First meeting for war heroes’ relatives

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Relatives of two of Bletchley Park’s most famous codebreaking heroes met for the first time ever at the National Museum of Computing.

Richard Youlden, the nephew of Bill Tutte, and Tommy Flowers’ son Kenneth shared stories as they saw the rebuilds of the Tunny machine and the Colussus computer.

During the Second World War Mr Tutte worked out how Hitler’s Lorenz cipher machine worked and Mr Flowers designed and built Colussus – the world’s first electronic computer – which helped to speed up the breaking of the Lorenz messages.

To Mr Youlden, his uncle’s friend was always known as Uncle Bill.

He said: “He used to come and visit us at Christmas and entertain us as children.

“It wasn’t until 1996 when Tony Sale came to my house to talk to Uncle Bill about the Colossus Rebuild Project that I began to realise the huge significance of his codebreaking achievement.”

Mr Flowers said growing up he knew his father had worked on something secret during the war.

He said: “He mentioned Bletchley Park, but I didn’t know any of the details, he kept quiet about that.

“I knew it was something scientific or technical, but I didn’t learn about Colossus until the story became public in the 1970s.”

Andy Clark, a trustee at TNMOC, said: “When the story of World War II codebreaking was starting to be told, the Enigma story took much of the limelight because, although an extraordinary achievement with huge impact, it used a much less complex technology that was less sensitive to reveal subsequently.

“By contrast Lorenz code-breaking was far more sophisticated and the techniques developed remained relevant to breaking increasingly complex post-war cipher systems.”