Codebreaker Jerry Roberts receives MBE Honours

 Bletchley Park codebreaker Raymond ‘Jerry’ Roberts has been appointed MBE in the 2012 New Year Honours

Raymond 'Jerry' RobertsThis morning Jerry Roberts, 92, tweeted that he is to receive the honour for ‘promoting Bletchley Park in the last 5 years. Not Wartime work.’  He still hopes that the whole team will one day be fully recognised.

Jerry Roberts told the BBC he and his wife, Mei are delighted by the honour:

“She is very pleased that something has come through; we both wish it could have been a bit more, not because we are fixed on titles, but just in gesture to those other guys – the Testery,” he said

“They did a brilliant job, we were breaking 90% of the German traffic through ’41 to ’45.

“We worked for three years on Tunny material and were breaking, at a conservative estimate, just under 64,000 top line messages.

“It was an exciting time because once you start getting a break on a message and seeing it through and getting it.”

Recruited to Bletchley Park in 1941 and became a senior linguist/cryptographer. He was one of four founder members of Ralph Tester’s code breaking unit the ‘Testery’. From July 1942 until the end of the war the team were responsible for making daily breaks into the German Army’s secret top-level Lorenz teleprinter cipher machine, given the cover name Tunny. The messages enciphered on this machine were often signed by Hitler.

At the end of the war Jerry served as a member of the War Crimes Investigation Unit where he worked until 1947. He then enjoyed a 50 year career in marketing and research.

For 10 years now Jerry has been instrumental in the campaign for greater recognition for Bletchley Park’s ‘Four Ts’ – the Testery, Turing, Tutte, and Tommy Flowers. Tommy Flowers designed Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer to aid the Testery. You can watch Jerry, who is one of the last surviving codebreakers talk about the Testery, the little recognised work of his colleague and the significant impact their work and that of Colossus had on the Second World War.

Earlier this year Jerry Roberts was part of the Turing’s 100th Birthday Party in the Park and  delivered the 2012 Annual Turing Lecture. His topic is Breaking Tunny in the Testery. You can listen to his lecture on the Bletchley Park Podcast (produced by by clicking on the links below.

Click here to listen to Bletchley Park podcast Ep02 for the first part of Jerry Roberts lecture.

Click here to listen to Ep03, the second part of Jerry Roberts lecture on how Tunny was broken.

Well done, Jerry. I am not sure why you have not received this honour before now, and I am sure that your dedication and growing awareness will see to it that the Testery team are fully recognised in the annuls of history.

Kerry Howard Profile













Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

Leave a Reply