Classics and Intelligence: Part 1

John Richmond

University College



The intelligence I shall treat of in this paper[1] is Military Intelligence: the branch of the military art devoted to gathering information about an enemy, in particular about his resources and inten­tions. In a paper read in the Spring of 1997 to the Irish Hellenic Society under the title «Spies in Ancient Greece»[2] I discussed espionage among the ancient Greeks. In the present century, as we shall see, classical scholars themselves seem to have shown some special apti­tude in the field, and I hope that readers can overcome any natural repugnance that a military subject may arouse in them. I selected the subject not merely because it shows classics in an interesting and even startling light, but also for its important lessons for administrators.


British Criptanalysis since 1914

?Room 40 O.B.?


At the beginning of the Victorian Age, in the year 1844, the security of Britain was such, that the government decided it could end the life of the ?Decyphering Branch? that had been founded in 1703 and run by successive generations of the Willes family of squires and clerics as practically a private concern, and survived from the Napoleonic Wars (cf. A 3). On 4th August 1914, the day Britain de­clared war on Germany, intercepted messages in cipher began to accumulate in the Naval Intelligence Department, ulti­mately sometimes at the rate of 2,000 a day. A little later in the month it occurred to Rear-Ad­miral Oliver (1865-1965), Director of Naval Intelligence (known as ?Dummy? Oliver from his taciturnity) that Sir Alfred Ewing (1855-1935), Director of Naval Education, who found him­self out of work, because his students had been called to active service, was the very man he wanted to tackle the mass of unread messages, so Ewing was asked to undertake an attempt to decipher them (E 173-174; for a slightly different account see A 86-87).

 The distinguished former Profes­sor of Mechanism and Applied Mechanics at Cambridge had used ciphers in his youth, when testing telegraphic cables. He set to work, recruited staff and was given Room 40 in the Old Building at the Admiralty to house them. Hence the deciphering section was often referred to as ?Room 40? or ?Room 40 O. B.?


?As the work expanded so did the numbers of the staff. It was a scratch team ? The list included peers, professors, publishers, diplomatists and dons, landowners, lawyers, linguists, a solitary padre, schoolmasters and scholars, some Civil Servants, and, as time went on, a few officers disabled from more active service. ? they all be­longed to the despised race of highbrows ?? (E 181). ?Senior Common Rooms had prepared them for this much stranger room, cut off from the ordinary world. And for accuracy, discretion and secrecy they could be abso­lutely relied on? (F 136).

Although working without the benefit of significant experience, the office, with the aid of a few strokes of luck, had very many successes in the naval field, and it also was of invaluable assistance in a wider area including the decryption of messages from Germany to Irish Repub­licans in New York (which foiled the plans to land German arms in Ireland to help the insur­rection of Easter 1916), and the decryption in 1917 of the ?Zimmermann telegram? (which con­vinced Woodrow Wil­son that the United States of America must declare war on Germany). Ewing at first had three mathe­maticians who knew no German and three German linguists who knew no mathematics. As the work advanced, Ewing set about recruiting more staff: adver­tisement to join this secret service was im­possible, so the old boy network was used in the ex­pansion early in 1915. Ewing was a Fellow of King's College, Cambridge, and he recruited Frank Ezra Adcock (1886-1968), a classical Fellow of King's, who had the rank of Lieutenant-Commander, and Alfred Dillwyn (?Dilly?) Knox, another classical Fellow at King's; both of these will be mentioned again later. King's was the single most valu­able source of dons for Room 40 This was also the case in the Second World War, when Bletchley Park was sometimes called ?Little King?s? (S 15).

