There are plans to move the reconstruction of the Turing-Welchman Bombe, the electro-mechanical device used to decipher enemy Enigma messages during the Second World War, to a new location on the Bletchley Park Estate - Block H, the home of The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC).
A crowdfunding campaign will be launched on 15 February 2018 to create a new Bombe Gallery close to the existing Colossus gallery. Together the two machines will give visitors an unparalleled insight of the wartime code-breaking genius at Bletchley Park and the beginnings of our digital world.
Donations can still be made here
Following the announcement of the re-organisation of some of the Bletchley Park Trust display areas, the Turing Welchman Bombe Rebuild Trust (TWBRT), which owns and maintains the Bombe, reconsidered the best location for its fully working Bombe reconstruction. After assessing several options, the TWBRT approached The National Museum of Computing, which has agreed to host the Bombe reconstruction in Block H close to the rebuild of Colossus.
John Harper, chair of TWBRT, explained: “After careful consideration of the options, TWBRT Trustees approached The National Museum of Computing, which agreed to host the Bombe exhibit. We are delighted with this solution and welcome the opportunity to remain part of the overall visitor attraction at Bletchley Park. Our team of volunteers is looking forward to continuing to demonstrate how the Bombes made their vital contribution to Bletchley Park’s wartime role in the new venue. We thank the Bletchley Park Trust for their co-operation over the years and are pleased that the story of the Bombe will remain very much part of the story that it tells.”
Andrew Herbert, chair of The National Museum of Computing, said: “To house the reconstructed Bombe close to the Colossus Rebuild makes a lot of sense from many perspectives. As a pre-computing electro-mechanical device, the Bombe will help our visitors better understand the beginnings of computing and the general thought processes that led to the development of Colossus and subsequent computers. The story of the design of the Bombe by Alan Turing, the father of computer science, leads very appropriately into the eight decades of computing that we curate. Even the manufacture of the Bombes leads directly to British computing history -- the originals were built by the British Tabulating Machine company (BTM) in Letchworth, which later became part of ICT, then ICL and now Fujitsu.”
“A further benefit of the relocation is that as working reconstructions both the Bombe and Colossus need constant maintenance, skills for which TNMOC volunteers are globally renowned. There will be a very real synergy of the complementary skillsets of the Bombe and Colossus teams who have a profound understanding of the technologies available to those astonishing code-breaking pioneers.”
The timing of the relocation of the reconstructed Bombe will be within the next few months. The new Bombe Gallery design is currently being finalised.
The TWBRT Bombe is a fully functional and accurate reconstruction of the wartime Bombe as designed by Alan Turing and refined by Gordon Welchman. It was used to discover the daily settings of the Enigma machines which were used to communicate operational messages across enemy military networks.
In contrast, the rebuild of Colossus, a key exhibit at TNMOC, was used to find the wheel settings of the Lorenz cipher machine, used by Hitler and German High Command to communicate strategic messages.
Notes To Editors
About the Turing Welchman Bombe Rebuild Trust
Turing Welchman Bombe Rebuild Trust owns and manages the reconstructed Bombe, the electro-mechanical device designed by Alan Turing to automate the deciphering of Enigma-encrypted messages during the Second World War.
In the early 1990s John Harper, a retired engineer, was inspired to recruit a team to reconstruct a Turing Bombe machine as a tribute to the wartime code-breakers at Bletchley Park. The reconstructed Bombe was completed and officially launched in 2007.
The reconstructed Bombe replicates the standard British Bombe that contained 36 Enigma equivalents, each with three drums wired to produce the same enciphering effect as the Enigma cipher machine motors.
About The National Museum of Computing
The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park in Block H, one of England’s ‘irreplaceable places’, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including the rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.
The Museum runs a highly successful Learning Programme for schools and colleges and promotes introductions to computer coding amongst young people to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
Sponsors of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre, Fujitsu, InsightSoftware.com, Paessler, Sophos, Lenovo, Bloomberg, Ocado Technology, Ceravision, CreateOnline, 4Links, Google UK, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, FUZE and BCS.
Outside the long school holidays, the whole Museum is open to the public from 12 noon – 5 pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, spring and summer Bank Holidays and during long school holidays. The Colossus and Tunny galleries are open daily. Public and private Guided Tours are available and bookable online – see the website or the iPhone app for details. Educational and corporate group visits are available by prior arrangement.
For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also available from the iPhone App Store.
for The National Museum of Computing