There was an immeasurable distance between the quick and the dead: they did not seem to belong to the same species; and it was strange to think that but a little while before they had spoken and moved and eaten and laughed - W. Somerset Maugham
ONE OF THE LAST remaining UK code breakers from World War Two has passed away.
Raymond 'Jerry' Roberts was 93, according to the BBC, and was instrumental in breaking high-level Nazi ciphers as part of the code-cracking war effort.
Captain Roberts joined the war effort at the Milton Keynes park in 1941. As a member of a group called the Testery he helped crack the Tunny code, re-engineering its code to let the allies read German and Italian messages.
In an interview with the BBC last year he discussed the excitement of cracking the codes and spiking Hitler's chats.
"We were breaking 90 percent of the German traffic through '41 to '45", he said.
"We worked for three years on Tunny material and were breaking - at a conservative estimate - just under 64,000 top-line messages."
Roberts was part of a unique effort that will never be forgotten. As part of a team that included Alan Turing he played a significant role in the war effort, and all with typical British understatement.
"It was a war where we knew comprehensively what the other side were doing," he said. "And that was thanks to Alan Turing, who basically saved the country by breaking Enigma in 1941."
Sir John Scarlett, chairman, Bletchley Park Trust, called Capt Roberts an ambassador the park, and wished his family well.
"Captain Jerry Roberts MBE was a true gentleman and - to the last days of his long life - an outstanding ambassador for Bletchley Park. In World War Two he was a key member of the team who deciphered the most secret communications of Hitler and his top commanders, work of incomparable importance for the outcome of the War," he said.
"Unfailingly modest about his own achievements, he was committed to the end to achieving recognition for the work of his colleagues and the contribution of all those who worked at Bletchley Park. He will be greatly missed. Our thoughts are with his devoted wife, Mei." µ
Sign up for INQbot – a weekly roundup of the best from the INQ