Other classicists in Room 40 were John Beazley from Ox­ford, the foremost authori­ty on Greek Vases, and Ernest Harrison, tutor of Trinity College, Cambridge, and editor of Classi­cal Review from 1923.  Naturally, there were many modern language teachers too, including Professor of French Douglas Savory from Belfast and Professor of German Gilbert Waterhouse from Dub­lin. (He went to Belfast in 1932, and was in the first batch called to Bletchley when war broke out in 1939.) Ewing, when the Royal Naval College was re­opened towards the end of 1914, had more calls on his time, and he admitted his staff were better than he at decryption, so, after the first year of the war, the deci­pherment was mostly in the hands of the staff that he recruited. On 31st May, 1917, in order to con­centrate on his new position as Principal of Edinburgh Uni­versity, he handed the office over to Rear-Admiral Sir W. Reginald Hall, then Director of Na­val Intel­ligence, the famous and ruthless ?Blinker? Hall (1870-1943 (A 96)). (Even his admirer and biographer, Admiral James, becomes de­fensive in relating Hall?s circulation of the Casement diaries (J 114), and admits Hall made many enemies (J 176)). When the United States entered the war, and sought advice from England on the right kind of recruit for a code-break­ing ser­vice, something of which they had limited experience, ?it was told to beware of mathe­maticians. What was needed was ?an active, well-trained and schol­arly mind, not mathematical but classi­cal?? (A96). This is rather surprising when one considers that Ewing was an engineer. Looking back, Ewing thought that ?the British reputation for stupidity was an invaluable as­set? (E 181), as the Ger­mans refused to believe (despite indications to the contrary), that the British could have broken the excellent German codes.

In the life of Ewing by his son the following obituary is given for Room 40: ?Created for the war, it died in the peace which followed? (E 208).


Between the wars

This may have been the official line, but, in a world from which the pre-1914 tranquillity had vanished, Room 40 was too useful to be killed off. The Navy faced a reduced budget and was an­xious not to be charged with the cost of its cryptanalysts, so they were transferred in 1919 to the Foreign Office, under the name of the Government Code and Cipher School (or ?GC&CS?), and were housed first at Watergate House, Adelphi, and later at 54 Broadway Buildings, Broadway, West­minster. A nucleus of the war-time staff, consisting of both ser­vice and civilian staff, con­tinued the work in peace-time conditions. (The Head?s staff at first numbered 24 decipherers and 28 clerks, cf. A 260.) One of their revealed successes was the decryp­tion of the ?Zinovieff letter? used as an ex­cuse by the British govern­ment in 1927 to close down Soviet Russian activities in Britain. The Rus­sians then countered by using much superior ci­phers for the future. Germany had ceased to be a threat, and the very limited resources of the GC&CS were mainly devoted to frustrating Russian plans for world revolution, and rather cynically also to deciphering the telegrams of their war-time allies - the United States, France, and Japan.[3] The Head was Commander Alexander (or ?Alastair?) Guthrie Denniston, who had been educated in Bonn and Paris Universities, and before 1914 taught foreign languages in the Naval College. Nigel de Grey (1186-1951) was Deputy Head. Denniston gave the im­pression in 1938 of being ?a small birdlike man with bright blue eyes? (HS 61). He also had a ?strong craggy-featured face? (DNB). ?Dilly? Knox had elected not to return to classics at King's College Cambridge, and devoted most of the rest of his life to cryptanalysis. As Fascism became a menace in Europe, the Spanish mili­tary code was broken, and in 1935 with French co-operation an attack was made on the Italian codes used in Abyssinia. From 1937 it became increasingly evident that war with Germany was inevitable and plans were made for that eventuality. A country house Bletchley Park, in Buckinghamshire was acquired as a safe headquarters for wartime, and in 1938, at the time of the Munich crisis, there was a practice evacuation to it. It was to be known as War Sta­tion X officially, but informally to those who worked there as ?BP.? Staff who would be needed in war-time were summoned there for a training session and included the young mathematician, Alan Tu­ring from King's College Cam­bridge, who had been recruited by Sir Frank Adcock, also of King's, who in 1925 had become Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge University. (In the Christmas Vacation of 1938 others attended an initiatory meeting at Broadway Buildings (WK 130).) The mathemati­cian, Gordon Welchman, and Stuart Milner-Barry,[4] who had studied Classics at Trinity College, Cambridge and then dis­contentedly worked as a stockbroker, recruited from an old boy (and girl) net-work of Cambridge and Scottish university departments (HS 91). The first six­teen recruited at the outbreak of war were six German linguists, four classics or ancient histo­rians (F. E. Adcock, R. J. H. Jenkins, H. M. Last, and L.P. Wilkinson, all mentioned below), two modern historians, two mathe­maticians, one art historian and one lawyer (A1 35).

