Intercept to Action

Secrecy shrouded the fact that Enigma had been broken. To hide this information, the reports were given the appearance of coming from an MI6 spy, codenamed Boniface, with a network of imaginary agents inside Germany.

While this was pure fiction, there was a real network monitoring the Germans’ every move. The ‘Y’ Service, a chain of wireless intercept stations across Britain and in a number of countries overseas, listened in to the enemy's radio messages. Thousands of wireless operators, many of them civilians but also Wrens, WAAF personnel and members of the ATS, tracked the enemy radio nets up and down the dial, carefully logging every letter or figure. The messages were then sent back to Bletchley Park (Station X) to be deciphered, translated and fitted together like a gigantic jigsaw puzzle to produce as complete a picture as possible of what the enemy was doing.

The Codebreakers began working around the clock to send the intelligence they were producing to London. Special Liaison Units and their associated communications specialists, the Special Communication Units, were set up to feed the Bletchley Park intelligence to commanders in the field, first briefly in France in May 1940 and then in North Africa and elsewhere from March 1941 onwards.

The Story Continues: The Industrialisation of Codebreaking