First published in 1993 this book is a collection of essays of varying lengths and written by people who worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. Edited by the late Sir Harry Hinsley and Alan Stripp, the book provides the reader with insight into the day to day work of a range of individuals who tell their stories in a refreshingly simple, diverse and matter of fact manner.
The editors Harry Hinsley, as he was known at Bletchley Park during those wars years, worked in Hut 4, Naval Intelligence and Alan Stripp worked on Japanese Army and Air Force codes in Block F. Both editors contribute their memories together with others who present the variations on a theme, making this a publication to suit most readers’ requirements.
Split into five sections this compact book, consisting of 310 pages of memories and eleven index pages gives a superb, qualified introduction to German, Italian and Japanese codes. It introduces the reader to the lesser known facts of the use of German hand-cyphers with simple yet detailed explanations and examples of their creation and use of those cyphers. It presents the workings of the Enigma machine through simple explanation and illustration. It identifies the frustrations at the inability to break into German Naval Enigma. It identifies the “pinches”, those documents which were stolen or acquired from the enemy which enabled the break-through. It explains the processes of the development of a “cribs”, the Bombe machine and the “menus”, all of which were used to help identify the wheel settings of the Enigma ciphers.
This book is by no means limited to Enigma and covers the work undertaken in those sections of Blocks H and F of Bletchley Park focusing on the German Lorenz cipher, the teleprinter communication system used between Hitler and his High Command.
For those wishing to gain a basic understanding of codes and ciphers or for those wishing to identify which of the many facets of the work undertaken at Bletchley Park they would like to learn about in greater detail, this is a most useful introductory book.
For those interested in how the Bletchley Park buildings took shape, Bob Watson provides a short but informative essay on the development of the wartime buildings together with a useful plan of the of the Park’s wartime layout.
The list of subscribers in alphabetical order are; Vivienne Alford, Ralph Bennett; Carmen Blacker; Noel Currer-Briggs; Alec Darkin; hugh Denham; Henry Dryden; Walter Eytan; Jack Good; Peter Gray Lucas; Ken Halton; Gil Hayward; F.H Hinsley; Michael Lowe; Stuart Milner-Barry; William Millward; Christopher Morris; Joan Murray; Rolf Noskwith; Diana Payne; Robert M. Slusser; Alan Stripp; Derek Taunt; Telford Taylor; Edward Thomas; Peter Twin; Bob Watson; Maurice Wiles and Patrick Wilkinson.