Bletchley Park


Great Britain declared war on Germany on 3rd September, 1939, and Bletchley Park creaked into action. Rumour had it that Adcock, when going from Bletchley railway station to the new intelligence centre, was amazed to be greeted by an urchin who called out ?I'll read your secret writing, mister!?(T 160, WK 131).

Frank Birch (another Kingsman, who became a comic actor), had written ?Alice in I.D. 25?, an unpublished parody of Alice in Wonderland, that described Room 40. In it the spruce and slightly fussy Adcock had appeared as the White Rabbit:


??obviously very important and in a great hurry. He was dressed in his Sunday best spats, spectacles, and a little black coat, and he kept doing up and undoing its but­tons with nervousness. ??Dear me, dear me,? Alice heard him say as he passed her, ?it's past ten. I shall be late for the DIND. I must be there when he comes round. I always am,? and with that he bustled out of earshot.?(A 95)


Patrick Wilkinson, while he appreciated Adcock?s geniality and witty anecdotes at King?s, and admired his highly benevolent interest in students, had some criticisms. He ?had really no idea what those Greek plays (produced at Cambridge) were about ? In his history ? he never admitted any mo­tivation but Realpolitik. His social values were those of a bon viveur? (WK 50, 75, 76) J. A. Crook notes in the DNB: ?although very clever and learned, [Adcock] was not an intellectual.?  He recruited one cryptanalyst over a very good dinner and a concluding bottle of seventeen-year-old port (A 452)). It appears he was a little disappointed with what he could contribute at BP in the condi­tions of the Se­cond World War; for he moved later to London, and returned to Cambridge before the war was over.  Adcock, ominously nicknamed ?the Adder,? was a good golfer[5], but disliked losing, and had a re­markable habit of playing only 14 holes. He was a bachelor, and the pink of his counte­nance extended to his hairless scalp (WK 169, 182). His counterpart as recruiter at Oxford was G. H. Stevenson.


Denniston had wisely requested ?men of the professor type? (T 161, A 453) for the work, and knew they could not give of their best under a bureaucratic regime. He had got permission before the war to select for war work 56 ?men and women? at an annual salary of £600 each for the grade which became popularly known as ?the Professors? and 30 ?girls,? each with two modern languages (WK 142). ?By his willingness to delegate, his trust in subordinates, his informality and his charm he set his stamp on the character of the place, particularly in the early war years? (DNB). The girls were paid miserable wages (30/- or £2 per week) and had work of stupefying monotony (HS 113, 135).

GC&CS became ?a loose collec­tion of groups rather than ... a single, tidy organisa­tion ... Pro­fes­sors, lecturers and under­graduates, chess-masters and experts from the principal muse­ums, bar­risters and antiquarian booksellers, some of them in uniform and others civilians ... contributed by their va­riety and individuality to the lack of uniformity. There is ? no doubt that they thrived on it, as they did on the absence ... of any emphasis on rank or insistence on hierar­chy. ... unavoidable clashes of priority and personality ... accompanied the GC and CS's in­creasing importance to the intelli­gence effort (H 273)?. Wilkinson perceptively noted that the cultural and social homogeneity and the tempo­rary status of the new staff tended to eliminate personality clashes and rivalries (WK 151).


?In a different culture, ... bureaucracy could have kept ?correct? but ineffective pro­ce­dures in place. ... the ?creative anarchy? that prevailed at GC&CS allowed people at all le­vels in­cluding the most junior to do what they judged, not always correctly, to be sensible in the cir­cumstances? (HS 246).


The following anecdote from Bletchley shows the clash of cultures. Teamwork ?tends to make of the cryptographer a natural democrat ... One young lieutenant in the Royal Naval Vo­lun­teer Re­serve, though able, industrious and a polyglot scholar, was reprimanded for writing an intelligence report which was critical of the German Admiral Doenitz. He was told it was most improper for a lieu­tenant to criticise an Admiral in any way whatsoever? (HS 243). Yet it fair to add that most service officers at BP rarely wore uniform (WK 152).

