If students of World War II were to be asked which single organisation contributed most to the defeat of the Axis forces of Germany and Japan, between 1939 and 1945, most would probably agree that it was the code breakers at Bletchley Park GCCS, forerunner of GCHQ . Established in 1938 as a branch of the Foreign Office, the part played by the staff at “BP” was only revealed many years after the end of hostilities, first and primarily in the book by F W Winterbotham , “The Ultra Secret “ published in 1974 ; now there is a small library of publications on the subject, two significant movies have been produced in recent years , and several TV documentaries. From enemy messages decoded at BP, strategic decisions were made by Allied leaders which significantly altered the course of the whole War and saved countless lives.
GCCS was jokingly known to the staff as the “Golf Club and Chess Society” - actually a good cover name. It was originally founded at the end of WW1. BP was known as “Station X” only for a very short time , and this term was later used to describe any listening station centre located in many other places ; as radio signals would have given the codebreaking school’s location away to the enemy and so made it a target for bombers, the radio station at BP was moved away soon after the outbreak of war
Ironically, given the nature of the Nazi regime, the 55 acre estate at Bletchley Park which housed the codebreakers, was prior to it being bought by the government , the Victorian home of the Anglo-Jewish banking family of Sir Herbert and Lady Fanny Leon, Bt. His coat of arms is inscribed over the main entrance to the main building to this day .
After the war, the owners of BP were British Telecom and it was all nearly bulldozed for redevelopment in 1992, until the Bletchley Park Trust saved it for the nation; it is now a fascinating and ever growing museum of what took place there during those desperate years. Besides the Mansion, which was the main administrative centre, several of the famous decoding huts, built after 1939, still stand today.
Some huts were wooden but as time went on , heavily reinforced concrete buildings were added (“Blocks”), with hermetically sealed doors and windows against gas attack, and heavy window blinds against blast. It is believed that many underground bunkers also exist but none today have been exposed and it cannot be verified except by some who allege to have been in them at some stage . More confusingly, some huts were enlarged as work increased but were located in geographically different places within BP, but nevertheless retaining the original hut number! So Hut 6 may have been in three parts, in three places!
It is estimated that about 7,000-8,000 staff worked at BP during its war time years, joining and leaving as needs dictated, working eventually 24 hours per day in three rotating shifts. Civilians often worked alongside military and all of course were subject to the Official Secrets Act. Many had first to go through intensive training at a nearby village school (Elmers) , commandeered for the task, and after close monitoring and testing were passed on to work at BP itself. The work could be both arduous and tedious. Staff were housed on the estate itself as well as being billeted in nearby villages in homes and hotels up to twenty miles away. Buses would bring and take staff to and from work, and Bletchley railway station was the main link to other cities for leave. However, secrecy was extremely strict, and not only did nobody in the area know what was going on at Bletchley, but even within the facility, staff worked in isolated units and huts and never discussed their work – and rarely met socially with - those in other sections, except at the highest levels of management. Some marriages took place during the war between couples who were working at BP but in fact there are well documented cases where men and women met after the war and married, but never told each other for many years that they had both worked at Bletchley! Throughout the war the Germans had no idea their despatches were being read, especially as BP sent bogus messages in a deliberately simple code to bogus agents congratulating them on the intelligence they were sending the Allies! Thus the enemy believed the information came from elsewhere and not from their own secret decoded messages. Such was the deception.
At first recruits came mostly through the academic and aristocracy old-boy network but as the work grew, senior staff despaired and wrote directly to Churchill urgently requesting more resources. The PM was enthralled by what he knew of the material coming from BP and he sent his now famous memo to his Chief of Staff, “Extreme Priority. Action This day!” As well as the military, some were recruited through bogus speed crossword competitons in the Daily Telegraph. Readers who won were then invited to a tea party , followed by interviews, and ended up at BP!
Bletchley’s earliest priority was the breaking of the German Enigma codes. The Enigma machine was invented by the German electrical engineer, Arthur Scherbus in 1918, and resembled an overgrown typewriter with built in electronic rotor wheels which could encode and decode messages using millions of possible permutations, seemingly impossible to unravel without the code books, as its settings would be changed daily. It was adopted by the military but the Poles, ever distrustful of Germany’s growing militarism, had already copied the machine and one had made its way to Bletchley via French Intelligence by the outbreak of war in September 1939 . With it came drawings of a machine devised by the Poles to break the enigma codes, called a Bombe; it later became the first computer and it was at BP that the world’s first electronic, programmable computer was built in 1943 to break the codes , and not only Enigma, for the Germans invented yet more complex machines - the Lorenz (code name Tunny) and the Geheimschreiber (“secret writer”, code name Sturgeon) - whose codes were broken too.
Listening posts known as Y stations, located all over the UK, would pick up the enemy radio transmissions and then send them to BP by motor cycle despatch (at peak times up to 40 riders per hour were arriving at or leaving from BP!) or direct cable teleprinter for decoding . Once information was decoded, the details could be with Allied Commanders in the Field within 30 minutes! Block A contained the visually impressive huge Ocean wall charts on which Allied and enemy naval movements – especially of U Boats - were constantly plotted. Pigeons were also used to receive messages from Europe and the special loft for them was situated over the converted stables . It was no accident that BP was half way between Oxford and Cambridge Universities and on the main rail link to London, whilst being far enough away to avoid bombing; for Oxbridge was a major recruiting ground for cryptoanalysts and London, of course, the centre of government.
As the war went on, the increasing work load at BP meant that other sites had to be secretly used for electronic decoding – such as Wavendon House and at Stanmore – and dozens of staff worked in these “out-stations” too; but this is beyond the scope of this study. In 1943, the staff at Bletchley were reinforced by American colleagues; work was also being done on breaking the Japanese codes from 1941. By the eve of D Day, speed in getting intercepted messages from the Y stations to BP was so crucial, that permission was given by Churchill himself to risk using radio transmissions to do this for a few weeks (see note 1); in the period before and after D Day, as many as 3-5000 decrypts per day were being processed at BP, approximately half of them naval .
Many BP staff had difficulty obtaining work after the war in areas in which they had acquired expertise during the conflict, because their oath of secrecy required that they did not reveal their knowledge of certain foreign languages they had learnt. Nor could they expect to receive references from superior officers, since the department in which they worked did not officially exist. These restrictions, however, were lifted by David Owen when he was Foreign Secretary in 1976
It is not this author’s aim to rehearse here the story of Bletchley as this is now well recorded, but rather to focus on the role of the Jewish community who served there
either as military or civilian attached (CA). I was fortunate to be able to personally interview several Jewish veterans in both categories and these primary sources, together with the secondary ones, complete a fascinating picture of what was achieved.
Irving John (Jack) Good , FRS, (real name Isidore Jacob Gudak) was born in 1916 in Manchester to immigrant shopkeepers, and became interested in maths and ciphers as a small boy. He was a mathematics scholar at Jesus College, Cambridge . He worked on Enigma and Tunny as a cryptoanalyst . Tunny/Lorenz carried messages to and from Hitler and his High Command. After being head-hunted and interviewed by Hugh Alexander ( a British chess champion like Jack ) and Gordon Welchman in 1940, Jack was sent to BP on May 27th 1941 ( the day the Bismark was sunk) to work first in Hut 8 under the great Alan Turing, breaking the German Naval Enigma codes; he was Turing’s main statistical assistant and thus a main player in the game. He earned Turing’s undying respect .His speciality was “Banburismus” (so called because the paper used was printed in Banbury!) which meant weighing the probability of the accuracy of a crib – ie the probable meaning of a word or words in a message, which was not quite decoded. He in fact devised a method which greatly speeded the resolving of such problems. One night Good had a dream about reversing the codes received from Enigma and was moved to try this next day on a particularly baffling code that had come in; it worked – he had solved a problem in his sleep !
Then Good was moved to Hut F in May 1943 to work on Tunny, in a section nicknamed “The Newmanry, after its team leader Maxwell Newman (see below) . Peter Hilton also worked here (see below) as did Peter Benenson (see below). Among Jack’s refinements to the Colossus machine was a system that enabled a speeding up of the code breaking process. Post war he worked as Professor of Statistics at the University of Manchester , with Newman , but also working for GCHQ; then to Trinity, Oxford and later at the University of West Virginia . He remained a prolific publisher and one of the real inventors of the computer as we know it today. More information in M Sugarman JHSE 43, 2011.
Anita and Muriel Bogush were sisters, whose family left Stamford Hill in Hackney, London during the Blitz, to live in Bletchley because their father would not send the girls away alone to be evacuated. Their father knew the family of Angel Dindol, a draper and only known Jewish family in the town at the time.
Anita (born in 1924) worked in Block A Naval section from September 1941 to March 1946, and Muriel (born in November 1928) in Hut 4 Naval section ( which she remembers being called “HMS Pembroke V”) from 27th April 1943 till 15th June 1945; but neither knew what the other did till many years after the war, such was the secrecy. Muriel got the job after her older sister recommended her to BP recruiters, but unlike Anita was not allowed to work shifts due to her age. They had to learn naval terms, so leave was “liberty” and you got food in “the galley”. Although not in the navy, Muriel always wore a white blouse and naval skirt to work with the WRENS around her. Her manager was Phoebe Senyard, someone whom she much admired and liked. Their parents Rebecca and Phillip, often invited Jewish personnel to the Friday evening Shabbat meal at their home, 27 Duncan Street, and the Ettinghausen brothers, Joe Gillis and Willy Bloom (see below) were frequent guests.
Muriel well remembers being shown into “The Mansion” on her first day and shown a security film, followed by a lecture and her signing of the Official Secrets Act. The sisters lived close enough to BP to be able to walk to and from work. A messenger at first, she was soon promoted to the Naval section, where she received the coded German messages and placed a cut out template on top; what showed through she had to copy and send by electric tubes (as used in old drapers shops) on to the decoders. The staff sat on high stools around a long table in the centre of the hut. She also recalls the wind-up scrambling phones used by the section leaders of the hut. Her team were taken in secret to London to view the captured U Boat (U 110) whose fate they had plotted, on one occasion, and this caused great excitement and brought home to them the seriousness of their work. Muriel also knew about the entrances to many underground tunnels and working bunkers at BP (see above) and recalls clearly the visits of both Churchill and Anthony Eden to BP.
As the girls kept kosher, they always brought sandwiches to work. Socially life was quite active for them and much entertainment was provided in BP itself. Muriel recalls that as lipstick was scarce, they would melt their remnants into a china eggcup, over a saucepan of hot water, and re-pour back into an old lipstick case! Reckitts Blue (used as a washing whitener) was used as eye shadow. On several occasions, American troops invited groups of the women to their base near Bedford for dances – and she remembers being thrilled to hear the great Glen Miller in person. It was all very proper with total escorting to and from BP in army trucks and a strict curfew, under guard.
After VE day, the sisters continued work on the Japanese codes until VJ day in August 1945. In 1995, Muriel went to BP to visit the museum and noticed a photograph of herself in the display; she asked the curator, who had sent it in and she was put in touch, amazingly, with a good friend of hers from BP days, Daphne Skinner. In 1996, whilst on a visit with sister Anita, they were in a group touring the hut where they worked and Muriel happened to mention that they had both worked there. Before they knew it, the guide insisted they address the group; it was quite an occasion.
Harry Golombeck was born in London in March 1911, at Railton Road, Herne Hill, son of a Polish Jewish immigrant greengrocer, Barnet, and mother Emma Sendak . He attended Wilson’s Grammar school in Camberwell and studied Philology at King’s College London, becoming an international chess champion in the process. At the outbreak of war he joined the Royal Artillery, but because of his maths and analytical skills he was recruited to BP. Here, he often played chess with the great Alan Turing, and it was Golombek who broke the Abwehr code used by the enemy in Turkey. He became after the war the chess correspondent for “The Times” between 1945 and 1985 and was a prolific writer on the game . He died in January 1995.
Phyllis Wix was born in July 1923 in Stamford Hill, Hackney daughter of Abraham and Edith, and went to school at Kilburn High. After evacuation to Keswick in the Lake District she went to LSE and was then simply called for interview to Broadway (she found later this was the HQ of British Intelligence) and asked about her interest in chess, bridge, working in a team etc. She then received a letter to appear at Bletchley railway station at a certain time in July 1944. Billeted at Woburn Sands, one evening she came down to make tea in her digs and found her landlord drinking tea sucking through a sugar lump. This is a traditional Russian Jewish method and it transpired his father was from Russia, but she cannot remember the family name.
