LORENZ cipher - Memorial planned for WWII codebreaker Bill Tutte


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22 May 2013 Last updated at 20:25

Memorial planned for WWII codebreaker Bill Tutte in Newmarket

A memorial for codebreaker Bill Tutte is planned for Rutland Hill, Newmarket.

A codebreaker whose deciphering of secret German messages is said to have reduced World War II, is to be honoured in his hometown.

Bill Tutte helped crack the German Lorenz cipher at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire.

A £150,000 memorial is planned for Rutland Hill, Newmarket, Suffolk, and could be finished by Christmas.

Campaigners say Tutte never received the recognition he deserved.

Richard Fletcher, who lives in Newmarket and is secretary of the Bill Tutte Memorial Working Group, said Tutte came from "humble beginnings".

His "prodigious intellect" was recognised at an early age and, with the encouragement of his headmaster, he was offered a scholarship to a high school in Cambridge and later to the University of Cambridge.

"Purely because his headmaster recognised his abilities he went from the son of a gardener to a scholarship at Trinity, which is fantastic," Mr Fletcher said.

'Hitler's Blackberry'

He continued to excel as a mathematician and was recommended for an interview at Bletchley Park to work on codebreaking during the war.

"When he went to Bletchley Park he was interviewed by one Alan Turing," Mr Fletcher said.

Richard Fletcher said Alan Turing did not think Bill Tutte was "up for the job"
"He didn't really like Bill Tutte and didn't think he was up for the job but luckily somebody saw his potential and did take him on board."

Turing is celebrated for his work in deciphering messages encrypted by the German Enigma machine.

But Mr Fletcher said Tutte's work was "arguably much more significant".

"He was involved in cracking a code which the Germans called Lorenz, Britain called it Tunny," he said.

"It was a teleprinter code much more complex than Enigma and was troubling the British from 1943 onwards.

"It was apparently unbreakable and has since been called Hitler's Blackberry, as it was used to send strategic information between high level headquarters and formations."

Mr Fletcher said Sir Winston Churchill believed the intelligence led to the allies winning the war in Europe two years earlier than otherwise.

Tutte died in 2002, less than 10 years after his contribution to World War II was made public.

Mr Fletcher said David Cameron wrote to Tutte's family last year to acknowledge his work, but said no awards were available to him posthumously.

"We owe him so much and the poor chap's had no recognition at all," Mr Fletcher said.

The memorial in Newmarket has been designed by Cambridge-based sculptor Harry Gray and takes the form of five stainless steel panels.

They are perforated, to resemble the punched paper tape Tutte was so familiar with, and when viewed from one particular direction reveal an image of Tutte's head and shoulders.

The memorial has received funding from local councils, including £40,000 from Suffolk County Council.

Mr Fletcher said he hoped a "lasting legacy" would also be provided by a scholarship scheme, run by the memorial working group.

He said their aim was to find a talented student from a "humble background" and provide them with the "best education possible".

'bout time..tick,v.g.

'bout time..tick,v.g.
Agreed. I'd also like to see Tommy Flowers given more recognition.

Oh and I do love these quotes saying that Churchill reckoned this or that shortened the war by X number of months or years. I'm sure that if they were all added together the Second World War would have ended in 1938.
I went for a tour around Blectchley Park a few years ago with my Doris. The "tour guide" was a sprightly lady who had served there during the war. The tour party was varied and consisted of a few Irish who had availed themselves of cheap weekend bargains and had flow over from Dublin for the day. They were fascinated by the place and also spent a long time in the Winston Churchill collection that was then run by a fellow Irishman.

Also in the party was an elderly German man who tried to belittle everything our tour guide said about Enigma and its cracking. Our doughy guide was not having anything of this and in the end the German stated, "You may have beaten Enigma but you didn't beat Lorenz." Our guide retorted that Bletchley nevertheless cracked what they knew as Tunny only to find out later that the Germans called it Lorenz. Our German friend was having none of this even when shown irrefutable evidence of the Allied success.

Perhaps it was because of this character flaw, that the Germans carried on using Enigma when the evidence showed that it may have been cracked?
The breaking of the 30 Aug Lorenz message by John Tiltman and the subsequent inference of the internal structure of the machine by Bill Tutt has to be one of the most impressive feats of intellectual agility in recorded history...

I really do get fed up at the way we abuse such genius in the UK.. Tutt is by no means the first. So many true geniuses get screwed over by the system in UK, we really do not deserve to succeed as well as we do..

Harrison the inventor of the chronograph, Whittle, Barnes Wallis, Hook, Ferguson, Boxer and of course Flowers and Turing all got the shitty end of the stick dealing with HMG.. and many, many more...

Glad to here something is being done for Tutt, but it would be nice if folk who achieve so much were recognised at the time and not after they have gone...

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