Bletchley Park code-breaker Rolf dies at 97

Bletchley Park code-breaker Rolf Noskwith, who worked under Alan Turing on Germany's Enigma machine has died.

Wednesday, 4th January 2017, 4:34 pm
Updated Monday, 9th January 2017, 1:01 pm

Rolf Noskwith was a Cambridge undergraduate in 1939 when war broke out, and he was soon off to work with minds such as Alan Turing at the secret code-breaking centre.

German-born Noskwith, who died on Tuesday, arrived in Britain with his parents in 1932, and was keen to help fight Hitler, but was initially rejected for the armed forces.

After being interviewed by famous duo – scientist C.P Snow and chess champion Hugh Alexander, Noskwith was accepted as a cryptographer, and on his 22nd birthday, started work in Bletchley’s Hut 8.

He worked directly under Turing, who had by then broken the German Navy’s supposedly unbreakable coding device.

Many messages were still corrupt, however, and Noskwith’s job was to guess meanings from the German, then run it through the decoding machine, until the message made sense and was decoded.

One such message concerned the Struma, a ship carrying Jewish refugees on their way to Israel, which was sunk in the Black Sea, with almost all passengers killed.