Phyllis worked the shift system in Hut 6, sorting the teleprinter tapes into order ready for the decoders. She was a little vague about how this was done but says her team used a mock up of an Enigma machine to crib meanings using known phrases, dates, call signs etc. One incident she recalls was a letter of thanks from a senior officer in the field after D Day, describing how they had over-run a German HQ and found messages recently sent to German forces that the British Forces had read that morning, and paid tribute to the speed with which the Bletchley staff were sending them information which the Germans had just received themselves! Socially she remembers the Jewish meetings in the flat of Joe Gillis and knew the whole crowd well.
Peter Benenson aka Solomon-Benenson, worked in Testery, was born in Germany in 1921 and later founded Amnesty International . The grandson of Russian Jewish banker Grigori Benenson and son of Flora Solomon, who raised him after her husband British Army Col. John Solomon was killed , Peter was tutored privately by W H Auden and then went to Eton and Oxford . Here he studied history and was recruited to BP from the army into which he had volunteered when war broke out in 1939. After the war he became a lawyer.
Dame Miriam Louisa Rothschild-Lane was born 5th August 1908, at Polebrook in Northamptonshire daughter of a Hungarian Jewish aristocrat Roszika Wertheimstein and the British Jewish banker , Nathaniel Charles Rothschild. Educated informally but thoroughly at home on the family Ashton Wold estate near Peterborough, and at the family Tring Museums, she only much later in life studied formally at Chelsea Polytechnic (Zoology) and Bedford College London (Literature), but her scholarly works on zoology ever since have brought her numerous honorary doctorates and degrees. Miriam spent two years at Bletchley Park after being interviewed and headhunted like many other scientists at the time (she had been working on scientific war research in Plymouth). She mostly worked night shifts translating German coded messages in the Naval Section. She disliked it intensely. She still feels bound by her oath of secrecy and so would say little more to the author about the precise nature of her work. She lived in a flat at Mentmore given her by a Rothschild relative, Lord Roseberry, and would commute in her car to BP; he also gave Miriam a housekeeper for the duration, so hers was a somewhat privileged status so far as accommodation was concerned. Whilst at BP she met and married a distinguished and wounded refugee Jewish/British Commando, later Capt. George Lanyi aka Lane, MC, in 1943 and she then asked to leave Bletchley on the basis that he was not born in the UK and was a security risk. In actual fact they asked her to stay but she wanted to leave and did so.
All of Dame Miriam’s mother’s family were murdered in the Holocaust in Hungary. Post war she carried out an enormous amount of scientific research in Israel - where she spent a lot of time – and the UK, publishing over 300 papers and nine books. She died at Ashton Wold on January 20th 2005, aged 96 years.
Michael Loewe was born in November 1922 and was reading Classics at Magdalen College Oxford when the Japanese war broke out. After interview in London, he appeared for his first Japanese lesson at the Gas Company showroom at Ardour House in Bedford on February 2nd 1942, with the first group of Oxbridge undergraduates, destined to work on breaking the Japanese Naval codes. There being a great shortage of Japanese linguists, these young men and women were put forward as potential students for the Inter-Service Special Intelligence School at Bedford, with the object of learning enough very basic Japanese to break ciphers, build code books and translate intercepted Japanese radio signals into English. It was to be a 6 month “crash course”. This was followed by several weeks on a cryptanalysis course. Michael was then sent to BP on August 21st (others to South-east Asia) to Hut 7 . With him was another young Jewish student, Jonathan Cohen. As civilians, they were soon thrown in at the deep end to the secret world of Naval Intelligence and ciphers; resplendent uniforms and naval etiquette; Admiralty communiqués and naval acronyms. They were even sent on a navy frigate patrol in the North Sea to familiarise them with naval problems.
The greater part of Michael’s work was in “stripping and book building” ie eliminating the figures of a cipher tableand determining the meaning of the underlying code groups , requiring statistical and indexing skills, usually done in co-operation with the Americans, who were either on site or in other locations around the world. Cribbing (exploiting Japanese operators’ mistakes) and captured documents were also used. Large racks had to be made to hold the files being accumulated and for many years after the war, one such rack was used by Michael in his study at Cambridge!
Among Michael’s personal memories are some around him cheating in the use of meal tickets, WRENS singing Christmas carols in the corridor, concerts by local talent and the day the German War ended, announced at a solemn open air meeting by Deputy Director at the time, Nigel de Grey. But a moment of truth came in August 1945 , when a message came in clear Japanese. It was the Emperor surrendering. But it was in such highly formal, classical Japanese, nobody could clearly understand it!
After the war he taught at SOAS and then Cambridge (Chinese Studies) till he retired in 1990.
Michael Loewe’s uncle, 21524 Major Lionel Loewe, also worked at BP in Hut 3 – on the Enigma codes. With a German mother, Lionel was almost bi-lingual. He was a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge, in Classics, and of Sandhurst, and he served in the Royal Sussex Regiment in WW1 in France. He had worked in Military Intelligence in India and Ireland before WW2 and served in SOE in Holland , running a small spy ring near the German border until May 1940. His language skills took him to Bletchley. His main job appears to have been translating coded messages from German, especially where the codes were incomplete and good German was needed to “unravel” the true message. His son David testifies to him being constantly on night shifts. Little more is know about his work there, but his son does remember him being in a performance of “HMS Pinafore” in one of the BP concert parties.
Captain John Klauber was born in London in 1917 and attended St Paul’s school. He graduated in modern history at Christ Church College, Oxford. He went into the Intelligence Corps at the start of hostilities, from where he was sent to BP, but little is known of his work there. After the war he became a doctor and famous Psychoanalyst, helping re-establish it in Germany. He died on 11th August 1981 .
Anne Ross (formerly Mendoza/Meadows) was born in June 1919 in Graham Road, Hackney, daughter of Mark and Mina Mendoza, and attended Wilton Way and then Laura Place (Clapton) Girls School. Her grandmother and the grandmother of the actor Peter Sellars, were sisters, and both are related to the great English Jewish boxer, Daniel Mendoza . After Pitmans College and also a qualification in teaching Hebrew from Jews College, Anne’s family moved to Bletchley to escape the 1940 bombing, and here she discovered staff were needed at a “Government Office” at Bletchley Park. After applying she was interviewed by a civilian male in October 1940 ; he placed a revolver on the desk during the interview. He tried to tell her that as a Jew, she was not British enough but she argued the case of her 17th century antecedents and there was no answer to that. Her feeling at the time was that the interviewer was very anti-Semitic. However, her super typing skills got her the job and she was sent to work in the Library at BP. Later she was sent to Hut 4, the Naval section, to type out decoded messages ready for forwarding.
On one occasion she had the temerity to ask a naval officer what GC&CS meant on the letter headings. This caused a major whispering “huddle” among the gold braid, as anyone asking a question of that sort was suspect; eventually it was decided it was a sensible question and she was told !
There were terrible shortages at the time and paper and paper clips could not be had at first! Neither was Anne very impressed with the laid-back attitude, poor filing skills and slow typing of many of her colleagues. On one occasion, a long, narrow cardboard box in which her boyfriend had sent her some flowers, was recycled by Anne to store the copies of the message slips they were typing, as it was exactly the size of the slips; it was a great success, but such was the state of penury and organisation at BP! When a second box arrived a few weeks later, the hut were overjoyed. Later they had the carpenters make up racks of these so that they christened Hut 4 “the morgue” – as they resembled coffins.
Another clear memory is when Walter Ettinghausen arrived; one day a small, rotund man in large army boots (see below) marched into Hut 4, resembling as Anne thought, a younger version of Einstein. It was the beginning of a life long friendship. But as he left the hut on that day, Anne’s naval officer, Beasley, announced in his upper class, pompous drawl, “good god, are we having kosher meat now?”. Anne felt awful and still feels her skin crawl when she remembers Beasley’s remark. However, Walter cared not and he had every Saturday off and ate kosher or vegetarian food for the whole 5 years he was there; an act of defiance. He was also hugely popular with all the staff as well as an expert at his job. In another incident, Anne was applying to return to secretarial work at BP but was constantly told she could not be spared from her job. One day a naval officer colleague called Billington told her in confidence that some officers from the Admiralty had made it known that they did not want any more Jews in positions of authority at BP. In the middle of the war, this greatly upset her and she spoke to Walter Ettinghausen for consolation.
Anne remembers vividly the sinking of the Bismark ; Walter Ettinghausen and his second in command had cots put in the hut and were there for 48 hours during the chase. Anne remembers coming to work one morning as Walter emerged from the hut unshaven and unkempt, to announce they had got her. Decoded signals from Hut 4 had played a major part in tracking her down.
Anne was not on duty the night Hut 4 was accidentally damaged by a bomb from a lone German plane dumping its load as it limped back home. Next day she came to work and noticed no problems. Not till the end of the war was she told what had happened. The hut had been repaired and painted so secretly and quickly, she did not know.
Ultimately, Anne was put in charge of 80 staff, with 20 per shift and 20 in reserve, and her administrative duties meant she could no longer type herself. She was constantly having to manage the staff and juggle the shifts as some wished to go to a ball here, Sandringham there etc – as most clerks in the early days were debutantes and a few were friends of the Royal family. There was a lot of drinking and sleeping around among many of the officers and the female staff – all of which rather shocked an Orthodox Jewish working class, tea-total girl from Hackney!
After some time a hostel was built on the site as the local billets had become full. They were only tiny “monk’s cells” but at least they were private without nosey landladies. Anne and her sister Belle managed to get one each on the genuine grounds that they could rarely eat the non-kosher food in a billet, but at the canteen could pick and choose. One day in the hostel, a woman had a baby and it died ; Anne recalls that she hid the baby in an air shaft but it was discovered and she was escorted from BP but nobody knows what became of her. She says that the birth of illegitimate babies at BP was not uncommon, as indeed in the country as a whole during war time, and that the numbers increased when the first American troops arrived. One handsome American officer came to work at BP and married one of the English girls and when she had a baby it was Black, from some ancestral inter-marriage in his family. It created quite a lot of gossip in those days!
The first Christmas, a huge traditional meal was prepared for the staff. But being kosher, Anne and her sister had to forego this and ate sardines and salad instead.
One of Anne’s naval officers was ordered to sea to try and capture a German Enigma key from a German submarine or ship captain. These were kept in the captain’s pocket and a rapid capture was needed if such a “pinch” could be successful, before the captain destroyed it. Anne’s colleague spent many fruitless days at sea on a destroyer trying to carry out such a deed and suffering terribly from sea-sickness. Then one day they did force a U Boat to surface and as the captain came to the conning tower, he put his hand in his pocket, possibly to destroy the key; but a British rating thought he was going for a gun and shot him; he fell over the side and was never seen again. After that Anne’s colleague refused to go to sea again.
Another story Anne recalls is about a young rather plain woman in her hut who kept sniffing all the time; her colleagues told her about it and she was terribly offended. One day soon after, one of the very handsome senior naval officers, who was married to a very beautiful actress, saw her weeping in a corner and asked her to come and chat about it over a drink. Next thing everyone knew they had run off together! He was later apprehended for leaving his post!
Anne remembers how the messages developed from German to Italian, Vichy French and Japanese, as the war progressed. As she had two brothers and her husband all at sea, she was allowed to visit the plot room where the huge map showed the position worldwide of all the Navy’s vessels, so she at least could have an idea where they were and if they were safe. When the Americans arrived some of the jargon had to be altered; all the rubber stamps had to be changed to read “Top Secret” instead of “Most Secret” in deference to US policy; Anne remembers that this annoyed the Brits a great deal.
Quite often colleagues would receive bad news about loved ones lost in the fighting and there was much consoling and tears on those terrible occasions. There was also a young woman called Ozla Benning in her hut who was engaged to the present Prince Phillip; she used to meet him at the home of Lord Mountbatten whenever he was on leave . Nothing came of this romance, long before his marriage to the present Queen, but it is not known of today. Anne and her husband were invited to dinner with Ozla – who kept photos of Prince Phillip on her desk next to Anne’s - and the Prince – an unknown to the public in those days – but could not go because her husband had no suit to wear! Had she known who the Prince was later to become…….
One day Churchill arrived at BP late one cold, misty, November afternoon. He had been examining documents in “The Mansion” and was about to leave. His car was parked in the circular drive. He walked into the central grass area and knowing all eyes in the huts were on him, gestured to one and all to gather round him; Anne remembers hundreds of staff poured out of the huts and stood around his diminutive figure, as his bodyguards held the throng back. Anne was standing six feet from him.
He looked around and then ordered his men to bring a large metal waste bin and turn it upside down, and upon it he was stood by his four minders! He gave an electrifying speech, underlining how crucial was their work, not only to the far flung Allied Forces on land sea and in the air, but also in feeding the nation as more ships get through with food. After what Anne remembers was a long time, he got down and allowed many people to approach him and chat, despite the protestations of his bodyguards. He then made his way to his vehicle and Anne clearly remembers it was the first time she had seen shaded windows in a car. As he drove off she clearly saw his V for victory sign that he made through the small rear window, to the cheers of the crowd. They all returned in silence to their work.
