I feel slightly ashamed that even after programming computers for nearly 25 years I was unaware of a great deal of the work that occurred during the second world war (apart from Alan Turing and Enigma decoding).

 

It’s a real shame the my government kept much of the story hidden, and those great minds never got public recognition. 

 

This documentary is well worth watching, if you are interested in the story of the men behind Colossus, the world’s first semi-programmable computer, Narrated by Keely Hawes, Code-Breakers: Bletchley Park’s Lost Heroes tells the story of Bill Tutte and Tommy Flowers and their role in helping the Alllies win World War 2. Unlike their more famous colleague, Alan Turing, Tutte and Flowers’ work was kept secret for decades.

 Codebreakers: Bletchley Park Lost Heroes

 

Tutte was the mathematician who unlocked the secrets of Lorenz,a machine which Hitler’s generals used to encode radio messages to co-ordinate the Nazis war strategy.  Flowers was the Post Office engineer, who realised that the decoding could be automated, and designed the world’s first computer, Colossus, which was used to crack the code, which played a key role in the Allies’ war effort, culminating in the D-Day landings.

 

The programme can be downloaded from BBC iPlayer here