Video: Colossus celebrates a special anniversary

Creators and operators of the world’s first electronic computer, Colossus, gathered yesterday at The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park for a special anniversary celebration.

The iconic computer celebrated its 70th anniversary and using a rebuild of the Colossus, visiting veterans and their families were treated to a demonstration of the code-breaking prowess of the machine, which played a pivotal role in cracking messages sent by Hitler and his high command during the Second World War.

By the end of the war there were 550 people working on ten fully functioning Colossus computers, and they had deciphered 63 million characters of messages for the German High Command.

Colossus, first used at Bletchley Park on February 5, 1944, is widely recognised as being the world’s first electronic computer. The computer is seven foot high, roughly the size of a living room, weighs five tonnes, and connected by seven kilometres of wire.

The celebrations brought together some of the women who kept the different machines running as well as some of the engineers who built and maintained them during the war.

“The achievements of those who worked at Bletchley Park are humbling,” said Tim Reynolds, chairman of TNMOC. “Today was a proud day for the Museum to host the Colossus and Tunny veterans who were able to make the journey.”

If you would like to learn more about the Colossus or The National Museum of Computing, visit The museum can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and on the dedicated TNMOC iPhone App available from the iTunes App store.