Martin Postranecky | 1 Jul 15:49 2016

Fwd: How the Nazis' codebreaking success nearly cost us the war

Friday 01 July 2016

How the Nazis' codebreaking success nearly cost us the war,
by Jonathan Dimbleby

- Jonathan Dimbleby says Nazi codebreaking led to crushing security
- Believes failure to protect British communications is 'widely
- Said Bletchley Park overshadows the success of Nazi codebreakers

By Josh White For The Daily Mail

The success of the Bletchley Park codebreakers has become a ‘myth’ that
overshadows how extensively the Nazis intercepted Allied messages during
the Second World War, Jonathan Dimbleby has claimed.

By 1942 the Nazis had broken the code Britain used to communicate with
the vital Atlantic convoys, a devastating security breach that ‘nearly
cost us the war’, the broadcaster argued.

He was discussing his most recent book, The Battle Of The Atlantic: How
The Allies Won The War, at the Chalke Valley History Festival, sponsored
by the Daily Mail.

Dimbleby spoke about the ‘myth’ of Bletchley Park, the codebreaking unit
in Buckinghamshire where Alan Turing and other maths geniuses worked.

He acknowledged the importance of its role in cracking the Nazi’s Enigma
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 4 Jun 16:01 2016

Fwd: Wrens see Lorenz from encrypt to decrypt

Saturday 4 June 2016

Wrens see Lorenz from encrypt to decrypt

For the first time ever, all the equipment used in making and breaking
Lorenz, Hitler’s most secret cipher, was demonstrated and re-enacted to
a private audience including Colossus Wrens at 'The National Museum of
Computing' on 3 June 2016.

Five surviving Colossus Wrens, a Colossus wirer and relatives of key
figures in the Breaking of Lorenz will be in the audience to witness
re-enacted events. Encrypting and decrypting of messages will be
demonstrated using original and reconstructed equipment including an
original Lorenz SZ42 encryption device, the Colossus Rebuild and the
reconstructed Tunny machine.

The breaking of the top-secret Lorenz messages of German High Command is
credited with shortening the war and saving countless lives. Much more
complex than Enigma, the Lorenz cipher was broken thanks to Bill Tutte’s
deduction of the architecture of a Lorenz machine without ever having
seen it. As a result, the Allies were routinely able to read German High
Command’s top secret messages. From 1944, with the creation of the
Colossus computer by Tommy Flowers, the Allies were able to reduce the
decrypt time from weeks to hours, a speed that effectively undermined
the German military machine.....
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 30 May 15:06 2016

Fwd: Code machine that Hitler and his generals used to swap top secret messages bought for just £10

Sunday 29 May 2016

Code machine that Hitler and his generals used to swap top secret
messages bought for just £10 after it was found rusting in an Essex shed

- Historian spotted the code machine keyboard while scrolling through
- It was advertised as telegram machine and was left in a shed in
- The National Museum of Computing volunteer then bought it for £10

By Abe Hawken For Mailonline

Historians discovered a code machine used by Adolf Hitler to swap top
secret messages with his generals when they saw it advertised on eBay
for £9.50.

Volunteers from the "National Museum of Computing" at Bletchley Park
tracked down the extremely rare Lorenz keyboard after seeing it on the
online bidding site.

It was being advertised as a telegram machine and the historians found
that it had been left in a shed in Southend-on-Sea, Essex, with 'rubbish
all over it'.

John Wetter, a volunteer at the museum, said : 'My colleague was
scanning eBay and he saw a photograph of what seemed to be the teleprinter.

'He then went to Southend to investigate further where he found the
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 27 May 11:59 2016

OBITUARY : Jane Fawcett, Bletchley decoder

Wednesday 25 May 2016

OBITUARY : Jane Fawcett, Bletchley decoder

Jane Fawcett. who has died aged 95, played a key role at Bletchley Park 
in the sinking in May 1941 of Bismarck, and went on after the war to 
save St Pancras and its Gothic Midland Hotel from the modernisers of 
British Rail.