The first great problem faced at Bletchley, was that the Germans were using sophisticated ma­chine ciphers, so complex that they were confident that, even if the Allies captured a machine, the ci­phers would be safe. Not only did the German ?Enigma? machines fall into Allied hands during the war, but, aided by spies, the Poles had built one before the war, and begun the breaking of the ci­phers, inventing for the purpose machines known as ?bombes?. Added German complications de­feated the Poles, and after an unsuccessful visit in the previous year, Denniston, Knox and Com­mander Hum­phrey Sandwith, head of the interception service, went with the French to Warsaw in July 1939 to learn what the Poles knew. Later the Poles sent a ?bombe,? which the French delivered at Victoria Station on 16th August 1939. It was quickly improved by the British mathematicians at Bletchley. Armed with this invaluable knowledge BP made steady progress and broke suc­cessive keys. The mathematicians had quickly made themselves invaluable, and the old preju­dice against their recruitment vanished (A 453).

Work on codes and ciphers was divided between I(ntelligence) S(ervice) O(liver) S(trachey) (Oliver Strachey was a veteran of Military Intelligence (M.I. 1b) and a brother of Lytton Strachey, the iconoclastic man of letters: cf. A 260), which attacked hand ciphers, and I(ntelligence) S(ervice) K(nox), which attacked machine ciphers. Knox himself, officially graded as ?Chief Cryptographer,? worked at the ?Cottage? on the machine cipher of the German Military Secret Service (Abwehr), Po­lice ciphers (SD), and Italian codes and ciphers, using psychological methods. ISK fed a unit headed by Denys Page (1908-1978; Regius Professor of Greek at Cambridge 1950-1973, and a prolific edi­tor of Greek Poetry), which handled the Abwehr and SD messages for the ?Double Cross? operation to use ?turned? German agents. After the war ?once he [Alan Turing] pointed out a professor of Greek in the street [presumably in Cam­bridge], and said he had done something marvellous there [at Bletchley Park]? (T 374). This may well have been Page, who often clashed with Commander Alan Bradshaw who ran the BP administration (WK 172, 184). Leonard Palmer (1906-1984; Profes­sor of Comparative Philology at Oxford, 1952-1971, and a distinguished writer on Greek Language and Linear B) worked with Page (L 120). As Palmer had a Ph. D. degree from Vienna, and had translated the thirteenth edition of E. Zeller?s Outlines of the History of Greek Philosophy in 1931, his knowledge of German must have been a great asset. Knox handed over the (German) Naval Enigma to Alan Turing (who ?to some extent was a ?character?, but without the dominating egoism of the much older Dillwyn Knox? (T 208)), at Hut 8; at Hut 6 the Army and Luft­waffe Enigma were en­trusted to Gordon Welchman, another distinguished mathematician; these two mathematicians greatly developed the me­thods that the Poles had first invented. Though mathemati­cians were plentiful in Hut 6, Milner-Barry and David Gaunt (?a very able young classics scholar from Cheltenham College? (W 85)) rep­resented the classical tradition. Among the mathematicians in a building known as the ?Testery? the classics were represented by R. J. H. Jenkins, a classical ar­chaeologist and historian, and later a London Professor in post-classical Greek (HS 160).

 Luftwaffe hand ciphers for tactical messages were handled at first in Bletchley. ?The code­break­ing unit at Bletchley, whose job it was to compile the substitution tables, happened to consist of a Professor of Classics from Cambridge, and a [small, be­spectacled] Russian émi­gré [with the German name of E. C. Fetterlein] who spoke English with an appropriate ac­cent?, and said little more than ?Good morning? to his colleagues. He wore, and was very proud of, a ring with a large ruby pre­sented to him by Czar Nicholas as one of Imperial Rus­sia's leading cryptanalysts. Their as­sistants, undergraduates selected for their knowledge of German, soon moved to RAF Cheadle, where the results could be used most speedily, and took over all the work (HS 247-248; A 261-262).

Among the many hand ciphers of the German Navy was the ?Dockyard Key?, which proved to be very valuable. A prominent member of the team that broke it was John Wintour Baldwin Barns, a Corpus Oxford B.A. (1937). In 1947 he graduated D. Phil., took holy orders in 1956, edited many papyri, (Oxyrhynchus, Antinoopolis, Merton) and was Professor of Egyptology from 1965 to his death in 1974 (HS 236, WWW vii).

