Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Memorial planned for code-breaker

A computer-generated image of the proposed tribute to Bill Tutte on Rutland Hill in Newmarket
A computer-generated image of the proposed tribute to Bill Tutte on Rutland Hill in Newmarket

An unsung hero of Britain's wartime Bletchley Park code-breaking operation is set to be honoured with a memorial 70 years after he helped turn the tide of the conflict.

Mathematician Bill Tutte's work helped crack the Nazi "Lorenz" cipher used by Hitler to communicate with his generals, an action credited with shortening the war.

But the Cold War meant that his work and that of others on the code was not made public until the mid-1990s and he has since languished in the shadow of Alan Turing's work on the Enigma U-Boat code.

But plans have now been approved for a £150,000 memorial in Newmarket, Suffolk, where Tutte was born in 1917.

Richard Fletcher, secretary of the BIll Tutte Memorial Fund, said the memorial would "give this extraordinary man, to whom we owe so much, the recognition he so richly deserves".

He added: "Public fundraising has commenced and we are confident not only of meeting our target for the memorial itself but also of being able to provide a school prize or scholarship fund in Bill's name to enable young people from humble backgrounds, as Bill himself was, to study and excel in higher education.

"If all goes well we should be able to commence work on the memorial later in the summer."

William Tutte was the son of a gardener in Newmarket and went to the local school before getting a scholarship to Trinity College Cambridge to study chemistry.

But he quickly became known for his mathematical ability and in 1941 was recruited by the Government Codes and Cipher School - the forerunner of GCHQ - at Bletchley Park.

While Alan Turing and others were working on Enigma, he became responsible for cracking the Lorenz code.

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