The Secret War 1977 – Bletchley Park Codebreakers – including Turing’s mentor – on video

If you are interested in the history of Bletchley Park do watch this INCREDIBLE episode from the 1970s of The Secret War. Presented by William Woollard it features Gordon WelchmanHarry GolombekPeter Calvorcoressi, F. W. Winterbottam, Max Newman (Alan Turing’s mentor at Bletchley Park), Jack Goode AND Tommy Flowers describing how he built Colossus, filmed in the room at Dollis Hill where Colossus was actually built.

Oh my goodness what an amazing video. It also features an introduction to codebreaking Bletchley Park style.


How amazing to see Tommy Flowers speaking about building Colossus in the room where it was built. Also love hearing about how everyone was scared, using a soldier drawing a gun from his pocket, into maintaining the Official Secrets Act. SO interesting!

I need to watch it properly so that I can see if there’s anything I can add into my forthcoming book: Saving Bletchley Park.

What’s your favourite bit? I’d love to know 🙂


    1. This was a great video. This reminds me of the book Blinds Man Bluff, which was also an “expose” on previously secret stuff. (The later being on submarine usage.) I also liked the incite of the actual cryptography used for the various portions of the project. 🙂

  1. Oh, “The Secret War”. So good, I bought RV Jones’ book, “Most Secret War”, which came out the following year. The revelations of what had previously been top secret were absolutely fascinating at the time (and still are).

    I see the series is available on DVD – think I’ll need to get it to add to my BBC 70’s war collection consisting solely of “Testament of Youth” so far.

    1. The RV Jones bit at the end made me cry. Really brings home that it was life or death for millions of people. I might add the DVD set to my Christmas list 😉

      1. Definitely going on mine ! I see the DVD release date was only 8 Sep 2014.
        Thanks so much for reminding me of the series, and thereby pointing me in the direction of the DVDs
        My first job out of uni (1976) was in military electronics, which added to the fascination at the time.

  2. Interesting that they didn’t know about Bill Tutte figuring out the Lorenz(fish), I found that out because Capt Jerry Roberts who shared an office with him at the time told me about it. He said that Bill Tutte sat at the desk across from him in an office and for 3 months Tutte just sat there staring into space twiddling a pencil. After 3 months he drew/wrote down the workings of the Lorenz machine having never seen the machine. What a genius! So great that we now have the Tutte memorial: so sad that he was never thanked in his lifetime.

  3. It seems this video is now unavailable. Harry Golombeck was my great uncle and I’d dearly love to see this footage. Do you know where I might be able to view it?

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