Hugh Last of Brasenose, Camden Professor of Ancient His­tory, in April 1940 told Alec Dakin that there was ?important, but highly secret war work to be done, and that my studies in ancient lan­guages and Egyptology might make me suit­able for it? (HS 50). He soon joined Last in BP, and be­gan in the German Naval Section.

Noel Currer-Briggs joined the BP team working on German Army hand-cipher in 1941. Sent to Africa in 1942 he learned Arabic at Fort Sidi M'Cid set on a hill above an astonishing gorge, which ?may have looked romantic, but it was the filthiest dump ima­ginable. One of my most vivid memo­ries of it is cleaning the primitive latrines ... But I recall with more pleasure reading Virgil on the battle­ments in the intervals of trying to learn Arabic. Hardly typical of military life, but in the true tradition of BP!? (HS 209, 222). A little later he reminisces in classical vein: the Allies led the Germans ?to believe we would land at Trápani on the western tip of the island where Aeneas had landed and held funeral games in honour of his father, Anchises, after he had deserted Dido in Car­thage. On clear days we would see Carthage to our south, while Trápani lay less than 150 miles to the north-east? (HS 227).

Among the other classical scholars who gathered at Bletchley was L. P. (Patrick) Wilkin­son, also a Fellow of King?s, introduced by Adcock to Denniston, later to pub­lish pleasant works on Latin Literature. Summoned to Bletchley on the outbreak of war he was put to work on Italian Naval hand-ciphers in a section that was also to contain D. W. Lucas (1905-1985), a classical fellow of King?s who specialised and published in Greek Literature (WK 170). From December the Italians changed over to the use of C38m enciphering machines, which actually made the work easier! Just as Wilkin­son was about to announce in 1943 his engagement to wed one of the cryptana­lysts, he was told that he, as leader of a team of six, and probably she, would be moved to Algiers. He mentioned their in­tended announcement to his section head, who said it was un­fortunate, as there was an agree­ment with the Americans that wives and fi­ancées should not accom­pany their partners to war zones. How­ever, he suggested postponing the announcement until it could be plausibly represented that it had all begun out there: ?Three months, say. It's a hot cli­mate.?[6] Wilkinson in his spare time worked on his book Horace and his Lyric Poetry (1945), dating the preface in 1944 from his Bletchley billet[7], and also wrote lyrics for the revues produced at BP to provide some substitute for the entertainment not available there (L 128; sample in WK 180).


Towards the end of 1942 it was agreed that a team from the United States should be sent to Eng­land to establish a joint intelligence unit. When R. M. Slusser, USA, re­ported to the head of MI 14(b), Major Eric Birley, at an address near Trafalgar Square, he discovered that ?Eric Birley's contribution to Anglo-American intelligence in the Second World War was of fundamental impor­tance. Building on a pre-war foundation of research into the order of battle of the Imperial Roman army, Birley had used his expertise in this seemingly remote speciality to establish a formid­able mastery of the structure of the Wehrmacht.?[8]  Eric Birley advanced to be­come Lieutenant-Colonel GSO 1 Military Intelligence Research Section and chief of the Ger­man Military Document Section, War Department (M.B.E. 1943). Despite Maurice Bowra?s sneering recognition of Birley as ?the Regius Professor of the obvious,? Noel Annan in his Changing Enemies (London 1995, 23-27) ac­cepted that he was the ?most impressive man in MI 14,? although he describes him as donnish, rude and touchy. After the war, of course, he returned to the University of Durham, near Hadrian's Wall, and re­sumed his classical work as a foremost authority on the Roman Army and on Roman Bri­tain, holding the Professorship of Romano-British History and Archaeology from 1956-71 (WWW ix). Michael Holroyd of Brasenose College (1892-1953: WWW v), an ancient historian and Birley?s for­mer tutor, who had already served in Intelligence in the Great War, had the eccentric gifts that se­cured him a transfer from Birley?s section to Bletchley Park. There he devoted himself to an immense reconstruction of the state of the German railway system (WK 172).  In Birley?s section worked John Langshaw Austin, (1911-1960; Shrewes­bury and Balliol, First Class Mods and Greats, Gais­ford Prize (DNB)), Classical Scholar and distinguished Philosopher.

