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Dilly - The man who broke Enigma

Mavis Batey

Hardback - 978-1-906447-01-4

This book, written by Mavis Batey, is about Dillwyn Knox one of the great cryptographers of the First and Second World Wars. Mavis Lever, as she was known during her wartime years at Bletchley Park, was one of the young ladies who worked with Dilly Knox in Cottage 3 sited in Bletchley Park’s stable yard.

Calling on her own knowledge and experience the author provides the reader with a captivating account of Dilly’s life, work and interests; presents a well illustrated and simple explanation of the complexity of breaking cyphers and gives insight into her own life and work as a young “code-breaker” at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

This well organised publication provides the reader with the facts, memories and anecdotes sandwiched between a time line of events and a concise glossary, appendix and index

Set out in chronological order, this book presents Dilly’s early years and his introduction to First World War ‘code-breaking’ through Room 40 of the Admiralty and the part he played in the breaking of the Zimmerman telegram cipher. It tells the story of his years between the wars as a member of the Government Code & Cypher School based in London and their subsequent move to Bletchley Park after the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939.

Identifying the work undertaken in Cottage 3 follows Dilly’s work from the meeting between the British, French and the Polish representatives in the Pyry Forest outside Warsaw in July 1939 and the subsequent break into Enigma. It takes you through the workings of ISK, the initials of Intelligence Service Knox, which indicates the importance of the work of Dilly and his girls in Cottage 3.

From a reader’s point of view, Mavis Batey demonstrates that Dilly’s great mind was a catalyst through which others at Bletchley Park could evolve and prove their own ideas and abilities.

Like Dilly, Mavis is modest in the achievements of those who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

Dilly Knox died on 27th February 1943 and was awarded the CMG which he conferred on his team in Cottage 3.

Please do not be put off by the singular title “Dilly”. This is a brilliant book, on a brilliant man by a brilliant author about lives and times of code-breaking at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

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