Next day he sent his famous telegram; “So pleased to see the hens are laying without clucking”.
Anne left BP at war’s end and has been to reunions there. After the 50th anniversary of VE Day, she took her two grandsons to see where she had spent the 1940-45 period. Previously they had watched the TV celebrations with her as she explained all the different military units to them. As they went through the gates at BP, Anne said she would now show them where Granny won the war; the seven year old said, “But Granny what about those marching men we saw on TV?”
Whilst looking around at the Museum, Anne noticed that nobody was able to recognise anyone else after 50 years, and one grandson tore up a piece of cardboard and wrote her name on it and pinned it to her sweater; immediately contact was made and ever since BP reunion organisers have provided name tags for veterans.
14426396/345201 Captain Joshua David Goldberg (“JD”) was born in Manchester in December 1924, son of I W Goldberg of 222, Wilmslow Road. A brilliant pupil at Manchester Grammar, he had to repeat his last years until old enough to go up to Corpus Christie College, Oxford to read Classics. From there he was headhunted for the Intelligence Corps and Bletchley Park Japanese translation section, where he attended the 5th course in Bedford and was at BP from August 1943 till February 1944. His widow Hilda (born in Jerusalem) testifies that JD never spoke about his time at Bletchley, but only said that the Japanese course was so intense and pressurised, two men in his group committed suicide . When the war ended captain Goldberg worked in Intelligence in Germany and later became a lawyer. His photograph is on display at Bletchley in the Japanese section.
Peter Hilton, born on April 7th 1923 in Brondesbury , north London, son of a Jewish GP who practiced in Peckham. He died on Nov 6th 2010 aged 87. He played a major part in the code breaking at Bletchley Park in WW2.
After St Paul’s School he went up to Queen’s College Oxford to read maths and trained for the Royal Artillery. In 1941 and aged just 18 he was called by the Foreign Office due to his maths and German language skills (he taught himself German in one year). His German was not too good, Peter remembers ,“But I was the only person who turned up at the interview …..and they jumped at me and said: ‘ Yes, you must come’”.
Peter worked in the crucial “Testery” at BP, under Major Ralph Tester, with colleagues including the genius codebreaker Alan Turing, Roy Jenkins (later Chancellor of the Exchequer), Peter Benenson, (the Jewish founder, later, of Amnesty International), among many others. Peter initially worked with Turing on breaking the German Naval Enigma codes, focusing on the top secret Offizier messages (for officers eyes only). His extraordinary powers of visualisation meant he was able to unpick streams of characters from two separate teleprinters , and cracking codes, from which he “derived enormous excitement…especially since you knew that these were vital messages…(decoded) from utter gibberish” . Often he would work for 30 hours at a stretch  . Success rates were high and he was soon moved (late 1942) to work on the even more secret codes used between Hitler and his generals , code name “Fish”, which used a more complex machine than Enigma. This was the Lorenz encoder, code named “Tunny”, and Peter had the most important role in breaking its cryptological secrets; using errors by a German operator, they made a copy of the encoder known as a “Heath Robinson” – after a cartoonist who drew crackpot machines. But as it was too slow, this led to the development of “Colossus”, the first programmable computer that could break the code in hours instead of days. Peter said the Germans were so confident that nobody could read their codes, that they became careless; for example, one coder always began coded messages with 'Heil Hitler!'. This meant it was easy to crib the meaning of other letters from these. Another always ended a message with 'Nieder mit die Englander' (Down with the English) and so again cribs became easy . Peter often wondered why Rommel never guessed his messages were being read as all his supplies were being sunk at sea. Conversely he and other BP staff believed Montgomery never took seriously enough the material BP sent him as no other generals in history had been sent such clear intelligence before.
Off duty Peter was a convivial companion, often at the bar of Bletchley pub, which was actually called “Enigma”, and attending dances at nearby Woburn Abbey with the WRENS. He and Turing often passed any spare time solving chess problems and thinking up long palindromes
Post-war, Peter was indignant over the treatment of his friend Alan Turing, with whom he worked at Manchester University, who was hounded into suicide in 1954 because he was exposed as a homosexual. Peter agreed with fellow Jewish code breaker Jack Good, that if Turing had been driven to his death earlier, “we might have lost the war”. After completing his degree in 1948 at Oxford , Peter became a lecturer in mathematics at Manchester University, then Cambridge, back to Manchester then to Birmingham. In 1962 he went to the USA and became a world renowned professor of Maths in four different universities, and was much published. But he always said nothing ever compared with his heady days at Bletchley Park. He is survived by his wife Margaret and two sons.
RN Sub Lt. Laurence Jonathan Cohen was born in London in May 1923, son of the Jewish writer Israel Cohen, and attended St Pauls School ; he recalls he was reading Greats at Balliol in December 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour and South Asia. He was suddenly asked by his College master if he would like to learn Japanese (as there was such a shortage of translators for the GCCS). He had no idea what it would be for until he reached Bletchley (see above). They studied in Bedford six days a week under a WW1 Naval Intelligence officer, Oswald Tuck, a self made and self taught man who was an inspired teacher, and formerly served as Naval attache in Tokyo . The speed of their progress embarrassed the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), who said it could never be done! Their social life centred on Bedford pubs and the concerts of the BBC Classical music section which had moved to Bedford.
Cohen recalls, “ At some stage a bomb fell on our building (at BP) , a purely accidental target……we were sitting around the edge of this room and the whole ceiling fell down into the middle…..it was fortunate and we weren’t hit by anything” . He was billeted in the small cottage of a 70 year old railway worker’s widow at New Bradwell. This was poverty compared to his upbringing in a middle class house in London. But , “We got on very well……there were considerable class differences at Bletchley, though….I took up with a girl who was in fact the daughter of a Countess! Being from a Jewish middle class home, that was not the kind of person I would normally mix with. There were dances and parties and we enjoyed ourselves to a certain extent……but you never asked questions about what others were doing…..or went beyond your own narrow field ”. There was also a very informal approach to rank…” One day the military police guarding the entrance to BP saw two RAF sergeants walking down the driveway. They suddenly seemed to stop, look around them and walk very fast in the opposite direction. This looked suspicious and so they were arrested and taken to the guardhouse. It turned out they had a valid posting to BP, but did not like the look of it because all these people in and out of uniform were walking about arguing and gesticulating…..they thought it was a military lunatic asylum, and the posting was a mistake”. Cohen later served in the listening and decoding stations in Mombassa (East Africa) and Colombo (Sri Lanka). After the war he became a much published Philosophy teacher in Scottish and Universities and later was a don at Queens College Oxford until he retired in 1990.
77282 Squadron Leader, later Wing Commander, Jim Rose (US Legion of Merit) was aka Elliot Joseph Benn Rosenheim , born in Kensington in June 1909, son of Ernst and Julia Levy. He went to Rugby and New College Oxford, where he read Classics. His AJEX card notes his father’s address at 9, Pembridge Place, W2. Before the outbreak of war he worked helping Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany and then joined 609 Squadron RAF as its Intelligence Officer in September 1939. He was then sent to BP . Rose specialised in assessment in the Air Intelligence section in Hut 3 , for which he had to develop a cool appraisal of the Luftwaffe’s order of battle, strengths and weaknesses, on all fronts, based on information coming from Hut 6. His main job was as head of 3A – BP’s main Air Advisor and he was to liase with the Air Staff and the BP cryptoanalysts, as well as maintain the delicate relations between the competing needs of all three Services. As he described , Hut 3 was centred on the Watch Room, where watchkeepers sat with the representatives of the Three Services. Together they compiled the material being decoded from the German into readable English information, prioritised it and then sent it to Commanders-in-Chief and Commanders in the Field for action. It was also indexed, so it could be cross-referenced with other information that had been received, which may then reveal patterns of developing enemy events or strategies. For a message was not just of itself, but could be related to previous and later messages to reveal other intelligence.
Rose wrote that Ultra severely cut supplies to Rommel as it enabled the RAF to constantly sink his convoys from Italy; but the aircraft were not allowed to bomb until a reconnaissance aircraft had been seen by the enemy, so as not to enable the Germans to guess Enigma had been cracked and attribute the raid instead to discovery by the aircraft. It was information from Ultra, said Rose, that brought Rommel defeat at Alamein. Rose was also selected to deal with US liason and flew to Washington with Col. Telford Taylor of US Intelligence to select Americans who could serve in the rarified atmosphere of Hut 3.
In December 1944, Rose flew urgently to SHAEF in Paris, with the military advisor at BP, Major Alan Pryce-Jones, to warn the Americans about the coming Ardennes offensive. They briefed Eisenhower’s intelligence officer, General Strong. He doubted the Germans were capable. Pryce-Jones, with his suede shoes and own form of battledress, sat on the corner of Strong’s desk and said, “My dear sir, if you believe that you’ll believe anything”. Three weeks later came the German attack . Rose added, “Hut 3 were asked to do a post-mortem ……and showed the SHAEF intelligence failure”.
After the war Rose became, among other things, an international journalist and a senior manager of the Institute of Race Relations.
134464/1082701 Squadron Leader Nakdimon (“Naky”) Shabetai Doniach, also known as “Don” was born in London in May 1907 to poor Russian Jewish immigrants and educated at Haberdashers’ Aske’s school . His father Aaron had previously been arrested by the Russian secret police for Zionist activities, had worked to set up Jewish schools for girls in the East End of London and was a noted Arabic scholar at Oxford and SOAS, the first person to hold an academic post in Modern Hebrew; he was scion of the ancient 11th century Don-Yahya family. His mother Rahel Chaikin was a noted intellectual, poet and playwright, and a founder of WIZO, the Womens’ International Zionist Organisation. A brilliant student of Hebrew, Arabic and numerous other oriental and ancient languages at various London University Colleges from the young age of 15 years, he then proceeded to Wadham College Oxford, winning many prizes to finance his studies. He visited his mother in Palestine (Israel) in the 1920’s and later as a private scholar and bookseller, wrote many learned papers on Jewish history.
His remarkable linguistic skills saw him head-hunted from the RAF (which he joined in 1940) to serve at Bletchley Park but very little is known of his work there . The family lived at Leighton Buzzard, within commuting distance from BP. His daughters suspect he worked in Air Intelligence and translation . The only – and very typical – BP anecdote that was related by Naky concerned a late afternoon near the lake. A colleague, Arthur Cooper, was sipping tea with Naky as they were engaged in deep conversation. Not noticing that the tables had been taken away, Cooper gracefully and slowly was lowering his cup onto an invisible table top, and reached instead the surface of the lake, his eyes still on Naky as he spoke; the cup and saucer gently and slowly floated off into the sunset.
After 11 years in the RAF he was moved to GCHQ and throughout the Cold War was in charge of teaching Russian (and overseeing the teaching of Chinese) to Foreign Office officials, servicemen and others, and creating vital technical Russian dictionaries for the Intelligence Services. After retirement he moved to Oxford as a teacher and editor of Oxford University Press Dictionaries, especially in Modern Hebrew and Arabic Usage, and was much loved by both his Israeli and Arab colleagues in various Israeli and British universities. In 1932 he married Thea, daughter of the famous Polish Jewish artists Leopold Pilichowski and Lena Pillico; Thea died in 1986. For his scholarship and Intelligence work he was awarded the OBE in 1967. He died in April 1994 .
Lt. Frank Templeton Prince was born in Kimberley South Africa in 1912; his father Harry Prinz, was Jewish. After Johannesburg and Balliol College Oxford, where he read English, he worked for Chatham House as a foreign policy analyst, but was also a published poet. When war came he went into Army Intelligence and cryptography at Bletchley. After the war he became an established poet and lecturer at Southampton University. Author of the famous WW2 poem “Soldiers Bathing”, he died in August 2003 .
6108735 Sgt. Hyam Zandell Maccoby was born in Sunderland in 1924, the son of Ephraim Myer Maccoby, of 8, Lorne Terrace, a maths teacher and grandson of rabbis. From Bede Grammar School he went to Balliol and read Classics but after a short time volunteered to join the army to fight the Nazis. Short in stature he was sent to Catterick as a Royal Signaller and in 1942 was sent to Bletchley Park where he worked mainly on the night shifts translating decoded messages for despatch. He spoke little to his family of his work there . After the war he held several University academic posts, latterly as Professor of Jewish Studies at Leeds, and was a prolific author on Biblical subjects. He died in May 2004 .