Colin H. Roberts, the Oxford papy­rologist, (Secretary to the Delegates of the University Press (1954-1974) also played a part at Bletchley. John Chadwick (b. 1920), later to attain world fame for his collabora­tion with Michael Ventris on the decipherment of Linear B Cretan Script, had become an Ordinary Seaman, but while at Alexandria, was requisitioned as ?dogsbody? to a naval Com­mander in the local Italian Naval Subsection of the Bletchley organisation (WK 174).

Among Classical scholars I have met who admitted in the course of conversation that they had worked on intelligence were Sir Eric Turner, the distinguished Greek papyrologist at London, who was a section head in Hut 4, working on naval Enigma  (HS 51); Leicester Professor Tony [A. D.] Fitton Brown, our external examiner for some years in Uni­versity College Dublin, who worked in Delhi on Japanese codes, and whose section amused itself by faking an intercepted message for All Fools Day (S 22); and Godfrey Bond, the Euripidean scholar at Oxford, who had been an under­graduate in Trinity College Dublin. No doubt there were many others who never alluded to their se­cret careers. I never realised that the urbane T. B. L. Webster, (1905-1974) Greek professor at Uni­versity College London (1948-1968), a talented organiser, and authority on Greek Drama, and his wife, A. M. Dale, the authority on Greek metre, had both been at War Station X, and that their union (1944) was ?one of the great matrimo­nial achievements of BP? (WK 172).   

Denniston endured a major surgical operation in 1941 (WK 175) and had little taste for or­ganisa­tion. As the staff continually grew, (ultimately to 5,000 at BP) and organisation became ever more complex, it was decided to put him in charge in London of the diplomatic and secret service ci­phers, and in 1942 Commander Sir Edward Wil­frid Harry (?Jumbo?) Travis (1888-1956) super­seded Denniston (1881-1961) at BP. Denniston retired in 1945 eclipsed and neglected, and took up teaching French and Latin in a preparatory school (DNB). Travis arranged that T. F. Higham (1890-1975, Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford, Public Orator, and a very talented writer of Greek and Latin), should prepare him a weekly summary of the important items received in the various branches. In so compartmented a secret organisation this was both a difficult and a vitally important task (L 137).

Alec Dakin, whom we have met before, took the oath of secrecy on 6th May 1940.  He married in 1953, but never told his wife of his war-time work. Here one may remark on the extraordinary suc­cess of the in­doc­trination in secrecy: a vast number of individuals (9,000 world-wide in January 1945 at its peak (WK 128)) for years had worked on or knew of the strangest of projects, but kept silent for a quarter of a cen­tury! At Delhi the secrecy was such, that Alan Stripp did not discover until 45 years later that he was working next door to a di­vision with a map room that could have solved many of his difficulties (HS 292). Though the enemy Fascists did not penetrate the secret of Bletchley, the allied Soviets did: John Cairncross came from the Treasury in 1940, passed deci­phered messages to the Soviets, and left Bletchley for MI 6 in 1944 (Peter Wright, Spycatcher: the candid Autobiography of a senior Intel­ligence Officer, New York 1987, 218-219, 222-223).


