What happened when the Admiralty didn’t believe the intelligence coming from Bletchley Park? The answer; huge losses at sea. But this is not to suggest blame – hindsight can be cruel.
The Tirpitz was a much-feared German battleship – it was the biggest they had built. Bletchley Park provided intelligence under the banner of Ultra – the highest level of secrecy – that it had not yet set sail. But this reassuring news was not taken on board by the naval powers that be. Convoy PQ17 was scattered, in the mistaken belief that the Tirpitz was on the move, and resulting in huge losses. We look back at this moment in World War Two, when intelligence was not enough, with help from Bletchley Park’s research historian, Dr David Kenyon.