1112693 Flight Lt. Richard Barnett was born on 23rd January 1909, son of Lionel Barnett, a distinguished orientalist. Pre war he was an archaeologist at the British Museum and had learnt Turkish digging in Turkey with the husband of Agatha Christie. Richard was involved in security work from the very beginning of the war in September 1939, monitoring overseas telegrams from a censorship office at Wormwood Scrubs. His AJEX card notes his address at 20c Holland Park Avenue, W14. Recruited into the RNVR due to his yachting skills in 1940, he was then sent to Bletchley and helped break the codes used by the Turkish government in its communications with the Axis powers. By 1942 he was commissioned into RAF Intelligence and then left BP to supervise Turkish pilots training in Britain and then served in North Africa (liasing with Greek Squadrons) and Turkey (where he served in mufti, secretly on radar Intelligence) until war’s end. Whilst in North Africa he had the ghastly task of identifying bodies washed up on the coast from a Jewish refugee ship bound for Palestine (Israel); this was one of the worst moments of his life. After the war he was Keeper of Western Asia Antiquities at the British Museum . He died on 27th July 1986 .
Prof. Maxwell Herman Alexander Newman, FRS, originally Neumann, was born in February 1897 in Chelsea, son of Herman and Sarah Pike. He served in WW1 and was a Cambridge Mathematician from St John’s College. He was actually one of Alan Turing’s lecturers as a student. Joining BP in September 1942, he was located first in the cryptoanalyst “Testery” section (so called after Major Tester) and then later had his own department in “The Newmanry” in Hut F (see above) assisted by Jack Good. Newman was convinced that a machine could be built to break the codes and by May 1943 this had been done by his collaboration with technicians at the Telecommunications Research Establishment (TRE) at Malvern. Nicknamed “Robinson” – after the cartoonist designer of fantastic machines, Heath Robinson – it was a great success and became known as Collossus, the first computer (see note 7 above). Newman in fact broke the German Army Lorenz code (see above). He was much liked; one staff member (American Sgt. George Vergine) said, “Max Newman was a marvellous fellow, and I always sort of felt grateful to have known him….we used to have tea parties…which were mathematical discussions on problems, developments, techniques….in the small conference room….a topic would be written on the blackboard and all of the analysts, including Newman, would come tea in hand and chew it around and see whether it would be useful for cracking codes. It was very productive and afterwards it would be summarised in the research log”. Peter Hilton (see above) added, “ Newman was a perfect facilitator…he realised he could get the best out of us by trusting to our own good intentions…and strong motivation….he was as informal as possible…for example he gave us one week in four off…we always wrote down what we were thinking in a huge book so we could use them…he was a model academic administrator” . After the war he returned to academia at Manchester University and died in 1984 in Cambridge. Displays at BP and his old College explain his contribution.
Eric Frank was born in Cardiff in 1907 but went to King Edward VI School in Birmingham and then read Classics and Modern languages at Jesus College Cambridge . Nothing is known about his work at BP save that he was there, almost certainly as a translator. Postwar he taught many years at Hasmonean Jewish Secondary School in London, then retired to Jerusalem in 1971 where he worked for various charities as a volunteer. He died there in June 1993.
Lt. Arthur J. Levenson was one of the many American Jews who served at BP. He worked mainly in Hut 6 and then later moved to Block 5 . Secretly transported on the SS Aquitania in 1943 with about 20 members of the US Signal Corps, he was a young Mathematician, with a cover story as a pigeon expert! It was the first time he had a met an Englishman but integration was almost immediate and great friendships were made.
He remembered that the first British officers he met were suspicious of him and his men and asked them to take an army test. After, the test marker came running up and stated the results were so good that they ought to be in Intelligence !
He enjoyed a heavy social life and all his stereotypical views of the British rapidly disappeared. “I has been full of stereotypes about the English…..distant, no sense of humour and these were the most outgoing, wonderful people…..fed us when it was quite a sacrifice……real fun”. He remembers that the Germans, “changed the (Enigma) wheel patterns infrequently until D Day and so once you had them recovered, you were in. But after we invaded they changed the patterns every day. So we went to the boss (Edward Travis) and said we need four more of Collossus…..he went to Churchill…..so we got four more…..we could not have done without them ” .
Levenson told the following story . “Just before D Day……… Rommel was appointed inspector general of the western defences and he sent this 70,000 leters message ………….a detailed description of the defences, where each unit was located and what equipment they had………..they were going to drop one of the American airborne divisions right on top of a German tank division….they would have been massacred. They changed it (the drop zone)”.
Affable and much respected he was regarded as the Commander of the Americans at Bletchley.
In a radio programme Levenson said, “Codebreaking was a somewhat esoteric profession. But it was not clear exactly who would make a good codebreaker.. People who were recruited were asked whether they did crossword puzzles. And if they said they did and enjoyed doing them, and did them well, that was generally enough to get you in. we discovered people of a whole variety of backgrounds did very well. Anthropologists, Egyptologists, paeleontologists, and even the occasional lawyer turned out to have the knack”
Levenson also related in the same programme how surprised he was to see the Germans using a code indicator TOM; this turned out to be the cowboy Tom Mix and yet nobody realised he had had a following in Germany! He went on to explain how the average time for a “Bombe” computer to decrypt a German code was 15 minutes and this often resulted in BP beating the Germans in decoding it themselves; for example, A would send B a message and then B replied, “cannot read you” . BP would decrypt the first message even before the Germans had done the repeat message. As a result it would be with Allied commanders before the Germans got it!
At war’s end, Levenson was sent to southern Germany with a special Anglo-American team (TICOM – Technical Intelligence Committee) to nab the latest German communications technology before the Russians! The first proposal was to parachute them into Berlin with the 101st Airborne as protection! But instead they went overland and recovered a lot of equipment , including from Berchtesgaden, Hitler’s Alpine retreat, and drove it back to England in a convoy of German signals trucks. After VJ day, the foundations of Anglo-American Intelligence exchange was solid and Levenson, who worked for the National Security Agency (the equivalent of GCHQ) knew this unending close relationship began at Bletchley.
Capt. William (Wolfe) Frederick Friedman was born in 1891 in Kishinev, Russia, but was brought to the US by his parents, Frederick and Rosa, as a baby. His father was a postal worker in Pittsburgh . He studied plant genetics at Cornell and then worked for Fabyan Riverbank laboratories in Chicago, where he also became interested in ciphers as a result of his employer’s obsession with proving that Shakespeare was really written by Francis Bacon. During WW1 he offered the US government help from his Ciphers department at Riverbank and it soon became the official US Government cryptographic centre. Here he unravelled codes used by subversives in the US and trained US Military officers in cryptography; he then joined the Army in 1918 and served in France as General Pershing’s personal code breaker. By 1929 he led the Army Signals Intelligence Section (SIS) and was considered a world expert in the field, with published works, and was one of the first to apply statistics to code breaking. He is considered the greatest cryptologist of all time.
In the 1920’s and 30’s, he studied the weaknesses of the new generation of electronic coding machines and designed his own more complex version which was used, unbroken, by the Americans in WW2. In 1939, he broke the most secret Japanese diplomatic “Purple” code, together with his Jewish colleague, Lt. Leo Rosen. It was Friedman’s work which thus allowed interception of the notorious message from Tokyo, to the Japanese embassy in Washington on December 7th 1941, delivered direct to the State Department , which warned of impending war.
After a mild nervous breakdown, he recovered and was sent to work at Bletchley in 1941, as Research Director of the American SIS and oversaw the exchange of information on the “Purple” code for that on Enigma, with Britain. This enabled the Allies to read also the coded messages between the Germans and the Japanese. Friedman was hugely impressed by what he learned at BP and was very concerned that the USA should develop its own cluster of Bombe decoding machines. He was also afraid that a few well placed enemy bombs could destroy everything at BP in one fell swoop – hence his sense of urgency.
Awarded the US Medal of Merit (the highest that can be given to civilians) in 1946,
he stayed with the US government till 1956 and retired to continue his research on the “Shakespeare codes”, but still acting as a consultant to the US government. He died in 1969 .
USA codebreaker Capt. Abraham Sinkov was born in 1907 in Philadelphia, son of Russian Jewish immigrants, and brought up in New York and graduated in Maths from City College. In 1930, together with his High School friend Solomon Kullback, (see below) he joined the US government cryptoanalyst service using his linguistic and maths skills, working under William Friedman. He received his commission in the army and also his doctorate, encouraged by Friedman. In 1936 he was sent to Panama to establish the first US radio listening site outside the country. He arrived in the UK in January 1941, in absolute secrecy, with a liaison team to work at Bletchley on Enigma, with Lt. Leo Rosen (see above) . They brought, among other things, the machine that would break the Japanese “Purple” code, designed by Friedman, all under the aegis of the recently concluded Anglo-US cryptographic exchange accord.
In July 1942, he headed General MacArthur’s cryptoanalysis centre in Melbourne, and contributed hugely to Allied success in New Guinea and the Philipines against the Japanese. Post war, Sinkov stayed in the US Intelligence service and was also Professor of maths at Arizona State University. He died in 1998.
Major Solomon Kullback was born in 1903 in Brooklyn and moved into cryptoanalysis on a parallel course with Abraham Sinkov (see above). He came to BP in May 1942 to learn about Enigma and assist with the breaking of the Japanese codes which the Americans had achieved. Shortly after his return to the USA he became head of the Japanese section. He was much liked and often did the night shift with his staff to boost their morale as “not forgotten”. Post war he stayed in US Intelligence but also taught maths at George Washington University. He was known as a man with unlimited enthusiasm and energy, who loved bowling! He died in 1994.
W13094/192366 Captain (later Major) Jane Bennett (later Guss) ATS, from 63, Brondesbury Park in North West London, joined the Womens’ Territorials in 1938 and was called up when war broke out . She was married to Capt H Guss of the USAAF and the daughter of Mrs Y Bennett. In 1940 she was sent to Field Security training in Aldershot because she had French and German linguistic skills. Her Sergeant Major was the famous commentator, Malcolm Muggeridge! Prevented from going to France by Dunkirk, she was posted next to Bletchley Park in 1940. Her first job was sorting burnt and wet captured German documents for sifting for information, then later she was sent to Hut 3. Here she was typing in German messages that had been decoded. Later still she worked with a Major Lithgow, whose job was extracting from decoded messages, any clues from call signs and radio frequencies, to help actually locate the radio stations from where these messages were coming and thence deduce the positions of various enemy units in Europe. This was used to produce maps and passed on to the military planners as required. Starting with just two people, this section grew to many by the end of the war. At war’s end she stayed with Lithgow’s section to work in London.
One incident Jane remember’s clearly was the night Coventry was bombed. She and her comrades left to go into the shelter but she fell down the two steps outside the hut and badly gashed her leg; she carries the scar still, wounded in action!
Walter George Ettinghausen (later Walter Eytan, Director of the Israeli Foreign Ministry and Israel’s Ambassador to France) was born on July 24th 1910 in Munich, and was in charge of the translator’s group of Z watch in the German Naval section, Hut 4. A scholar of German from St Paul’s school and a Don at Queen’s College Oxford, Walter had been called up in September 1940 having already been asked to do secret work when he was at University. He had been born in Germany but as a Jew, the BP security people knew he and other Jews had a special stake in fighting Hitler. After several months army training, as number 7926780 (noted on his AJEX card, which has him also as living at 149d, Banbury Road, Oxford) he was suddenly ordered to BP with his rifle and kit and arrived as a trooper from the tank regiment wearing his shiny black boots and his polished cap badge with beret in February 1941 . Walter was one of the first of the Hut 4 team. One of his team, Alec Dakin, describes “his leadership ….exercised with gentleness and understanding , and all who knew him and worked with him, loved him”. It was suggested to him that he would be better to revert to a civilian as he would be dealing with very high ranking Naval Officers .
The watch had three teams working the 24 hour cycle, led by Walter, and when Hut 8 broke a code, Hut 4 was ready to do immediate translation. In one group was WREN Officer Thelma Ziman (later MBE) who had come from South Africa to fight the war, and also Ernest Ettinghausen, Walter’s younger brother and antiquarian bookseller. Ernest became head of one of the shifts.
Decrypts would arrive in a wire tray in the form of sheets covered with teleprinter tapes , like a telegram, carrying German text in five-letter groups, just as in the original cipher. The sorter (Number 2) picked out those important to send to the NID (Naval Intelligence Division) at the Admiralty; number 3 wrote out the German text in clear, stapled it to the decrypt and handed it to Number 1, who translated to English and stamped it with a number. This went to WAAF (not WREN, curiously) clerks who sent it by teleprinter to the Admiralty with Number 1’s initials eg WGE, Walter Ettinghausen. From here it went to commanding officers at sea. Secrecy was extremely tight and the fewest possible people at BP saw the messages.