Japanese Puzzles


Though the outbreak of war with Japan clearly was drawing nearer, the attack at Pearl Harbour in December 1941 faced GC&CS with fresh problems. Again the classics under­graduates at Cam­bridge were called on. After Pearl Harbour Classics tutors in Oxbridge were asked to suggest names of re­cent scholars then employed in the Forces as non-specialists. Sid­ney Grose (tutor at Christ's, Cam­bridge) suggested Porson prize-winner, Christopher Wiles, and his school-leaver brother, Maurice Wiles, who were interviewed on their interests in the ?3 C's?: classics, chess,[9] and cross­words (HS 282). The younger brother later studied classics at Christ's Cambridge, and ultimately be­came Regius Professor of Divinity in Oxford, 1970-91. A. D. Lindsay (First Baron Lindsay, Master of Balliol, translator of the Republic of Plato, and author of works on Berg­son, Marx and many other subjects, and husband of Hsiao Li, daughter of Colonel Li Wen Chi, of the Chinese Army), and Rev. Martin Charlesworth (President of St. John's, Cambridge, Laurence Reader in Ancient History, author of Trade routes and commerce of the Roman Empire [1924, 1926, & French translation] and other works), had recommended additional recruits (HS 257; a description of the Japanese language train­ing follows). On 2nd February, 1942, twenty very young men who had been reading for Classical Mods at Oxford, or the Classical Tripos at Cambridge, reported to the Gas Company show­room at Bedford.  They were to be joined by three non-classics and put on a six-months crash course learning Japanese. The class, all male except one (HS 265, but cf. 257), faced a lack of text-books, espe­cially grammars and dictionaries: ?those trained in the classics felt the absence of such gram­matical ad­juncts acutely.? When these later arrived, the students got a new confidence (HS 259). Ex­perts said no Japanese course could succeed in less than two years, and the School of Orien­tal and Afri­can Studies in London University flatly refused to help. Colonel John Tiltman refused to be daunted by the experts, so the task fell to the self-taught Naval Captain Oswald Tuck, who had left school at the age of 15, and never attended any Uni­versity. The first Bedford students became very famous, and were at work after five months? training (HS 266; cf. A1 37-38).

That group also included Hugh Lloyd Jones, who became a tempo­rary Captain in the Intel­ligence Corps when sent to India, returned to Oxford to secure a First in Greats in 1948, and there held the Regius Professorship of Greek from 1960 to 1989, writing many books too well-known to men­tion here (HS 266; cf. WW). One of the most successful pupils was Eric Ceadel of Christ's Col­lege, Cam­bridge, with a 1st Class in the Classical Tripos, parts I and II (B.A. 1941); he joined the Suffolk Regiment and then the Intelligence Corps, becoming a captain. As the star graduate of the first class he was kept as a tutor for the crash course, and later at Cambridge became University Lecturer in Japanese (1947-1967), and University Librarian (1967-1979); not many have pub­lished on Japanese, and also contributed to the Classical Quarterly, Asia Minor, and other such journals (HS 259, 288; cf. WWW vii). Other members of the group won distinction later in Philosophy, Linguis­tics, Chinese, and mountaineering (HS 266, cf. A1 37-38). Only 9 of the ultimate total of 225 students failed to suc­ceed in the arduous course.

Alan Stripp recalls how, when he began his course in Japanese having been called from Trinity, Cambridge, ?by the typical route into Japanese signals intelligence: the first year of a Classics course,? he, with 24 or so others, nearly all classics undergraduates, was taught Japa­nese by Ceadel, another Cambridge classics undergraduate.  After the war Stripp was put to studying first Farsi, and next Russian, then was invited to apply for a permanent post in cryptanalysis, but declined it, and finally was released to Cambridge for his second year in classics (HS 288-295). (David Roy Shack­leton Bailey, the eminent and prolific Latin textual critic, has a similar record of profi­ciency in Classics and Oriental languages; as he was University Lecturer in Tibetan at Cam­bridge from 1948 to 1968, and in his Who?s Who entry gives no account of his activities in the war years, we may rea­sonably suspect involvement in intelligence, if not at BP). A classicist of special promise, Donald Michie, had won an Oxford classics scholarship, and went to Bletchley from Rugby School in Autumn 1942; but, because of the talent he showed while waiting for his Japanese course, he was retained in the ?Testery?, where he was to make a significant contribution at the age of 19 to the work on machine codes by using ?Turingismus? to help to solve the German high-speed transmissions known as ?Fish? (T 231). He was to establish a close rapport with Turing (nicknamed ?Prof.,? HS 114; T 265-266). His ?wartime experiences converted him into a sci­entist" (HS 160). He went on to Balliol, and thence to London to special­ise in surgical science and artifi­cial intelligence. At Edin­burgh, he held the Pro­fessorship of Mechanical Intelligence from 1967 to 1984. His books included An Introduction to Molecular Bio­logy (1964, joint author); On Machine Intelligence (1974); and The Creative Computer (1984)[10].

(To be concluded.)

[1] A shortened version of both parts of this paper was delivered as the honorary presidential address to the Clas­sical Association of Ireland in University College Dublin on 14th November, 1997. The following abbreviations are used in the references:

A: Christopher Andrew, Secret Service: the making of the British intelligence community, London 1985.

