Inside the shadow world of Signals Intelligence
in Australia's two Bletchley Parks
by Craig Collie
The extraordinary untold story of the brilliant men who
cracked the Japanese codes from Australia during World War II.
At the height of World War II in the Pacific, two secret organisations existed in Australia to break Japan's military codes. They were peopled by brilliant and idiosyncratic cryptographers, including some with achievements in mathematics and the Classics and others who had lived or grown up in Japan. These men patiently and carefully unravelled the codes in Japanese signals, ultimately playing a crucial role in the battles of Midway and the Coral Sea, as well as General Douglas MacArthur's push into the Philippines. An intercept station in the Queensland bush brought about the end of Admiral Yamamoto.
But this is more than a story of codes. It is an extraordinary exploration of a unique group of men and their intense personal rivalries and loathing, of white-anting and taking credit for others' achievements. It is also the story of a fierce inter-national and inter-service political battle for control of war-changing intelligence between a group of cryptographers called FRUMEL based at the Monterey apartment block in Melbourne's Albert Park and General MacArthur's counter group called Central Bureau, that eventually established its headquarters in suburban Brisbane. What happened between these two groups would have consequences for intelligence services in the years to follow.
"Code Breakers" brings this surprising and very secret world and the men who operated in it to rich life for the first time.
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© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 19 May 2017
This page last updated 21 January 2020