Memorial unveiled for historic codebreaker


A memorial plaque has been installed in the village of Naphill, to honour Codebreaker Dilly Knox, who died of cancer in 1943.

Dilly was among the most promininent of the British Codebreakers, and belonged to the World War One Room 40 codebreaking unit

and the Bletchley Park Codebreakers, both teams who worked tirelessly to crack enemy codes and decipher encrypted messages.

The heroic efforts of the Bletchley Park Codebreakers are now believed to have shortened World War Two by up to two years.

According to friends and colleagues, Knox is remembered as an unsung hero of the second World War.

Knox lived at Courns Wood House in Naphill for 22 years and, according to his fellow Codebreaker and Bletchley Park veteran

Mavis Batey, it was there that the cryptographer first “masterminded” the breaking of the German Enigma machine.

Knox bought a machine in 1925, when they first went on sale to offer extra security to banks and businesses. Out of curiosity, Knox began formulating, and eventually perfected, a method to break the Enigma codes.

The military first adopted the machines during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930’s. Encrypted messages were intercepted in England,

and Batey says that Knox was asked to work on the operation. Batey also went on to say that Knox had “no difficulty” in cracking the Enigma codes.

The memorial plaque was installed on Saturday, October 20, underneath a tree that Knox planted to commemorate the coronation of King George VI in 1937.

Earlier this year an Enigma machine used by Spain during the Civil War was presented to Bletchley Park. The machine had been given

to GCHQ by its Spanish counterpart. It has joined the display in the Block B Museum - one of the largest collections of Enigma Machines in the world.