A1: Christopher Andrew,  ?F. H. Hinsley and the Cambridge moles: two patterns of intelligence   recruitment,? in Richard Langhorne (ed.), Diplomacy and Intelligence during the Second World War: essays in honour of F. H. Hinsley, Cambridge 1985, 22-40.

DNB: The Dictionary of National Biography [re-issue], London 1921- ; several persons connected with intelligence work appear in the volume sub-titled Missing Persons (1993).

E: A. W. Ewing, The Man of Room 40: the Life of Sir Alfred Ewing, London 1939.

F: Penelope Fitzgerald, The Knox Brothers, London 1977.

H: F. H. Hinsley and ors., British Intelligence in the Second World War: its influence on strategy and operations, vol. I, London 1979.

HS: F. H. Hinsley and Alan Stripp (edd.), Codebreakers: the inside story of Bletchley Park, Oxford 1994.

J: (Admiral Sir) William James, The Eyes of the Navy: a Biographical Study of Admiral Sir Reginald Hall, London 1955.

K: David Kahn, The Codebreakers, London 1966.

L: Ronald Lewin, Ultra goes to war, London 1978.

S: Alan Stripp, Codebreaker in the Far East, London 1989.

T: Andrew Hodges, Alan Turing: the Enigma, New York 1983.

W: Gordon Welchman, The Hut Six Story: breaking the Enigma codes, London 1982.

WK: Patrick [= L.P.] Wilkinson, Facets of a Life, Privately printed 1986. (I am grateful to my friend, Professor E. J. Kenney, who both lent me his copy of this book, and conveyed Mrs Wilkinson?s kind permission to quote from it. Portions of it are published as: Patrick Wilkinson, ?Italian naval decrypts? in HS 61-67.)

WW: Who?s who in 1849 ?, London 1849 -    .

WWW: Who was who, vol. I, 1897-1915 ?, London 1920 -

[2] That paper has appeared in Greece and Rome 45 (1998) 1-18.

[3] The chief Japanese military and naval ciphers were broken by the British by 1935 (H 52); the United States codebreakers were reading the Japanese diplomatic cipher at the time of the Washington Naval Confer­ence of 1921 with significant consequences (Stephen Howarth, Morning Glory: a history of the Imperial Japanese Navy, London 1986, 156).

[4] These two lowly cryptanalysts with Turing and C. H. O?D. Alexander were the four who on 21st October 1941 (in defiance of all protocol) signed the successful personal written appeal to Churchill for more resources. The text is given in F. H. Hinsley and ors., British Intelligence in the Second World War: its influence on stra­tegy and ope­rations, vol. II, London 1981, 655-657.

[5] Golfers will appreciate his verdict on a book entitled Approach to Latin: ?Not on the Green!? (Guy Lee, who used to play against him, remembered this sally.)

[6] HS 66. Romances were few in Room 40 (yet both Denniston and Knox met their wives there); however at Bletchley in Hut 6, for instance, inability to talk of one's work to outsiders resulted in one's near colleagues becom­ing one's closest friends: ?...the women were especially intelligent and attractive. Certainly half-a-dozen male mem­bers of the Watch found their life-long partners from among their closest colleagues? (HS 109; see also W 188).

[7] ?Most of this book has had to be written on odd evenings after days of war work, and at a country inn remote from libraries? (viii).

[8] HS 74-76. (Slusser was transferred to Bletchley, where he met a WAAF lieu­tenant, who was restless at her seemingly routine job. ?Luckily for me Elizabeth's bore­dom passed fairly quickly on my arrival. We were married on 27 June 1944?.)

[9] Chess is reported in Who was who as one of Adcock?s hobbies. Three members of the British team at the Chess Olympiad, who were in Argentina on the outbreak of war, were drafted to BP (HS 89).

[10] John Chadwick in The Dictionary of National Biography states that Michael Ventris (1922-1956) served as a navigator in the RAF; Patrick Wilkinson claims that he was a  ?member of BP?, but admits he cannot recollect meet­ing him there (WK 174, 177). The apparent contradiction could be resolved by postulating a posting to BP after the service as a navigator, but the reverse would not have been permitted.

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