Story of the Colossus rebuild is revealed in talk at Block H by chief engineer

Phil Hayes
Phil Hayes

The story of the computer at Bletchley Park which played a vital role in the fight against Hitler is the topic of a talk next month.

Re-imagining Colossus is the title of the talk to be given by Colossus Rebuild chief engineer Phil Hayes, who joined the team in 2000.

As The National Museum of Computing celebrates the tenth anniversary of the rebuild of Colossus tackling Hitler’s most secret wartime messages, Phil will describe how the reconstruction of Colossus came into being despite the secrecy that surrounded it.

The talk in the home of Colossus, Block H, recently hailed as one of England’s top 100 ‘irreplaceable places’, will be on Thursday, December 7 at 6.30pm.

Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, had a single purpose - to help decipher the Lorenz-encrypted (Tunny) messages between Hitler and his generals during World War II.

The Colossus Gallery housing the rebuild tells that remarkable story and the recently refurbished gallery is open to the public every day.

Colossus reduced the time to work out the Lorenz chi-wheel settings and enabled more messages to be deciphered and the whole code-breaking operation to be accelerated.

The information gleaned from the decrypted messages is widely acknowledged to have shortened the war by many months, saving tens of thousands of lives.