Gil Hayward, 1917-2011

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Tunny engineer and facilitator of the TNMOC Tunny rebuild

We are sad to report that Gil Hayward, who worked on the original Tunny machine and facilitated its subsequent rebuild at The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC), has passed away aged 93. TNMOC was extremely fortunate that he was able to attend the opening of the new Tunny Gallery in May of this year.

The Tunny machines were a British re-engineering of the then unseen German Lorenz SZ42 cipher machine which, using the wheel settings revealed by Colossus, produced the final decrypts of Lorenz-enciphered communications of the German High Command during World War II.

Like every Bletchley veteran, Captain Gil Hayward, a gifted mathematician and engineer, maintained a discreet and modest silence about his codebreaking work. Much of it is still a mystery, but we understand the following.

At the tender age of 16, Hayward began work at The Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hill as a General Post Office engineer. After a spell in Egypt working for the Intelligence Corps from about 1940-44, he returned to Dollis Hill where he worked under Tommy Flowers to design the Tunny machines, especially the wiring of the rotary switches which emulated the Lorenz.

Hayward then moved to the Testery in Bletchley Park where he ran the maintenance team of Post Office engineers who ensured the round-the-clock running of the 12-15 Tunny machines. At the end of the war, we believe that he was involved in the dismantling of the Colossus and Tunny machines and the re-installation of two Colossus machines at Eastcote in north London.

Hayward was also instrumental in ensuring that engineering notes about Tunny made their way to Bletchley Park many years after the war. John Whetter one of the leaders of the TNMOC Tunny rebuild team explained: “In 1946, Frank Crofts just happened to discover some Tunny engineering notes in an envelope in a toilet at Bletchley Park. These notes describing the operation and function of Tunny had been written by Sid Broadhurst, Tunny’s Principal Design Engineer. Many years later – in about 1986 -- Gil met up with Frank Crofts, received the notes and ensured that they made their way to Bletchley Park. These notes were crucial in enabling our rebuild of the Tunny machine that is now on display in TNMOC’s Tunny Gallery. So it was doubly fitting that Gil was able to attend the opening of the Tunny Gallery in 2011. It was a great pleasure to meet him.”

Hayward’s humour was never far from the surface, and his son, Mark Hayward, tells of his special way of testing Tunny machines: “My father used the GPO engineers’ phrase ‘Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party’ to test every Tunny machine. By using a particular wheel setting if the typed in phrase gave the output ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud oer vales and hills’ then everything was set correctly – the machine could not cope with apostrophes!”

Andy Clark, Chair of TNMOC Trustees said: “We convey our heart-felt condolences to the Hayward family. It was a delight to meet Gil, his wife and other family members at the Tunny Gallery opening and we hope that the Gallery is a fitting tribute to Gill and the other Bletchley Park wartime codebreakers.”

The Tunny Gallery part of TNMOC is open daily for members of the public to see. Captain Gil Hayward’s name is to be seen on a reproduction of a Testery duty roster on display in the gallery and in some of the actual work of the rebuilds of both Tunny and Colossus and Tunny. At the beginning of the rebuilds in the mid 1990s, Hayward spent many hours in his workshop modifying hundreds of valve bases and making all the brass pegs and the white ends that are used on the jackfields of both Tunny and Colossus.

The Hayward family have very kindly requested that any donations in memory of Gil Hayward be made to The national Museum of Computing.

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