Translation was often not so simple, as messages often arrived partly corrupted and the linguists had to make inspired guesses as to meaning, using their linguisitic skills, context, operational background, etc, to reconstitute the message. They had to acquire a knowledge of German “navalese” and built up a unique dictionary of such terms and often used the excellent library and card catalogues built up at BP to do this.
Some messages came via wireless listening stations on the coast. On occasion Walter would visit these to familiarise himself with their work or go to the NID in London to see how they worked and what their special needs may be from BP. Others spent time at sea to get to know what conditions were like. If pressure of work was great or the messages especially sensitive, Walter would operate the teleprinter himself, often at night, for security reasons.
Before it was possible to read Enigma, the teams could still guess at the meanings of some German ciphers and signals, enough to give warnings to the navy that certain German battle ships, for example, were patrolling off Norway, and how to avoid or attack them. Often they could tell an urgent message by acronyms the Germans used such as SSD (sehr sehr dringend – “very very urgent”). The messages dealt with were extremely significant and included U Boat route plots, U Boat supply ship locations, and movements of capital ships like the Bismark or Hipper. Walter and his team knew that thousands of lives depended on their work, especially during the Battle of the Atlantic. Walter said, “I knew the name of every U Boat Commander”. His team helped re-route convoys to avoid them. Walter also vividly recalled the last messages of the Bismark, whose end he helped bring about in May 1941.
Eventually the section branched out into reading Italian, Vichy French and Spanish messages . As linguists, Walter remembered them having little trouble in dealing with these.
It was Walter who set up a Zionist Society at Bletchley which quite a few Jews regularly attended on a Wednesday evening at the apartment of Joe Gillis. (He was a Sunderland born mathematician from Belfast University who later became a professor at the Weizmann Institute at Rehovot, near Tel-Aviv. Among other things, Gillis broke the codes in which the Germans sent their weather reports, most important to our air forces campaign) . At these meetings they would discuss the independence of Israel and Aliyah (immigration) which many carried out after the War ended. Here, due to Walter, was founded the Professional and Technical Aliyah Association (PATWA), organised to encourage Jewish professionals to immigrate to Israel to form the nucleus of a modern, democratic nation. They did not hold religious services at BP, but did try to get home for major Festivals.
On one poignant night, in early 1944, his team intercepted a message from a German vessel in the Aegean, saying they were transporting Jews from Rhodes or Cos for Piraeus “zur Endlosung” (“for the final solution”); he had not heard this expression before but he wrote that he instinctively knew what it meant; he never forgot it and it left its mark on him till he died. It was thus indeed poetic justice, when Walter was in charge of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, years later, that it was he who initiated the original search for the notorious nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann, which culminated in Eichmann’s capture by the Israeli Secret Service in 1960 in Argentina and his transport to, and trial in, Israel, leading eventually to his execution in 1962 .
One of the most memorable moments came when the message about Hitler’s death arrived in April 1945, from German Naval HQ. It was late at night and Walter was on duty. He decided to wire this one himself to the Admiralty and not use a WAAF assistant. It was a fitting end for a Jewish soldier at Bletchley to have been the first to see and relay such a message. Small wonder he devoted the rest of his life working for the defence of Israel.
When Winterbotham’s book came out in 1974, Walter refused to read it in protest at the breaking of the oath to remain silent; not even his wife knew what he had done till the book emerged, only “that he worked at Bletchley”. Walter went to Israel in 1946 and was asked to set up a school to train staff for a Foreign Service for a new nation. He was involved during the siege of Jeruslaem in the 1948 War of Independence and at Lausanne in 1949 headed the Israeli delegation and signed the first agreement between Israel and an Arab country, Egypt. Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett asked him to become director of the Foreign Ministry, which he did for eleven years before becoming Ambassador to France. He was then afterwards , Permanent Secretary of the Israeli Foreign Office. Walter remained a close personal friend of Anne Ross, a Jewish BP worker, until he died in 2001 . Anne relates how for years after the war, he corresponded with his elderly landlady in Bletchley, right through his distinguished diplomatic career, until she died ; this was typical of his sensitivity and loyalty.
88920 Sqd. Ldr. Ary Thadee “Ted” Pilley was born at 123, Boulevard St Michel in Paris, on March 7th 1909, son of the famous Polish Jewish artists Leopold and Lena Pilichowski (see above). Aged four years, his family all came to live in London at 7, Hills Road, St John’s Wood, which became a famous meeting place for the Jewish intelligentsia of the day, including visits from Einstein on occasions, and many of the foremost Zionist leaders of the day. Ted went to the Merchant Tailors School and then to St John’s College Oxford. Later he worked as a sales manager in the international Textile business, using his languages, when he met his wife in Holland.
Ted and his wife had founded and managed the Linguists Club in London in the 1930’s, where clients met to speak and practice in various European languages led by a facilitator. Ted was serving at Aldergrove RAF base , Northern Ireland, at the outbreak of war as Intelligence Officer for 245 squadron protecting the port of Liverpool . His log book shows that he flew several sorties. But it was his linguistic skills that led him to be recruited to BP (his wife was also screened over tea at Simpsons by a discreet and cultivated MI5 agent, as well, as she had been born in Holland!). Peter Pilley says that it was Ted who recommended Naky Doniach – his brother in law! - for recruitment to BP (see above).
Ted worked in the watch room in Hut 3 with Jim Rose (see above) in the Air Intelligence section, deciding on the priority and precise and concise wording of distilled, decoded Luftwaffe messages and intelligence and to whom and in what wording, to pass them on to in the field.
At the end of the war at some stage, probably in Italy, he was given the job of interrogating a senior Nazi leader or general (Peter Pilley is not sure who) and almost as soon as they had begun, the Nazi asked Ted if he was a Jew. Answering yes, the German said he should leave as he would not speak to a Jew. Ted walked out of the cell.
Post war he again ran the Linguists Club, was made Officier d’Academie by France, and helped found the Association of International Conference Interpreters and Institute of Linguists. He died in London in June 1982.
Lt. Michael Cohen, RNVR was born in 1924 and worked in the Japanese section at Bletchley. At the beginning of 1943 he was called up and after 2 weeks called for interview near Southampton in front of five very senior naval officers. One held up a sheaf of papers and said , “You were a student of ancient Semitic languages”. Cohen said, with his strong Scots accent, he was at the Divinity School at the University of Glasgow and intended to be a rabbi. The officer handed him a page and asked him to read . “Breisheet bara Elohim et hashamayim v’et ha’aretz” (in the beginning God created heaven and earth) , read Cohen. He was then told he would be sent on a Japanese language course. “Yes sir” he replied!
After a six month course in London and two weeks learning to be an officer, he was made lieutenant and sent to BP where he worked with the Ettinghausen brothers on Navel codes. In the book “Codebreakers” he is mistakenly referred to as a Moslem Scots called Daoud – this is apocryphal and Ernest Ettinghausen has testifed in the taped interview with the author that this was in fact Michael Cohen from Glasgow and his idea of a joke!
By 1948 he was coding messages between the Jewish Agency Offices in London, and Jerusalem, and then sailed to Haifa, and helped found the “British kibbutz” at Kfar Hanassi in the Upper Galilee. There he worked in agriculture and managed the metal factory. He was also an emissary for the kibbutz movement in South Africa. He never revisited Bletchley. “ When you have passed through five other wars, Bletchley is hard to recall…if I close my eyes and think back, what I see are the two lovely Wrens who worked with me”. Good enough.
1263457 Albert Alfred Ernest Ettinghausen (brother of Walter –see above) also came to BP from the same Oxford College via the RAF. He was born in Munich in June 1913 although his father had been educated and brought up in England. But his father was working in Munich at the time and as a result was interned by the Germans in WW1 as an enemy alien, whilst his wife and children (Ernest and Walter) lived in Switzerland until 1919! Back in England, in 1920, Ernest later went to St Paul’s School and then worked in the antiquarian book business like his father, in Paris, where he learned French (he already knew German). He tried to enlist in the UK in September 1939 but only the Territorials were being called-up and he was sent away. He was again working in Paris when the “phoney” war ended and helped by the Brazilian Embassy Consul, went south after Dunkirk, using all manner of transport – including a bicycle – to escape the Nazis , at one time sitting on the diplomatic baggage in the back of the diplomatic car! At Bayonne, the Spanish Consul refused them passage to Spain but at Bordeaux they were assisted by the French to board a ship coming from West Africa (SS Madeira) together with hundreds of Free French, Poles and other Allies trying to get to England on a very over crowded ship, and arrived in Falmouth in late June 1940.
Albert was married to Mrs H N R Ettinghausen and lived at Hornestall Cottage, Barley, near Royston, but they formerly lived at 28 Belsize Park, NW3, according to his AJEX card..
Albert immediately enlisted in RAF aircrew, but was sent instead to the RAF Provost (Police) section as a Sergeant. Head hunted because of his languages, he was given a mysterious message to go and meet someone at Bletchley Railway Station waiting room, in late 1940. He was told he would be discharged from the RAF and went straight to the Naval Section in Hut 4 in February 1941.
He spent alternate weeks at the Admiralty Citadel (underground near The Horse Guards) at first, and also spent time at Scapa Flow with the battleship King George V, to get sea experience, as well as on a North Sea convoy and a Dutch submarine! He then later began the job of translating decoded German Naval messages at BP with his brother Walter (see above) in Hut 4, with whom he was also billeted. Here he followed the same path as his brother. It was convenient that the wives of both he and Walter were living in Oxford and so visits home were simple when possible.
At war’s end Ernest moved with BP to Eastcote and then Cheltenham (now GCHQ) as Intelligence Librarian by the early 1950’s. But there was pressure to move him as a security risk, as his brother was head of the Israel Foreign Office! So they found him a post as Librarian of the Science Museum, but the union would not ratify it as he had no formal qualifications. He then became Librarian at the Inland Revenue, followed by Director of the IR Stamp Duty Office, for which he was given the MBE. He died in 2001, the same year as his brother.
Ernst Constantin Fetterlein/Feterlein was son of Karl Fedorovich and Olga Fetterlein nee Meier . She was almost certainly Jewish and so Ernst can certainly be counted as of Jewish origin. Ernst was a cryptoanalyst under Tsar Nicholas in his “Black Cabinet” and reached the equivalent rank of admiral. Leaving Russia for Britain after the Revolution of 1917 , he was one of the earliest recruits into GC&CS after WW1 in 1919. He retired in his 60’s in 1938 but was recalled to active service and worked at Bletchley on the German diplomatic code system known as “Floradora”. He died in 1944 . His brother Paul Fetterlein also worked at Bletchley.
Rolf Noskwith was born on June 19th 1919, in Chemnitz, Germany into a well-to-do textile producing family who had the foresight to leave before Hitler came to power. Rolf’s family name was originally Noskovitch, and his father originally Chaim, then Heinrich then Charles Henry! His mother Malka Ginsberg and father Chaim were born in Lodz, Poland. With family and business connections in England, they sold-up in Germany and came to Nottingham in 1932 with his sister Alexandra, who later became a famous doctor . After Nottingham High and whilst at Trinity College, Cambridge reading mathematics, Rolph was interviewed with many other students in 1939 , to help decide where they could best be used in the war effort. At first, he was rejected , because he failed the medical for the Artillery; but a year later this was put aside at a second interview for work as a linguist and decoder, but he was again rejected this time due to his German birth! Much aggrieved by this, he just continued in his third year at Cambridge. Then in a third interview with C P Snow and the famous chess champion Hugh Alexander, he was finally accepted and he arrived at BP on June 19th 1941, his 22nd birthday .
He was met and taken to Hut 8 by Alexander, where the German Naval traffic was read thanks to material captured from enemy weather ships, which had shortly before helped lead to the sinking of the Bismark. Here he worked under the direct leadership of the great Alan Turing, with Alexander as deputy.
His first billet was in a rather primitive village cottage near Buckingham, which he reached late one night in the pitch dark. He groped his way into a room and found he was sharing with Bill Tutte, one of the great de coders of Bletchley. The following week he pleaded to be moved somewhere with more congenial facilities and went to stay thereafter with George and Elizabeth Bessell in Newport Pagnell; buses were available but he had a bike too in case he missed it.
As intercepted messages came in to Hut 8, they were logged in a Register, many being duplicates from several stations. The code had been broken by Turing, but many messages were corrupt and Rolf'’s job was to guess meanings or "crib", from the German, and then they were run through the “bombe” (decoding) machine which could use hundreds of variables, until the message made sense and was decoded.
One German message Rolf decoded concerned the Struma, a ship carrying escaping Jewish refugees attempting to get to Israel, which was sunk in The Black Sea with almost all passengers killed. Rolf remembers this causing him much distress.
