By Jerry Roberts MBE
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Extra resources for Lorenz: Breaking Hitler’s Top Secret Code at Bletchley Park
In the final six years of his life, Roberts campaigned tirelessly to raise public awareness of the importance of the Lorenz story, which was declassified only at the beginning of this century. In contrast, Enigma became public in the 1970s. Lorenz had wrongly been overshadowed by the fervour surrounding Enigma, due to the highest levels of security imposed by the Official Secrets Act. Jerry felt it was his duty to ensure his colleagues in the Testery received their rightful recognition, in particular Bill Tutte, who broke the extremely complex Lorenz cipher system without ever having seen the cipher machine.
Another couple of weeks passed following the interview with Major Masters. I then received a further letter with a return rail ticket to Bedford, where the GC&CS ran a training course in basic cryptography. I was sent there for six weeks to learn the rudiments of codebreaking. This mainly consisted of simple hand ciphers. I found the course was very interesting, but it was not much practical help when I came to deal with Lorenz or even Double Playfair – a much simpler kind of hand cipher. It did not touch at all on the kind of machine ciphers that I was later to wrestle with when I reached Bletchley.
The book itself – Silas Marner by George Eliot – was just about the least appropriate book to give an 11-year-old boy. I haven’t actually managed to read it all, even now, but I am still proud of it. This kind of encouragement must have helped me realise that it was worthwhile working hard for the future. At any rate, my parents must have been convinced that I was worth backing because they put me up for a scholarship at Latymer Upper School in Hammersmith, west London. If I could win that, it would be a very useful support financially, because I would have a grant to pay the fees which amounted to the princely sum of £6 each term.