Bletchley Park veteran ‘can’t wait’ to watch himself on Professort Brian Cox programme tonight

Captain Jerry Roberts pictured with TV star Professor Brian Cox
  Captain Jerry Roberts pictured with TV star Professor Brian Cox

OneMK Reporter 25 Sep 2013 at 17:33 By OneMK Reporter

A Bletchley Park veteran who took part in the filming of a BBC show can’t wait to watch the programme when it’s broadcast.

Captain Jerry Roberts, 92, is the last survivor of the cryptographers who worked on Tunny (Lorenz SZ40/42).

He is a senior codebreaker and a founder member of the Testery team who deciphered the highest grade of top-secret intelligence - including messages from German High Command to the top Generals and Fieldmarshals, and Hitler himself.

Jerry features alongside popular TV star Professor Brian Cox, who presents the Science Britannica programme which will feature a section on Bletchley Park when it is broadcast tonight at 9pm on BBC2.

Jerry, who now lives in Hampshire, told MKWeb: “Brian was very interested in finding out how the human mind works and how we cracked the code by hand. Breaking Tunny was a triumph of minds, not machines.

“It’s very difficult to explain how to break messages. Even when you had good knowledge of the German language and the skill, you still needed a kind of ‘knack’ and you would follow that instinct.”

Following the filming, Captain Roberts said that the TV star had become ‘a good friend’.

He said: “Professor Cox is a thoroughly nice guy and has become a good friend. He sent me a signed copy of his last book Wonders of Life.”

For the last five years, Captain Roberts has been seeking recognition for his colleague Bill Tutte who broke the Tunny whole system, and the Testery who broke the messages, of which he says the public is largely unaware.

“Without Tutte’s amazing achievement, we would not have known Hitler’s planning and decision-making,” said Jerry.

“Enigma decrypts helped Britain not to lose the war in 1941. Tunny decrypts helped shorten the war by at least two years and saving tens of millions of lives. This is mostly down to Tutte who broke the system and the Testery who broke all these top-level messages. Tutte got no reward for this at all and I’ve been fighting to see him get the recognition he deserves and I hope that situation will change.”

Speaking about its show, the BBC said: “Brian Cox guides viewers through 350 years of British science to reveal what science really is, who the people are who practice it and how it is inextricably linked to the past, present and future of each and every one of us.”

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