In late 1941, Rolf used a crib to unravel the meaning of messages about coloured flares used for identification by the German navy, an obviously important breakthrough for RN ships to use! This enabled him to go on to break the “Offizier” Enigma code, used between German Naval HQ and its U Boat Officers at sea. This involved the intense and careful analysis of many German messages and captured (“pinched”) code books from the U110 (depicted in the movie “U 571” ). Finally, Rolf had his hoped-for solution fed into one of the bombes and then he took two days leave, arranging for one of his colleagues, Shaun Wylie, to send him a telegram at home to inform him if the crib had been successful, using the code word “fish” to denote a result. Rolf’s father took the telephone call as the telegram was read out, totally mystified by the word “pompano”. Rolf looked it up – it meant fish! “Offizier” had been cracked and the effect on the saving of merchant ships from U Boats was huge because the positions of the enemy were known and they could be hunted or avoided as resources permitted.
In 1943 when they needed more German messages for making cribs, they got the RAF to use a system called “Gardening”. RAF Mines would be laid in a known location at sea, the Germans would send warning messages in code to their navy, and Rolf and his team would decypher the messages, and thus code, as they knew roughly what the German message had said!
His work continued through the war and in 1944 Hut 8 was moved to Block D, where he played an important part in decyphering weather ship messages which gave urgent and crucial information useful for the D Day landings. Rolf also remembers decrypting the message from Field Marshall von Witzleben after the July 1944 plot, announcing that Hitler was dead; it turned out not to be true, as we know. In fact, this message was passed to Hut 4 where Walter Ettinghausen and Michael Cohen dealt with it too; it began “nur durch Offizier zu entziffern” – to be deciphered by officer only; then “Naval Headquarters to all, Operation Valkyrie…Adolf Hitler is dead…the new Fuhrer is Field Marshal von Witzleben”. The message was sent to the Admiralty and then Cohen and friends walked to the canteen for their midnight meal. Cohen remarked, “Der Lezte Witz Seines Lebens” (the last joke of his life), for Witzleben meant "joke-life". But the announcement of the Stauffenberg plotters was premature and by morning most were dead
Rolf remembers well the Jewish and Zionist society, to which he was introduced by Jack Good, and Walter Ettinghausen saying he would be on the first boat to Palestine at war’s end; this he did (see above).
Post war, he stayed at BP for some time working on Japanese and Yugoslav and even American codes. He could not tear himself away and went with the whole section when it moved to Eastcote and the very beginnings of the Cold War period. He finally left in June 1946 and began work for his father’s hosiery and lingerie firm, “Charnos” (Charles Noskwith), at Ilkeston and became Director in 1952. He is still working there.
In 1947 he met Walter Eytan in New York , who was working to get the UN partition plan through at the UN for the re-birth of Israel. Rolf offered Walter his services in Israel as a code-breaker; Eytan replied, amusingly, “code-beakers we have plenty of!”.
The first time Rolf attended a reunion was when the BP Association opened the Museum and he met people he had not seen for over 50 years. When “Codebreakers” was launched at the Imperial War Musuem he met again with veterans from Bletchley and also appeared in one of the Channel 4 documentaries. He also has a curious link with Alan Turing in that his father-in-law was Turing’s psychiatrist!
Morris Hoffman was working in HM Customs and studying languages at Birkbeck College, London when war broke out. As he had a knowledge of German, he was referred by the College careers officer to an interview with Commander Saunders RN, in Broadway near St James Park. Morris later discovered this was the HQ of the British Secret Service. Part of the interview was to test his German, and by February 12th 1942 he was at Bletchley Park, with no idea what to expect .
Billeted in Leighton Buzzard, he was sent to work in Hut 3 and informed he would help translate German Enigma decodes passed to them from Hut 6, to which they were joined by a “hole in the wall” partition. He remembers clearly the huge wall map which showed the complete order of battle of the Luftwaffe, as BP knew it. With Morris were all kinds of other experts especially employed to evaluate messages as to level of importance (military attached), clarify technical German terms, locate tiny places on maps mentioned in codes, evaluate what the Germans knew about our messages, and so on. At one point he was allocated to assist F L Lucas (English Don at King’s College, Cambridge) who worked on the destruction of the convoys to Rommel in the Mediterranean, then John Saltmarsh (King’s College Librarian) on coded map references which gave Rommel’s positions and intentions in North Africa and enabled the drawing by Morris of quite accurate maps for the 8th Army! Some of his maps were actually requested by Churchill. In late 1943 Saltmarsh fell ill and Morris had to take over. His particular problem became the locating on atlas and sheet maps the names of small places mentioned by the Germans where crucial HQ’s may be located, and he was allocated 4 female staff to assist him in this. He also bought old Baedeker Guides from second hand shops in London to assist in this, and old German telephone directories; BP repaid his expenses.
If ever Morris spotted in the enemy messages the name of someone being transferred from one place to another known to be connected with radar or V1 research, such apparently innocuous detail may be of huge significance and it was his job to pass this to the section dealing with such intelligence. Professor Frederick Norman was in charge of such an area, and he once said – referring to information Morris had passed to him - to one of Morris’s assistants, “Where Hoffman has trodden, no grass grows!”. A rare compliment.
In early June 1944 – having now moved in with a Scots couple near to BP itself – he was visited by a senior officer asking for details of enemy dispositions for a map of the Cherbourg Peninsula. He finished after midnight and then went home to sleep. Early next morning he was woken by his landlord who told him he had best go to work, because “the Second Front is blazing!”. Morris did his best to look surprised.
On another occasion Morris managed to deduce an entry route used for Axis submarines in the north Mediterranean; it was referred to a senior committee but not used as it was considered too sensitive ie might give a clue that the Enigma had been broken.
On matters Jewish, Morris comments that kashrut (eating kosher food) was never a problem as he went vegetarian and was treated accordingly whether in digs or the canteen. He attended the Joe Gillis evenings and met several Jewish staff from BP. One evening a policeman appeared at the door and asked why there were so many people meeting at the place. Walter and Joe refused him entry, however, and afterwards he would often be seen watching the flat from the street. One evening he stopped and warned Thelma Ziman for using her car for an unauthorized purpose, when she was in fact on her way to work!
There were three Hasidic (very orthodox) families, in Bletchley itself, evacuated from London. When Morris’s father died in August 1942 he went to their tiny shtiebel (prayer room) to say kaddish. They became friendly but one of the young men tried to impress upon Morris he should not work on Shabbat (Saturday); Morris impressed upon him that even the Maccabees fought on Shabbat! On one occasion, Walter Eytan showed him a German book he had acquired and its binder had been made from a looted Torah scroll; this served as a sombre reminder of what they were all fighting against.
In 1944 Morris was privy to the fact that the first V2 rockets were about to be launched, following the V1 threat. Lucas warned him he must say nothing to anyone. He was unable, therefore, to warn his mother on visiting her there and had to keep his peace whilst he sat with her as the last V1 and the first V2 hit London!
114705761 Sergeant Samuel Julius Goldstein (Gould) was born in October 1924 in Liverpool and when war broke out was at school (Liverpool Collegiate) but then went to study Classics at Balliol College, Oxford . He then enlisted into the army (Intelligence Corps) and was selected from there to study Japanese and went to BP from the Army in Spring 1944. Here he was translating Japanese intercepts. He was billeted in the nearby army camp and was able to walk to work. His main work at this time was dealing with what the Japanese and Germans were saying to each other via their Consulates in neutral countries and what the Japanese were then reporting to Japanese High Command in Tokyo with regard to German matters, often containing significant clues to issues of German plans, morale and strategy. On one occasion an orthodox Jewish family named Teitlebaum invited him for a Sabbath meal, but otherwise any Jewish contacts were in nearby Oxford.
Samuel remembers very much a College atmosphere in the spare time that the staff had - reading, common room discussions, eccentric academics in college scarves and old school ties, and so on. At war’s end, he stayed in Intelligence and was moved to London at the start of the Cold War, but about which he would say nothing; he then returned in 1946 to Oxford . Post war, he held several university posts in Sociology until he retired.
2378351 Vivian David Lipman was born in west London in 1920, grandson of Rabbi Nahum Lipman and son of Samuel Lipman, MBE. From a traditionally Jewish home he went to St Paul’s school and then Magdalen College Oxford to read history; he refused to sit BA papers on the Sabbath and arrangements were made for him to take them on another day . His address is given on his AJEX card as Grange Cottage, Shattley, Stratford-upon-Avon. At Nuffield College Oxford he worked for the Social Reconstruction Survey and was then called up to the RCOS and Intelligence Corps from 1942-45 , working at BP. Little is known about his work there, as like many others he refused to talk about such matters. Post war he became Director of Ancient Monuments and received the CVO. He was also a leading Anglo-Jewish historian. He died in March 1990.
7928156 Bernard Lewis was born in May 1916, son of Jane and Hyman Lewis (an east European immigrant) in east London. He attended Wilson College prep school and then the Polytechnic school, before going to read Middle Eastern History at SOAS, where he became proficient in Arabic, Russian, Turkish and other south European and Middle Eastern languages. On the outbreak of war he joined the Armoured Corps (59th Regiment) and was posted to Tidworth, and then transferred to the Intelligence Corps as a Corporal, in Winchester in early 1941. After several months he was suddenly ordered to “an unknown destination” and told to collect a travel warrant to go to London. At Waterloo, he was told to ask the RTO (Railway Transport Officer) for instructions. He then received a warrant for Euston where the RTO gave him another warrant for Bletchley. He was informed “someone would meet him”. At Bletchley he was taken to digs in the village and told to report to BP next morning. Concerned that his family would not know where to contact him, he was told mail would be forwarded. Amusingly, he received a letter diverted from Winchester, the following day; so much for secrecy and travel warrants to mysterious destinations !
For several months in 1941, he worked on translating and decoding and was detached from the army; he attended the Friday night Jewish gatherings with Joe Gillis. He was later moved (1942) to the Foreign Office in London. Postwar he taught at SOAS till 1974, then at Princeton NJ till 1986, when he partially retired, and now lives aged 88, at time of interview. He is much published.
Margaret Judith Rubens was born in May 1920, daughter of Alex ( a Mizrahi leader) and Rosamund (whose grandmother was an aunt of BP member Lionel Loewe). She attended South Hampstead School and then Newnham College, Cambridge 1939-42, where she read Classics. Her address was 37, Lyncroft Gardens, NW6. At some stage she was sent to BP probably on translation work, but no more is known about what she did there. She stayed with the Foreign Office until 1948 and was at some stage a social worker and translator in Paris until 1966. She was related to the Loewe family, two of whom also worked at BP (see above). She died in June 1996 .
Ruth Sebag-Montefiore was born in 1916 at 12 Westbourne Terrace, London, daughter of Major Laurie and Mrs Dora Magnus (nee Spielman). Educated at Notting Hill High and Burgess Hill School near Brighton, Ruth did secretarial work afterwards and then was recommended to apply for a job with the Foreign Office in 1939. After interview at Broadway Buildings, for an unknown posting, she was sent to BP in the very early days when a only a few staff had been installed and she found herself working in the main manor house itself. This was indeed ironic as the former owner (Sir Herbert Leon) was her great uncle! Later she moved to hut 10. Ruth describes her work at BP in her book . “We were sending and receiving coded telegrams to and from agents in every war zone. Each agent and each codist had two identical books, one a paperback novel, the other filled with five-figure groups of numbers. To encode the telegram you encoded the first few words – which had to contain more than fifteen letters – of a line in the novel, indicating in figure code, the page, line and five consecutive letters – which represented numbers – chosen first – and the five-figure group in the numbers book, where you were starting the message. After turning the message into figures, agent and codist proceeded , by adding or deducting one group of figures from the other to encode or decode the telegram…..you never knew from day to day what messages would reveal. Incoming telegrams consisted of all kinds of news picked up by agents – safe houses for escaped POW’s and new agents, disappearance of agents, leaks, landing zones – as well as enemy troop movements, sightings of U Boats, targets for the RAF – and the number of “Z’s” indicated urgency, three being most urgent. All was sent to HQ for action.
Once I saw a short telegram enquiring about the health of my cousin Tim Cohen, seriously wounded at Mareth in North Africa, signed by MI6 head, Sir Stewart Menzies , a lifelong friend of Tim’s father. This was quite a coincidence as I was one of 60 working three shifts! I added an extra Z (to two) and forwarded it! Our work was so secret that we did not pay income tax; this annoyed my bank manager when I was unable to tell him what I did!
All the codists were female and from varied backgrounds, some with husbands serving, some with children - all uprooted. The early appointees were single, middle-aged and dedicated, if scatty; they formed a sort of self-appointed elite. We were younger, noisy but efficient, “ and regarded with some disdain. I had yet to learn how women who are otherwise pleasant and normal human beings can behave in their working lives . A few codists left after the first month or two, unable to stand the life, but most of us stuck it out, marking time till the war was over.