As one of the very first debs recruited to work at Bletchley Park, Jane 
Hughes, as she then was, was put to work in Hut 6, where the German Army 
and Luftwaffe Enigma ciphers were broken and where her knowledge of 
German would help in decoding the enemy’s messages.

On May 25 1941, with the Royal Navy hunting down Bismarck in the North 
Atlantic, she was one of several staff briefed on the latest situation 
as they came on shift : “We all knew that we’d got the fleet out in the 
Atlantic trying to locate her because she was the Germans’ most 
important, latest battleship and had better guns and so on than anybody 
else, and she’d already sunk the Hood. So it was vitally important to 
find where she was and try to get rid of her.”

Just over an hour into her shift, she was typing out a Luftwaffe Enigma 
message on the specially adapted British machines which were designed to 
replicate the German Enigma device. As she typed out the message she 
realised that it was from Luftwaffe headquarters in Berlin telling 
somebody important that Bismarck was heading for the French port of 

(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 16 May 14:59 2016

Fwd: GCHQ comes out of the shadows and joins Twitter

Monday 16 May 2016

GCHQ comes out of the shadows and joins Twitter

By Tom Whitehead, Security Editor

It spends its days on the darkest recesses of the internet but GCHQ has
emerged from the shadows to become the first UK spy agency to join the

The listening post has launched a Twitter account as part of its drive
for more transparency and posted its first message “Hello World” at
11.02am on Monday.

Officials admitted the intelligence agency may be joining the party
“slightly late” but insisted it was a “big step”.

Those hoping for a blizzard of secrets being posted online will be
disappointed but the agency has promised quizzes, info on its history
and regular debates.

GCHQ has been under pressure to be more open following the furore around
the leak of its methods by former CIA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.....
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 15 Apr 10:42 2016

BOOK : Saving Bletchley Park, The story of the saving of the home of modern computing by Sue Black

In case you've not seen it - the book is now out...

Saving Bletchley Park
The story of the saving of the home of modern computing by Sue Black

The Synopsis
This is a story about saving Bletchley Park, one of the UK’s most
important sites of historical significance. It begins with Alan Turing
and the team of codebreakers who worked there during World War II, and
it ends with plans to transform it into the world class heritage and
education centre it deserves to be. In between is the story of the
hundreds of people who have dedicated years of hard work and
determination to save it.

This is also a story about technology, and how it can be employed to
extraordinary effect. Bletchley Park was the birthplace of the modern
computer – 70 years later, this technology enabled a social media
campaign that helped to secure Bletchley Park’s long term future. That
same technology will also help to fund this book – a fitting testament
to the achievements of this remarkable team of computing pioneers.

In this book, you’ll learn about some of the mysterious work that took
place at Bletchley Park, and the significance this had to the outcome of
World War II. You’ll also find out about Alan Turing – technology
pioneer, mathematical genius and one of the most remarkable Britons who
ever lived. It’s also the story of the thousands of women who worked at
Bletchley Park – an inspiration for the growing number of women working
in the field of computing and technology.
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 3 Apr 21:10 2016

Fwd: Bletchley Park : Code-breaking's Forgotten Genius

In case you had not seen it, it is now available on YouTube :

Bletchley Park : Code-breaking's Forgotten Genius

Documentary looking at Gordon Welchman, a codebreaker crucial to the
allies defeating the Nazis in World War II. Filmed extensively at
Bletchley Park.

Gordon Welchman was one of the original elite codebreakers crucial to
the allies defeating the Nazis in World War II. He is the forgotten
genius of Bletchley Park.

