Mavis Batey was a Bletchley Park codebreaker whose Enigma breakthrough proved crucial to the success of D-Day.
Mavis, shown with Abwehr Enigma
Mavis Batey, who has died at age 92, was one of the leading codebreakers at Bletchley Park, cracking the Enigma ciphers that led to the Royal Navy’s victory at Matapan in 1941.
She was the last of the great Bletchley “break-in” experts, those codebreakers who found their way into new codes and ciphers that had never been broken before.
Mavis Batey also played a leading role in the cracking of the extraordinarily complex German secret service, or Abwehr, Enigma. Without that break, the Double Cross deception plan which ensured the success of the D-Day landings could never have gone ahead.
On November 14, 2013, Pat Weadon, curator of the NCM for the last nine years, was presented NSA's Meritorious Civiiian Service Award for his outstanding contributions to the success and popularity of the NCM.
Army Gen. Keith B. Alexander, U.S. Cyber Command commander and National Security Agency director, speaks with Armed with Science blogger Jessica L. Tozer during an interview at the National Cryptologic Museum in Annapolis Junction, Md., Oct. 21, 2013. Excerpts from the interview which includes Gen Alexander's description of both the FISA and PRISM programs, can be found at the Armed with Science blog and you can hear the entire interview by activating a video at the end of the article.
Last year (2012), Syracuse University was approached by Larry Tart on behalf of the Prop Wash Gang with the objective of creating a memorial honoring airmen (language school students) who perished or were injured in a fire in an Air Force barracks (building M-7) on Syracuse University in 1959. The Prop Wash Gang is a group of Air Force airborne reconnaissance veterans that Larry founded in 1996 when they were creating a memorial at NSA. The memorial pays tribute to 17 Air Force brothers who died on 2 September 1958 when Soviet MiG's shot down their reconnaissance mission over Soviet Armenia.
The Prop Wash Gang and Syracuse University joined forces to honor seven airmen who perished and nineteen others who were injured in the fire that occurred on 6 January 1959. On Friday, 4 October, at 3:00 p.m. we dedicated the Skytop Airmen's Memorial that sits on a grassy knoll overlooking the area formerly occupied by barracks M-7 on SU's South Campus. Sean Kirst, an award winning columnist with the Syracuse Post Standard Newspaper provided detailed coverage of our memorial dedication in Sunday's newspaper, with links to several related online articles.
As part of the "fiscal cliff" tax compromise legislation passed on January 1, Congress reinstated taxpayers' ability to take required annual distributions from their IRAs and contribute those withdrawals directly to charitable organizations, treating them as tax-free distributions. It's a convenient way to satisfy IRA distribution requirements, support charitable causes, and receive a tax break all at the same time.
Friends and Colleague
Challenges to our Agency’s integrity hurt me deeply. I’m sure most of you feel the same way. None of us spent a career defending the privacy and integrity of our fellow citizens only to have that commitment challenged by many who have no idea where fact fades into fiction, or at worst don’t even care. Whichever side of the discussion you fall on, it’s most important that we know the facts so that we’re able to talk knowledgeably with family, friends, and neighbors when the topic comes up in discussions. In conjunction with the President's announcement on August 9th, NSA released the attached paper, The NSA Story, describing NSA's Missions, Authorities, Oversight and Partnerships. In my view, it is well written, concise and very helpful background for understanding the issues at play.
The paper will also be posted to the National Cryptologic Museum Foundation website and I encourage you to send others to the site for a copy of the paper and information about the rich history and tremendous contributions our Agency has made to the Nation. In the coming week, NSA will also be adding transcripts and other information to the nsa.gov website and pointers to an Intelligence Community site where specific disclosures can be located.
Richard C. Schaeffer, Jr.
President, National Cryptologic Museum Foundation
The Milt Zaslow award for 2013 in the Junior Division went to Catie Gast and Kerry Van Rees from the Matapeake Middle School in Stevensville who are pictured below on the left with their teacher, Jillian Ferris, and their exhibit. Their award was in the Group Exhibit category and was presented by Senator Mike Miller.
The National Cryptologic Museum will display their exhibit (with process paper and annotated bibliography) on Saturday, June 1 and Saturday, June 15, between 10 AM and 2 PM.
The following is their process paper for the exhibit:
The Navajo Code Talkers: Turning the Tide of World War II in the Pacific.
Why we chose this topic:
Unfortunately, the history of the United States is tainted with the suppression of its Native Americans. Yet the Navajo Nation stepped forward during World War II to help defend our country. When we first read about the Navajo Code Talkers, we found the accounts riveting, and began to believe their contributions should be considered a turning point in the war. We chose this topic because we were not aware of how important they were to WWII, and others may not realize it either.
How we conducted our research:
We researched the Code Talkers in school using the internet and the school library, where we identified several useful books and websites. Our families helped us visit the public library to check out more books and a History Channel documentary on unsung heroes of World War II. We took notes on the documentary and used portions of the books when preparing the annotated bibliography and exhibit. Reading the personal accounts and finding photographs from the primary resources we found helped us finalize the proposal for our project. Completing the history day project proposal for our teacher helped guide our research to see what errors we had, what types of sources to use, and what changes and corrections we needed to make.