Hut 10 was run by a retired general, ill at ease with 60 women, but the department head was a Miss Montgomery of the FO, whose agile mind was hidden behind a deceptively gentle Miss-Marple-Like exterior. Thin and angular, she was always neatly dressed in well-cut coats and skirts so that the long paper cuffs she wore – a fresh pair every day – to protect her sleeves, struck a bizarre note in so non-descript and conventional an appearance. The other huts were filled with brilliant minds, interesting individually, but collectively, when they poured out of the huts for breaks, gesticulating, unkempt and bespectacalled, they looked like beings from another planet.
“My first billet was in Bletchley town centre, in a tiny terraced house owned by a train driver and his wife, the Jarmans, both with a lively cockney sense of humour and very warm and friendly, who doted on their two sons who were serving” . Bath water was heated with a small kettle, and rent was 10s 6d (52p) per week; I was joined later by a friend, Lillian Beresford-Peirse. Later I moved to Leighton Buzzard and stayed for the remaining 3 years”.
In late 1944 Ruth was transferred to Eindhoven and The Hague as the Allies advanced, and were ordered to wear ATS uniform, in case of capture by the enemy. Conditions were very basic but the Dutch loved them as liberators. They often gave them food from their Mess as the Dutch were starving at first. Here she met the Soviet spy, George Blake – then a callow youth, a most unlikely looking traitor that he was.
In May 1945 Ruth was flown home and demobbed at Broadway Buildings where she had signed on. In 1946 she married her second cousin Denzil, the widower of her late sister Pam. He was related to the first Jewish VC winner, Lt. Alexander de Passe, and had been born in the house which is now the Israeli Embassy . Later Ruth worked as a sub-editor of children’s books at Chatto and Windus in London.
Joan Enid Friedman was born in November 1918 in Birmingham, to Myer and Dora (nee Tuchman); her father was a civil servant and they lived in Edgbaston. After King Edward VI School, she went to Girton College, Cambridge to read Classics from 1937-40 and then went on to teach German in schools in Southwold and Nottingham . She was then head-hunted by the Foreign Office and was sent to BP, being billeted in the nearby village of New Bradwell with a family whose son was away in the forces. Her job was in the Naval Section with Walter Ettinghausen, whom she knew well; on receiving de coded German messages, her task was to translate them into readable English before being forwarded to the various intelligence branches for use in the field. At the time of interview Joan could not remember much of her life at Bletchley, but did say that her upbringing led her not to eat any non-kosher food, especially meat, and as result her diet was quite plain!
Post war Joan worked as a senior Librarian at the universities of Birmingham, Keele and Cambridge and then became a senior lecturer in Librarianship at Sheffield from 1964-1980.
7944566 Capt. Nathan Somers, RA/IC was born in Cardiff on 26th June 1909 son of Samuel Somers/Sommers and Kate (nee Rayman). He went to Canton Grammar school and was Barmitzvah in Cardiff. Despite earning an Exhibition to Oxford University he was unable to afford to take it up and studied German at Cardiff University instead. As a German linguist he became a Secondary teacher in Workingon (briefly) and then at Waterloo Grammar School in Liverpool. When war broke out he volunteered and did basic training at Catterick, later moving to the RA in order to take his Commission at the 133rd OCTU in North Wales into the Intelligence Corps. It was here he met his wife who was in the ATS (Sgt W/30556 Fanny ‘Fay’ Yetta Peter, from Brighton)
His AJEX Jewish Chaplain card shows he lived at 114 Bury New Rd, Prestwich.
He soon answered a call for linguists and found himself posted to Bletchley as a translator. He worked in Block F and was a section commander in the Testry dealing with high level material connected to the German High Command and Diplomatic traffic. He remembered reading a document telling of the capture of Randolph, Winston Churchill’s son. He was often called away to attend secret conferences in London
Postwar he again taught German in Liverpool and founded a local CCF at Waterloo School, becoming its Major. He was leader of the very tight-knit Crosby Jewish Community. He had three sons, Peter, Nicholas and Harold, the latter two also being linguists. He died in 1973 without divulging any further information.
Ivor John Croft was born in Mapesbury Road, Brondesbury on 6th January 1923, son of Oswald Cohen and Doris (nee Phillips), who had married in 1921 . Oswald’s family were of Dutch Jewish origin and immigrated to England in the early 19th century. The Cohen’s were members of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue in St John’s Wood, and John was Barmitzvah (privately tutored by a Hebrew teacher) at the Reform Synagogue in Berkeley Street. John first attended The Hall prep school in Hampstead and then continued on to Westminster School. He then went up to Christ Church Oxford to read history. Early in Trinity Term 1942, his tutor , Dr (later Sir Keith) Feiling, asked if he would be interested in Intelligence work in preference to going direct into the army. This seemed enticing and somewhat of a family tradition, as his father had had the hazardous job of tapping into German telephone links in the front line in WW1 when in the Seaforth Highlanders .
John was interviewed by the then Master of Balliol A.D. (later Lord) Lindsay, where he was asked if he could read and translate German newspaper headlines, which he could, and on May 21st 1942 went for a further interview in Oxford with Colonel, later Brigadier, John Tiltman, where crossword skills were mentioned . John describes Tiltman as a typical regular army officer with toothbrush moustache and clipped speech, but whom he later discovered to be a man of outstanding skill and experience. At the end of the month, he received a letter from a Lt. Kaye saying he had been selected for a Special Intelligence course.
In late summer 1942, John reported with some two dozen other men (few women were in those days actually in Cryptography), mostly undergraduates, with a few British Museum Staff (Angus Wilson, for example) and other sundry recruits, to a GCCS School near Bedford, commanded by a Major (Royal Signals) and Captain (Intelligence Corps). Here it became clear he would be working with codes and ciphers. Working with them were tutors in German, Japanese and some military disciplines. Thus he began a basic Cryptography course, but at that time there was no mention of the use of machines. From here John proceeded to an intensive German course to augment his military vocabulary, though he saw little relevance for this, as cryptanalysis depended on recognition of letter frequency, not technical terms. He was billeted first in two private Bedford homes and then at a boarding house , at 44, de Parys Avenue, Bedford, along with Edward Boyle, later a famous Cabinet Minster.
Several weeks after he was sent to the Testery at Bletchley Park where he joined the small , mostly civilian , team which did the crucial work on the German Geheimschreiber teleprinter, led by Major Ralph Tester. He spent six months here. Other Jewish staff included Private Peter Beneson and Peter Hilton (the latter a relative of John Croft) . The hut was divided into two, the machine room being at the rear, staffed mostly by WRENS, and some male Post Office technicians, and at the front were half a dozen or so trestle tables and Tester’s office, which was on a slightly raised platform. As most traffic was intercepted during the day, the night shift had little to do except unravel difficult intercepts from the day shift. John himself felt he was poorly trained in the office and picked up most of the skills himself by trial and error.
The code traffic consisted of both strategic and logistical communications between German High Command and Army HQ in the Balkans, North Africa and Italy, and some between Berlin and south France. On one occasion John’s team broke a message from Hitler demanding the arrest of Yugoslav partisan Mihailovic, for which the reward would be “a large quantity of gold”. The Order of Battle of the German Army was displayed on a huge board, its real intent disguised by using (a typically British ruse) the names of the charwomen, in place of German generals.
John attests to the rather collegiate atmosphere at BP, where nobody pulled rank and where many of the military personnel were entrusted with crucial secrets, and yet were not even officers. This is partly explained by the fact that by 1943 most recruits were from the Universities, Museums and National Libraries, and also partly by the intensity and seriousness of the work, which bonded people together. Only the “Directors” in the Mansion building itself seemed remote. He does not recall, unlike other Jewish personnel, any instances of anti-Semitism in his time at BP.
Because everything was so top secret, there was no professional gossip and everything was on a strictly “need to know” basis. So, for example, despite the very close mathematical analysis links between the sections dealing with Enigma and Fish, John knew virtually nothing of Enigma, despite frequently meeting another Jewish “main player” in unravelling its secrets, Max Newman.
Socially, the canteen and lakeside were focuses, as well as the train which shuttled between Bletchley and Bedford; John recalls getting into a splendid compartment on one occasion, with brass lamp fittings, with a group recruited on the basis of their being able to complete “The Daily Telegraph” crossword in under five minutes. Conversation was stimulating, but never “shop” – and this substitute university extended to Bedford billets and leave trains to London. It was common for fellow travellers to be reading Greek texts, for example, and on one occasion he was amazed at how sheltered and indeed privileged a life many had of his colleagues had led; Edward Boyle, for example, was astonished at the experience when travelling with John on a 73 bus in London – clearly he had never been on a bus before!
Soon John sought a transfer from BP, where the tedious nature of much of the work began to affect him, and through contacts obtained an intelligence post with the so called Government Communications Bureau (GCB) in 1944 , based at Berkeley Street and Park Lane. This dealt with diplomatic and commercial intercepts in Axis, neutral and allied countries, led by Commander Alexander Denniston, who until 1942 was deputy Director at BP. Here, after late 1943, John became involved with anti-Communist cryptography, notably Comintern communications across Europe. With him was another Jewish colleague, Bernard Scott aka Schultz, a mathematician, who soon broke the code . Later they were joined by one of the Fetterlein brothers who translated the Russian decrypts , and the American Jewish cryptanalyst William Friedman was another visitor to John’s building , though not to his section .
John also met Kim Philby, the notorious Soviet spy/mole and then a senior British intelligence officer. One morning Fetterlein arrived to find his cupboard had been forced open and documents disturbed. John is convinced that Philby was connected to this break-in after he must have been made aware that they were dealing with Soviet intercepts; he probably arranged for a Soviet agent to do the job.
In Trinity term 1945, John returned to Oxford to finish his degree, finding it difficult to settle down after three exciting years in Intelligence work. He asked one of his tutors if he could take a research degree in the origins of the British Intelligence Service from Elizabeth 1, but was discouraged ; his tutor was John Masterman of the famous “Double Cross” system used by the Allies in WW2. So it was not surprising that he deterred John, who did not see the logic of his tutor’s decision - until 1972, when Masterman published his own famous book !
There were two subsequent ripples to John’s work in WW2. In early 1947 he applied for a job at GCHQ (then at Eastcote, west London) but was refused. He appealed to the Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin and was also turned down. He then considered taking a degree at the Courtauld Institute (University of London) in history of art and was interviewed by Sir Anthony Blunt – then also a Soviet spy! When John was asked about his wartime work, he gave the stock answer he was trained to give, “ a department of the Foreign Office”. Blunt became remote and chilly for the rest of the interview.
John later became an LCC school teacher (1949-51) and then joined the Civil Service in various roles, rising ultimately to be Head of the Home Office Research Unit 1972-83, becoming CBE in 1982. He is also an accomplished artist, never married and lives today in Bath.
Those considered Jewish are either because Jewish Chaplains cards were found ant the AJEX Museum OR the name makes it obvious. The list of names of those who served at BP, used by the author, comes from the research list of Christopher King, Archivist at the BP Museum I am also grateful to Rolph Noskwith, veteran code breaker at BP, for his help during an interview in May 2004 at his home.
There are many other Jewish sounding names on King's list but without proof I have had to omit them for now.
Among others who gave personal testimony were Peter Hilton (USA), Michael Loewe, David Loewe, Morris Milner, Morris Hoffman, the nephew of Maurice Spector, Lena Woolstone, the husband of Doris Blustone, the daughter of Harry Horne (Valerie Serkes in Israel), Mrs Cynthia Maccoby, Mrs Ruth Doniach-Durant, Iona Doniach, Mrs Barbara Barnett, Beverley Nenk, Jane Bennett (Australia), Albert Ettinghausen, Samuel Goldstein, the Bogush sisters, Ann Ross/Mendoza/Meadows, Phyllis Wix, Gila Goldberg (Israel) - daughter of J D Goldberg, and her mother, Hilda Feder-Goldberg; the "Jewish Chronicle " Librarians, Bernard Lewis, Samantha Chalmers (Newnham College Archives), Joan Friedman, Dame Miriam Rothschild-Lane, Wilf Lockwood, Penny Finestein, Kate Perry (Girton College Archives), Peter Willett (University of Sheffield), Peter Pilley, Alan Bath, Ralph Erskine, Ruth Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh Sebag-Montefiore, Anna Sander (Balliol Archives).
Jeremy Schonfield ( Editor, Jewish Historical Society of England) was also a huge support and assistance in reaching several surviving Jewish participants and their families. Some U.S. names came from Tony Sales' site on the web. Many Jewish personnel served in the out-stations of BP and in the Y Service;but that subject is out of the scope of this study.