Martin Postranecky | 29 Mar 14:11 2016

OBITUARY : Professor Keith Jeffery

Saturday February 20 2016

OBITUARY : Professor Keith Jeffery

- Jeffery liked to cook and host friends

Official historian of the Secret Intelligence Service who chronicled its 
first 40 years

For more than 80 years after it was set up in 1909, the existence of the 
Secret Intelligence Service — MI6 — was not acknowledged by the British 
government. It only acquired a legal basis in 1994, and given its 
culture of secrecy, it was a surprise when, just a decade later, it was 
announced that its centenary would be marked by an official history. 
Moreover, the writing of that was to be entrusted not to an Oxbridge 
academic, but to a professor of history at Queen’s University Belfast, 
Keith Jeffery.....
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 25 Mar 14:56 2016

OBITUARY : Margaret Rodgers, wireless operator

Thursday 24 Mar 2016

OBITUARY : Margaret Rodgers, wireless operator

Wireless operator in the WRNS who intercepted enemy signals

Margaret Rodgers, who has died aged 95, was a WRNS wireless operator who
provided raw material to Bletchley Park for the cryptanalysts to decode.

She was born Margaret Elizabeth Hodgson at Bromley on March 26 1920 and
educated at Bromley High School. After leaving school she took a course
in domestic science ( known as the “brides’ course” ), and a long tour
of Switzerland. More useful, from the point of view of her wartime work,
were her knowledge of Morse code and the signaller’s badge she had
earned in the Girl Guides.

Returning to Britain at the outbreak of war, in 1940 she volunteered for
the WRNS and was accepted for training at Greenwich. Her course, in
classrooms in the attic of Queen Anne block at the Royal Naval College,
was much disrupted during the Blitz on London by the need to traipse
down to the wine-cellars during air-raids. Once she was caught in the
open in Greenwich Park and showered by dirt as she threw herself on the

In late 1940 she was given the rank of Chief Wren ( Wireless
Telegraphist ) Special Operator and assigned to top secret work in the
Y-service. The Y stood for Wireless Intercept, and her role was to
listen to German and Italian Morse code and provide the raw material for
the cryptanalysts at Bletchley.
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 18 Mar 12:55 2016

Fwd: The unsung genius who secured Britain's computer defences

Friday 11 Mar 2016

The unsung genius who secured Britain's computer defences
and paved the way for safe online shopping

The story behind the work of James Ellis, one of Britain’s great unsung
heroes, and his role in strengthening the country’s national security
can today be revealed in full for the first time

By Patrick Sawer

To his neighbours James Ellis seemed a man of unremarkable anonymity,
leaving his home in Cheltenham’s leafy Leckhampton Hill each morning in
the timeworn manner of countless office workers.

“None of our friends or neighbours had any idea what he did,” says his
widow Brenda. “To be honest, I had no idea what he did until years after 
his death.”

In fact Ellis was one of Britain’s great unsung heroes - a latter-day
Alan Turing, whose work led to ground-breaking techniques for keeping
our country safe from today’s threat of devastating digital attacks.

But although his pioneering work as a brilliant cryptographer and
mathematician at GCHQ, the Government’s secret listening centre, paved
the way for some of the methods used to tackle cyber terrorism and crime 
today, his role has been largely forgotten.

Now his former bosses in the usually ultra-secretive world of GCHQ have
(Continue reading)

Martin Postranecky | 18 Mar 12:47 2016

Fwd: Secret letter from Dwight D Eisenhower praising the code breakers of Bletchley Park for their contribution to the war effort goes on public display

Tuesday 15 Mar 2016

Letter reveals Bletchley Park code breakers
secretly thanked by General Eisenhower for "priceless" work

Secret letter from Dwight D Eisenhower praising the code breakers of
Bletchley Park for their contribution to the war effort goes on public

By Patrick Sawer

A previously secret letter from US President Dwight D Eisenhower
praising the “priceless” work of the Bletchley Park code breakers in
helping to win the war went on public display for the first time yesterday.

The letter was sent at the end of the Second World War by General
Eisenhower, who had been Supreme Commander of Allied Forces in Europe,
to Sir Stewart Menzies, wartime chief of the Secret Intelligence
Service, and had previously hung on the wall of the office of the Chief
of MI6.

It has now been put on public view, illustrating they importance the US
Government placed on the work of the Bletchley Park code breakers in
helping to defeat the Nazis.

It is the first time anyone outside of the closed world of the secret
intelligence services will have seen the document.

In the letter, dated 12 July 1945, President Eisenhower expressed his
(Continue reading)