The Hut Six Story – Gordon Welchman

More second world war and more spying: this time the British cracking the Enigma codes at Bletchley Park.

The book was first published in 1982 and was updated after Welchman died to include some papers he also wrote.

Before the war Gordon Welchman was a mathematics lecturer at Sidney Sussex College Cambridge. At the outbreak of war he was drafted into the team at Bletchley to help find ways of cracking the Enigma codes.

It’s important to know that Welchman was a mathematician if you’re thinking of reading this book! There were several occasions when he says he is explaining something in layman’s terms and yet it went completely over my head. This was a difficult book to read and to understand the technical aspects of Enigma machines and the Bombes that helped to decode their messages.

The most interesting parts of the book, for me, were when the author was explaining how Bletchley operated and some of the insights/guessing games that paid off and helped the teams crack the codes.

There were some digressions into people’s characters but this is mainly a book about processes and machines.

Once again it is a book that seems to write women out of history except as wives and secretaries!

I’m pleased I finished the book but if I’d known it was going to be so technical and written by a mathematician I probably wouldn’t have bought it!

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