P means probably Jewish. No rank means CA or Civilian Attached; JC is Jewish Chronicle newspaper
Abraham, Miss JLT - P
Abrahams, Audrey - Block C
Abrahams, Sylvia - Hut 7
Abrahamson, Mr Sidney - translator
Abramson, Mr J L T - P
Ahrens, Joan Stella WAAF
Albrecht, Ldg Wren S D M - P
Alderman aka Andruszewicz, Ethel - Hut 14 – probable
Auerbach, Pfc Herbert - USA
Baker, Ellis - tbc
Barfield, Dr - P
Barfield, Miss B C - P
Barnet, Cyril - AJEX file - Colossus team for 2 yrs.
Barnett, Fl Lt Richard David RAF
Barnett, Kenneth Peter - P - translator
Barrow, G W/B W, Lt RNVR, DSO
Bass, Esme - P
Bass, Mia - P
Bauman, Elizabeth - P
Bauman, Miss M L A - P
Benenson, Peter b. Germany, founded Amnesty International.
aka Solomon-Benenson, worked in Testery
Benhamin, Miss K M - P
Bennet, Capt. R, RNVR - prob. Levy-Bennett
Bennett, Major Jane, formerly Guss, ATS W192366
Birley, Major Benjamin J - P
Bischof, Capt. Alexander George - probable
Bischoff, Mrs Elizabeth Grace
Blank, Mr and Mrs A. David - P
Bloom, Army Sgt William - (M Bogush) - from Leeds
Bluston, Cpl. Doris ATS
Bogush, Miss Anita
Bogush, Miss Muriel (Sisters)
Bourne/Henry, Wren Ruth (JC article)
Brasch, Charles O. – Italian/Romanian codes
Carter, Sidney Norman aka Norman Chernitsky
Cassar, Joseph A. – Japanese section – probable
Cohen, Mr A L – Testery
Cohen, Capt David "Daoud" aka Cowan - was really Michael Cohen (below)
Cohen, Laurence Jonathan
Cohen, Lt Michael RNVR
Cohn, Capt Norman R C – Army, Block D
Croft aka Cohen, Ivor John – see M Sugarman JHSE paper Vol 43, 2011
Davis, MJ - WAAF - 2174293
Davis, Wren R W - Ruth or Rosalind
De Haan, Miss S G - (Marjorie?) P
De Minckwitz, Miss N - P
De Morpurgo, Capt J I S – Army Japanese section
De Pass, Ms Hope – probable
Dellera/Deluera, Phyllis M WAAF AC1
Deyong, Samuel Peter - P
Doniach, Sqdn. Ldr Nakidmon Shabbetai ,RAF
Elkins, Win - P
Erends, Benny - P
Esterson, Ldg Wren Kitty - from London E7
Ettinghausen, Alfred Albert E E (brothers)
Ettinghausen, Lt Walter George, later Walter Eytan, Israel's Ambassador to UN
Fehl, Lt. Alfred P - USA - P
Fenton, Monica Wingate - P
Fetterlein, Mr Ernst
Fetterlein, Paul (brothers)
Firnberg, Major - P
Fischer-Sobell, F/O RAF - P
Flack, Wren M E - P
Flaxman, Miss F - P
Franco, Miss R - P
Frank, Eric Joseph
Frank, Pfc Maxwell N - USA - P
Frank, Wren S M - P
Franklin, C Ruth - later Sebag-Montefiore - AJEX info.
Freedman, Mr H M –also at Chicksands
Freedman, Wren Audrey Pamela, from Leeds, 7
Freigel, Lt Alex T - USA - P
Fresco-Corbu, Roger - P
Fried, Walter - P
Friedman, Miss Joan Enid
Friedman, William F - USA
Frish, Miss I M - P
Fulton, Wren E Muriel from Watford
Gillis, Joseph b. Sunderland 1911 - Maths, Trinity, Cambridge - taught at Weizmann Inst., Israel - d 1993
Gluckstein, Mrs E M - worked in Italian/Japanese sections
Goldberg, Captain Joshua David - Japanese section
Goldstein, Theodore - USA
Gollop, Miss I S - Naval Section
Golombek, Mr Harry - 9x British chess olympiad.
Good, Isidore Jacob/John
Goodman, Eli - RAF - info. F Sgt H Richer - tbc
Goodman, Miss N M - P
Goodman, J A N - P
Goodman, Lt R J - P
Gottstein, Ldg Writer R - RN - P
Gould/Goldstein, Sgt Julius aka Goold
Graff, ATS L/CPL C - P
Greiffenhagen, Mr R
Greiner, Miss K - P
Habicht, Mr E F - P
Hagen, Bridget - P
Hardy, Miss E Anita
Harman, Sgt - P
Hart, Sgt Elsie B - ATS - P
Hellman, Miss E P - P
Hellman, Miss J K - P
Hilton, Peter John
(More information in M Sugarman's JHSE article, 43, 2011.)
Horne, 1617083 RAF Cpl. Harry - from Cricklewood
Horstman, Mrs J O - P (is this Elizabeth?)
Hyman, Miss P E - P
Hyman, Sgt John E - USA Air Intell.
Instone, Capt Robert Bernard Samuel - Italian Naval codes
Jacob, Colonel - P
Jacobs, Techn. Walter - USA - huge statistical contribution to Newmanry over 6 months
Jaffe, Heather Jane - P
Jaffee, Lt Sidney - USA - Hut 3
Jolowicz, Major Herbert F – WW1 veteran, Intelligence Corps later Prof of Roman Law UCL
Judah, Miss Claire S
Kahan, Mrs M F W - P
Kahn, Mrs M J - P - Chinese section
Kanis, Miss Pamela - P
Karet, H W - was member of Lauderdale Rd Synagogue
Kaufman, George – Hut 4
Kleinwort, Fl Lt Ernest RAF
Klusman, Mrs D O - P - Hut 14
Koppel-Palmer, Miss M C - P - linguist in Mansion
Kullback, Major Solomon - USA
Lander, Wren A P F - P
Leibi, Capt - P
Levenson, Lt Arthur - USA
Levy, Miss Di
Levy, Miss S I – Hostel Superintendent
Levy, Sydney George – Intelligence Corps
Levin, S/O Cynthia WAAF - 2022972/8263 - Ajex card - Block A/Mansion
Levy, Suzanne WREN
Lewis, Dr Bernard - Head of Near East Section
Lewis, Wren P M G - prob. Pauline/Phyllis/Polly
Lidstone, Miss PM - P
Liebi/Liebl, Capt. - P
Lipman, Cpl Vivian D. - Jap. Section (SJ Goldstein)
Lipman-Pollard, Helen – ATS Block H
Lisser, Sgt R C - aka Lisner? - P
Livingston Mr - alias German Jewish refugee - (Anne Ross)
Loehnis, Cmdr. Clive or Joseph - Austrian origin - P
Loehnis, Mrs R B - P
Loewe, Major Lionel Louis (uncle of M A N Loewe)
Loewe, Michael A. N.
Lyons, Wren P L - P
Maccoby, Hyam - RCOS
Mahalski, Norman - CA - P - Block A
Makower, Rachel E L – Hut 7
Marks, Cpl. Barbara - P
Marks, Miss A - P
Marks, Miss Barbara Ruth - ATS - P
Marks, Vera Margaret WREN Block G
Massarsky, Sgt. - USA - P
Mayer, 83064 Fl Lt E V RAF – Hut 10
Megroz, Sec Ldr ATS, P. - P
Mendoza, Belle (sister of Anne Mendoza/Ross)
Milner, Sgt. Ephraim - maths teacher, University of Swansea, b. Bridgend 1907
Miskin, Miss E - P
Monk, Wren Daphne
Myers, Sec Ldr ATS - P
Nagel, Miss E C B
Nathan, L. Testery
Nenk, Major David - Japanese codes
Newman, Prof Maxwell H A
Newman, Wren Doreen Audrey 84187 - London NW8
Noskwith, Dr Rolph
Oppenheim, A G – WREN
Oppenheimer, Miss O D
Pearl, Ann – WREN
Perman, Fl. Off. RAF - P - Block A
Pilley, Sdn. Ldr Thadee, RAF aka Pilichowski - b. in law of Doniach
Pinto-Alves, Sec Off. - ATS? - P
Politzer, Capt. - info. R Noskwith
Prince, Lt Francis Templeton - Times obit 8/8/03
Prins, Lt. Cornelius Arnold L. 174568 Intell. Corps - P
Prins, Lt. George Vivian RCOS - brother of Cornelius? - at BP? -P
Ramus, Arthur Nathaniel - translator, Naval Section
Reiss, Mrs A M - P
Reiss, Vincent - transport officer - P
Roberts, Wren Sonia R - aka Baker
Robinson, Wren Betty 89073 - Cyncoed, Cardiff
Rodrigues-Pereira, Miss Miriam - ATS W298557
Roesler, Ldg Wren J M - P
Rose, aka Rosenheim, Sqd. Ldr Eliot Joseph Ben aka "Jim" - USA Legion of Merit
Rosen, Lt Leo - USA
Rosenberg, Gordon RAF
Rosenberg, Lt J - USA Navy
Rosengarten, Lt. Adolf - USA - after BP tranferred to US Forces in Europe 1944
Ross, Wren Anne Meadows aka Mendoza
Rothband, Miss Margaret
Rothschild, Dr. Miriam - decoder - book by J Lennard "Jews in Wartime" interview
Rothschild, Miss Joan L. - ATS - W242790
Rubens, Miss Margaret Judith
Salaman, Miss J - ATS - P
Salsberg, Lt.Edgar S. - USA - P
Sampson, Ldg Wren M D - 35327
Sampson, WW - CA - P
Schaeffer, Lt aka C. Livingstone - P
Schatz, Ldg Wren T H - P
Scott aka Schultz, Bernard – later Prof. Maths Sussex Univ.
Sebag-Montefiore, Ruth - linguist
Seligman, Miss J - linguist
Shaw, Capt. Harold RN - P
Shenstone, Wren R - P
Shiner , Mr A J - P
Shiner, Capt J A - P
Shipton, Ldg Wren M P - P
Sikora, Mrs M W - P linguist
Silver, Mr Colin H. - P
Singer, Miss M J - P
Singer, Mr Norman - P
Sinkov, Maj Abraham - USA
Slusser, Robert M - USA - P
Somers, Capt Nathan 7944566 - Block 5
and Testery, German Linguist
Spector, Flt Sgt Maurice Louis, from NW London
Stierlen, Miss Doris M - P ATS
Stileman, Miss M A - P - linguist
Sugar, Alfred Leonard
Tabor, Miss Doreen F - P
Taylor, 3rd Off. WRNS - M R - 34728 - London W9
Tcharny, Lt. Michael Joseph, 266688/10691878 Intell Corps
Telfer, Mrs Mary Isabella - P - Nurse
Testery, Nathan L - P - German linguist
Tocher, Ldg Wren Agnes J - P
Uzielli, David Rex - of Jewish origin
Uzielli, Miss Diana - of Jewish origin - WAAF
Vogel, Capt Barnard - USA Hut 3
Weissweiller, Nadine - P - ATS
Whalley, Mr J - P
Wix, Miss Phyllis aka Bloch
Wolfe, Miss B G - P
Wolfe, Richard - P - translator, died of illness 1945 Ceylon.
Wolfson, Miss M S - P
Wolfson, Miss Margaret - P
Woolstone, Mrs Lena - Hut 4 with Ettinghausen brothers; b.Notting Hill 1919, husband in FAA
Wossorsky, Irving E - USA Army - Traffic identification
Wyberg, Wren E V - P
Yochelson, Pfc Maurice - USA
Zilberkweit, Capt Lipman – Block F
Ziman, Ken – Newmanry
Ziman, 1st Officer WRENS, Thelma, MBE
Zookrow, Leon -RAF - BP tbc
Zuppinger, Anne WREN
Zuppinger, Miss Zoe - P - WREN
“Wing Commander Wally Zigmund , President of the Ruislip Branch of AJEX, played a role in one of the luckiest and most important captures of the war….during his second tour of ops. with 269 Sqdn. in Iceland in 1941. One day in bad weather one of his patrol aircraft spotted a submarine. He was ordered into a Hudson to find them and took off in heavy snow and low cloud south west for the Atlantic ocean. Suddenly the co-pilot shouted “U Boat half a mile ahead!”. Wally’s plane dropped 4 depth charges straddling the submarine which was forced to the surface after rolling completely over. They circled and used their machine guns every time any crew tried to get to the submarine’s gun to shoot back. After 3 hours of this, the submarine raised a white shirt to surrender. The RN arrived and captured U570. Code books found in the submarine were taken immediately to Bletchley and used for deciphering Enigma!”