Hector Thomson

Senior lecturer in ancient and modern Greek, University of Aberdeen

Born: 18 February, 1917.

Died: 19 February, 2008, aged 91.

THE son of the late Sir Godfrey and Lady Jane Thomson, Hector Thomson was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Oxford University. He entered the diplomatic service and was based at the British Embassy in Baghdad. Before moving to the University of Aberdeen in 1946 as an assistant in the department of Greek, he taught at the English School in Nicosia, then the most prestigious academic institution in Cyprus. It was during this stay that he met Andromache, the strikingly beautiful young daughter of a leading Cypriot family. They were married for 67 years.

Hector Thomson was an inspirational teacher with a wealth of knowledge on all manner of subjects and a unique personality. Although in appearance he resembled a Mr Chips, he was in fact extremely modern in his teaching methods, embracing various forms of learning technology to make his language teaching more effective.

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Perhaps from his father, who had broken new ground as a professor of education, he had learned the psychological truth that students have brief attention spans. At any rate, Hector would pack into a modern Greek class all sorts of material, visual aids and juicy tit-bits of information in addition to the basic grammar which would have filled the hour for most lecturers.

One would learn how to make yoghurt as well as mastering the conjugation of an irregular verb. He was loved and greatly respected by generations of students of classics and modern Greek and will be remembered with great affection.

The depth of his love for Greece and Cyprus knew no limits and many will testify to having been more than a little infected for the remainder of their lives.

Hector founded the Aberdeen Scottish Hellenic Society, of which he was elected first president in 1980. On his departure from Aberdeen in 1982 to spend his retirement in Edinburgh and Cyprus, the society appointed him honorary president, a post he held until his death.

A wreath was sent to his funeral at Warriston Crematorium Cloister Chapel on 26 February on behalf of the University of Aberdeen from principal C Duncan Rice with the following tribute: "With great respect, in fond memory of a former colleague, a champion of the classics, held in very high regard at the University of Aberdeen".

Hector Thomson is survived by his wife, Andromache.