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Intelligence | The Z-Plan


In the First World War, wireless and cable signals carried extremely important information. In 1914, Winston Churchill encouraged the clandestine interception and decoding of such messages. As First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill leaned heavily toward all means of probing Germany’s communications systems.

Winston Churchill & Jackie Fisher
Winston Churchill &
Jackie Fisher

Soon, with the benefit of captured German military codes, a small group of specialists in London decoded many intercepted signals. Code named SIGINT this group grew into a top-secret intelligence arm that included interception of diplomatic messages. Set up in Room 40 of the Admiralty their information proved invaluable.

During the Second World War a similar spy group operated with new sophisticated technology. Early computers came into play. Housed at premises in Bletchley Park near London an ever expanding group of specialists intercepted and decoded signals from around the globe. Code named ULTRA this most secret operation became one of Britain’s top wartime assets.

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Content ©2006, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12 Joseph Gilbey.