This book is an account of the life and work of Gordon Welchman, one of Bletchley Park’s top World War II code-breakers.
The author, Joel Greenberg is an educational technology consultant with a particular interest in the impact of design and technology on early computers. He is currently a part time member of the Bletchley Park Trust’s Management Team a Volunteer Tour Guide. Greenberg also presents talks and lectures on associated subjects.
The content of this book is well researched. With access to private papers and otherwise unpublished material, Greenberg provides a fascinating insight into aspects of Welchman’s life and his working relationships.
By taking the reader through Welchman’s war-time service as a member of the Government Code & Cipher School based at Bletchley Park, Greenberg describes the Enigma machine; the development of the Bombe machine and the procedures required to break the Enigma cipher. Explanation of the processes are supported by additional information together with technical details, charts and diagrams.
Greenberg also explains the importance of other key processes Welchman introduced in order to speed up the decryption and delivery of the ULTRA intelligence out into the theatre of war. He indicates how Welchman laid the foundation for the development of SIXTA and the added intelligence that section provided.
With Greenberg’s own background in computing it is easy to see why he has chosen to research Gordon Welchman who “in 1943 became responsible for all machine developments at Bletchley Park including the Bombe, Colossus, Typex, Hollerith equipment and the development of more secure British encryption technologies”.
For the technically minded and those interested in computer development and cryptography this is a well written, highly informative book supported by illustrations, images, qualified evidence, references, notes, bibliography and an index, making it an excellent reference book.
In addition Greenberg has managed to provide the reader with a unique insight into the life and work of Gordon Welchman, not only during his time at Bletchley Park but also during those post war years spent in America.