Capt Jerry Roberts exclusive video
Post this page to popular social media
Today we release our first video clip of Captain Jerry Roberts MBE, a founder member of the codebreaking Testery at Bletchley Park during World War II, explaining the context of the Colossus computer.
Everyone at TNMOC has been delighted to hear that Capt Jerry Roberts was appointed an MBE in the New Year Honours. TNMOC has been working with Jerry to record his memories to ensure that the role of the Testery is well explained in the new (and not yet complete) Colossus Gallery at TNMOC.
Capt Roberts was a founder member of the Testery, the group of linguists who by hand deciphered Tunny, the British name for the encrypted Lorenz messages between Hitler and his generals. The codebreaking of Tunny had a huge impact upon the outcome of the Second World War and is widely acknowledged as having played a leading part in shortening the war by two years and saving countless thousands of lives.
Andy Clark, chair of TNMOC, said: "We are greatly indebted to Jerry for helping us understand the context of Colossus, the world's first electronic semi programmable computer. His first-hand knowledge of the introduction and use of Colossus has dispelled many myths and given us vitally important information about how Colossus speeded up, but did not entirely replace the hand methods by which Tunny messages were deciphered. He has given us a greaterunderstanding of the significance of Colossus and how it was integrated into the codebreaking process.
"Jerry's recollections are of enormous value in informing our rapidly developing educational programme to explain to school pupils and students the origins and development of computing. We are delighted that we have captured his memories on video tape and plan to make those available to visitors as the final stage in the refurbishment of the new Colossus Gallery.
"Remarkably, Jerry's nonagenerian status seems to have been no impediment to him in telling the story of the Testery and Tunny that had to be kept secret for so many decades. We marvel at his energy and extend our warmest congratulations!"
Below is one of the clips of Capt Roberts to tell the story of the Testery. In this clip, Jerry explains the relationship of the Testery (linguist code-breakers) and the Newmanry (mathematicians who automated part of the codebreaking).