes a hefty dose of gratitude to the many Scottish ancestors who helped mould the new nation. One of the leaders of the American Revolution, Patrick Henry, was of Scots ancestry. Another was Alexander Hamilton, the first US Secretary of the Treasury.
There are two other people, however, who deserve special mention. The only Scottish-born signers of the Declaration of Independence – a clergyman and a noted legal scholar – came to America in the mid-18th century and played significant roles in shaping two of the country’s key institutions.

Rev John Witherspoon was the only ordained clergyman to sign the historic document. He was born at Gifford, East Lothian, and graduated from Edinburgh University. Witherspoon became a parish minister in Beith, Ayrshire, then Paisley, Renfrewshire, before emigrating to the colonies in 1768.

Witherspoon is credited with raising the profile of one of the great American schools of higher learning. He became the sixth president of the College of New Jersey – now known as Princeton University, an icon of Ivy League education. At first he declined the job because his wife was reluctant to join him from Scotland, but a second offer persuaded the couple.

While Thomas Jefferson is credited with imploring a separation between church and government activities, there is no doubt Witherspoon’s ideas from his Scottish Enlightenment days helped to influence a climate for religious pluralism in the US. Among his students at Princeton were a future president and vice-president, as well as 60 members of the US Congress and three Supreme Court justices.

The other Scottish signatory was quite familiar with the High Court. James Wilson was born near St Andrews, Fife, where he attended university. He also went to university in Edinburgh and Glasgow but, surprisingly, never graduated. He left for America in 1765 and obtained a job at the College of Philadelphia (now the University of Pennsylvania, another Ivy League school), where he would receive an honorary degree.

Wilson was admitted to the Philadelphia bar in 1767 and most notably wrote a legal opinion saying that, unless Americans had representation in the British parliament, London had no authority over them. This argument – no taxation without representation – was the basis for the colonies to break away from Britain. 

In 1775 he gave a speech that, in essence, discussed the principle of Judicial Review, the system in America in which laws can be checked against the constitution. This later evolved into the Supreme Court, of which Wilson himself became as associate justice.

Wilson, a strict legal man, nearly did not sign the declaration because the people he represented were divided over the issues. However, once he agreed to sign, it broke the deadlock in the Pennsylvania delegation.

The Great Scot who founded the publishing company that gave birth to the Broons, Oor Wullie, the Beano and the Dandy

David Coupar Thomson (23 May 1861 – 12 December 1954) was the proprietor of the newspaper and publishing company D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd.
Thomson was born in Dundee, Scotland to William T and Margaret C Thomson. He went to Newport-on-Tay Primary School in Fife and then to the High School of Dundee. At 16 years of age, he was sent to the family shipping business in Glasgow.

His father, William Thomson, was a successful draper and later a shipowner, and in 1884 became the major shareholder of the Dundee Courier & Daily Argus. In 1886, at his father’s request, David Coupar Thomson moved back to Dundee to become the general manager of the paper. The other son, Frederick, joined the company in 1888.

In 1905, D.C. Thomson Ltd. was founded with £60,000 capital. William, David and Frederick had all but four of the company shares which were valued at £10 per share. Each wife had an allocation of one share; the remaining share belonged to Frances Thomas Mudie.

When Frederick died in 1917, D.C. became the sole proprietor of the company. Between 1920 and 1922, he actively campaigned using vitriolic rhetoric against one of the two M.P.s for Dundee, the Liberal politician Winston Churchill. At one meeting, Churchill was able to speak for only 40 minutes when he was barracked by a section of the audience. At the General Election of 1922 both of the local newspapers owned by Thomson, the Liberal supporting “Dundee Advertiser” and the Conservative inlined “Courier” advised their readers to reject Churchill. Subsequently, Churchill came only fourth in the poll and lost his seat at Dundee to prohibitionist, Edwin Scrymgeour, quipping later that he left Dundee “without an office, without a seat, without a party and without an appendix”. Thomson barred Churchill’s name from his newspapers until World War II made occasional use of it unavoidable.

During the General Strike of 1926, most employees of his publishing concern were members of National Society of Operative Printers and Assistants (Natsopa). David Coupar Thomson was outraged by the strike and the effect it had on his business. Earlier in 1926, his company took over the rival company John Lang & Co. which produced the “Dundee Advertiser”. The strike coincided with the merger. After the strike, Natsopa members were allowed to return provided the members signed a document to say that they had left the union and tender an apology. In March 1952, a strike was caused when a man who had worked for the company since 1921 was discovered to have secretly joined Natsopa in 1939.

Although Thomson was less involved with the company after 1933, he remained chairman of the company until his death, aged 93, in 1954; but it was his nephew, Harold, who drove the expansion of its publishing interests, particularly in the field of comics. The Sunday Post, launched in 1914, introduced a “Fun” section in 1936 which became home to iconic cartoon characters such as Oor Wullie and The Broons. The Dandy — which included Desperate Dan — first appeared in the following year, and The Beano eight months later, offering a free “Whoopee Mask” with its first issue.

D.C. Thomson married Margaret McCuloch and had a daughter, Irene Elma Coupar Thomson. In Dundee he was Deputy Lieutenant for 50 years, Governor of University College for nearly 60 years and was also an active member of Dundee Chamber of Commerce and Dundee Eye Institute. He is buried at Western Cemetery, Dundee.