I put Code Breakers (by James Wyllie and Michael McKinley) on my Christmas list because while I’d read loads of stuff about the codebreakers of Bletchley, I’d not delved so deeply into the world of Room 40, and the feats of the redoubtable Blinker Hall. I have learned so much, not just about the volume and nature of decoded material that was produced – and the usual inter departmental squabbles about who should be in charge of making use of it – but also about the events across the Atlantic that drew the USA into the conflict. Highly recommended book.
Of course, Jonty and Orlando both spent some time working for Room 40, thanks to Mr. Stewart’s friendship with Blinker. Both of them have been very cagey in terms of telling me exactly what they did, but this book has given me some definite clues. Part of Jonty’s role had to be acting as the sort of decoy MIib also had, somebody who could provide a front to the office and give ‘the impression of a typical British idiot’. Orlando would have been doing the decoding, no doubt irritated by being surrounded by linguists and classicists.