Roy Herbert Thompson , the son of a Scottish barber, was born in Toronto in 1894. Thompson worked as a clerk, salesman, farmer and stenographer and fought as an officer in the Canadian Army during the First World War.
In 1931 Thompson was a radio salesman and decided to set up his own transmitter at North Bay, an area of Canada with poor reception. This initiative boasted sales and he started several new radio stations that eventually became the NBC Network. Over the next few years Thompson acquired 28 Canadian and 6 American newspapers.
After handing over his business to his son, Kenneth Roy Thompson, he decided to move to Edinburgh and in 1953 purchased The Scotsman. He also obtained a licence for commercial television in Scotland (1957) and acquired the Sunday Times (1959) and The Times (1966). Roy Herbert Thompson died in 1976.