How we created and developed our exhibit:
From our research we identified major events that we included in our exhibit, such as the battle of Iwo Jima and the creation of the code. We also added some pictures of the Navajo Code Talkers, while they were in training and on the battle field. Additionally, we created an interactive game “Match the Code.” This game challenges the player to match Navajo and English words to the pictures. And shows the difficulty of the code for the “Talkers” and for the potential “breakers,” so the player can leave with a better understanding of the pivotal role the Code Talkers had during World War II.
How the project relates to the theme:
The Navajo Code Talkers were a turning point in World War II because their unbreakable code saved lives and helped end the war. Before the Navajo code was used, Japanese forces had broken all the previous U.S. codes. A Navajo coded message could be sent, translated, and be replied to in about 30 seconds, while earlier codes took much longer. Because of the Navajo Code Talkers, the U.S. captured Iwo Jima, and eventually won the war. This had a huge impact on turning the tide in WWII.
The winners of the Milt Zaslow Award in the Senior Division went to Dara Wais, Luke Sullivan, Gabriel Grell, and Noah Gamper. They are shown below, in the preceding order, along with their exhibit which will be on display at the National Cryptologic Museum on Saturday, June 1 and Saturday, June 15, between 10 AM and 2 PM.
They attend Baltimore Polytechnic Institute and their teacher is Eric Green. Their subject was: The Effect of the Navajo Code Talkers on U.S.-Native American Relations after World War II.
The following is their process paper:
A visit to a restaurant near Mesa Verde, New Mexico happened to have a Navajo code talker exhibit, which piqued the interest of one of our group members in the Navajo Code. A wampaum belt from Noah’s grandfather, who fought in WWII, prompted his interest in both the war and the history of Native Americans. Together these interests drove our group to study and create a project about the Navajo Code Talkers.
Our search was mostly online with a few book sources. We found out what battles they made a significant effect on as well as the methods they used during these battles. We found a wealth of primary source photographs online of the code talkers in action. We also used journals of the code talkers. We did extensive research online for most of the sources. All of these sources helped us to understand how the code talkers affected the turn of the war.
We chose the exhibit because we thought it would be the best way to present the Navajo Code Talkers. It is easy to display our primary sources of documents, letters, and pictures. The essay did not fit our topic well because of the type of evidence we collected. When we decided on the code talkers, we thought making an exhibit would best display what happened on the battlefield. Our exhibit shows the jungle-like terrain of the Battle of Iwo Jima, with several Navajo Indians transmitting messages through radio while the US Marines are fighting the Japanese on the battlefield.
The Navajo Indians involvement in WWII proved to be a turning point of the war and for U.S. Native American relations by assisting the U.S. in defeating Japan, creating a code for Allied radio traffic, compiling a remarkable war record, and receiving national and international recognition. Before the World War II, the U.S. government treated the Navajo and many other tribes unfairly. They were pushed off their lands and forced to walk at gunpoint from present-day Arizona to New Mexico. The Navajo’s relation with the government during WWII was the first major positive relation between the U.S. and Native Americans since white man came to America. Not only was this a positive relation, it was also a turning point in WWII because the radio signals could not be intercepted or interrupted by the Japanese.
In the battle of Iwo Jima, the code talkers sent over 800 messages, which was pivotal in the battle. The Navajo also made significant impacts on the Battle of Guadalcanal and the Battle of Okinawa Island, which both ended in U.S. victories. Almost 30 years after the war, President Ronald Reagan praised their bravery, even making a memorial for their efforts. Their involvement in WWII was not only a turning point for the war but also for U.S.-Native American relations in general. They have allowed Native American tribes to build relations with the U.S. government and gain social attention.
A hitherto unknown variant of the German cipher machine Enigma has appeared on display at the Bloomfield Museum in Jerusalem, Israel. The machine, originally fabricated during WW2, has had its original German keyboard, lamp panel, wheels and minor labels converted to the Hebrew alphabet while curiously, given the Israeli anathema to all things associated with Nazi Germany, retaining the original German language instructional placard inside the machine's lid (photo on the right below). The serial number of the Enigma and its wheels are at the time of writing, undetermined. The machine is said to be the property of the Israeli Army.
There is an article in the Times of Israel about the machine but the one depicted in the article is Bletchley Park's Abwehr Enigma G-312.
Images courtesy Nathan Zeldes
The Central Intelligence Agency recently launched an enhanced and redesigned online gallery to highlight the Agency’s museum and its holdings. The new section has a more modern look, improved navigation, an interactive timeline, new videos, descriptions of an additional 100 artifacts and expanded access to the Agency’s historical collections.
On July 13, 2012, His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, unveiled a plaque at the National Memorial Arboretum which reads "To commemorate all those British and Allied personnel whose work in Signals Intelligence and Communications Security has supported the British Government in war and peace since 1914."
John Silcock was privileged to be invited to the ceremony and was introduced, as part of a small group of retirees which also included Michael Canning, to Prince Charles. Also present at the ceremony were eight of the nine living Directors (Brian Tovey couldn't be present), two of the surviving Bletchley Park-ers, Sir Arthur (Bill) Bonsall and Jimmy Pollard, several Service and civilian people from past and present field sites, representatives of sister British security and intelligence agencies, some current members of staff, and representatives of the US, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand governments.
Due to the weather conditions, Prince Charles unveiled a plaque, with the same wording as on the actual memorial, in the Chapel of the National Memorial Arboretum and was introduced to the past Directors, all, of course, Knights of the Realm.
For more details visit the GCHQ web site.
Submitted by John Silcock
- Last Updated - 12/1/2013
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