By Jerry Roberts MBE
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Additional info for Lorenz: Breaking Hitler’s Top Secret Code at Bletchley Park
It came about when my friend Professor Jack Copeland (the leading authority on Alan Turing) encouraged me to write a book about Lorenz and my involvement in it. I’m very lucky to be alive today. I feel a great responsibility to help in spreading the word about Lorenz, especially for my fellow codebreakers and the support staff who worked with me in ‘the Testery’, the area of Bletchley Park where the codebreaking was done, named after its founder, Ralph Tester. As a team, we broke approximately 90 per cent of Hitler’s top-level coded messages, around 64,000 in total – intelligence gold-dust!
Why did they choose me? Something to do with my German, I guessed. A few days later, I was somewhere in the bowels of the War Office in Whitehall. Major Masters was using his prime technique to see whether I would be a suitable candidate for a job in intelligence. The major was from an army regiment, a trim, dapper man who spoke crisply. At the beginning of our meeting, he asked me to sign the Official Secrets Act. ). Major Masters then went on to ask questions to do with my character and my background.
This was mainly due to the greater use of machines in the Second World War. This change started with the introduction of the Enigma machine in 1923 and was pushed further by various new machines, including the much more complex and most important German cryptographic system, Lorenz SZ40/42, a new high-grade cipher machine with twelve wheels. This was the machine I worked on and which we called Fish or Tunny. In order to break Fish, an excellent knowledge of the German language on the part of the cryptographer was essential.