Cryptographic History of Work on the German Naval Enigma

4. The fact that they already did the bombe testing (not running the bombes but examining the results produced by it) led to a rather curious set-up in the Hut, as when the M.R. (machine room) was formed to handle bombe testing it too came under their control. The "Big Room" where the material was prepared for Banburizing and the traffic was decyphered after a break - where indeed all clerical work except registration was done - was under separate control, first Miss Mortimer and later Miss Whatley being in charge. This division into Big Room on the one hand and R.R. and M.R. on the other was wrong, and led to a certain amount of duplication (though not very much) and occasional friction. The correct arrangement would have been to have the Big Room and R.R. as one unit and M.R. as another, the M.R. being subordinate to the Crib Room, The system of divided control between Owen and Amys was also wrong and rather unsatisfactory from their point of view, though the good sense of all concerned enabled it to work fairly well. None of us at the time realized sufficiently clearly that it was worth while taking trouble to get the organization really tidy, and we accepted the somewhat illogical state of affairs that grew up. Looking back on it, I think that we should have saved ourselves a good deal of trouble - and probably increased our efficiency to a certain extent - by tidying it all up at the beginning even at the cost of some heartburnings.

5. The third change made was that the Hut went onto three shifts for the first time and from now till the end of the war was always fully manned for 24 hours. Though it was to be some months still before we were regularly reading on a current basis we now saw this as a realizable objective and planned our work accordingly. Every day's traffic was sent down as it came in to the Hollerith section under Mr. Freeborn who "punched it up" (i.e. recorded the contents of the messages on punched cards) and sorted the results to find all repeated groups for us. Without this work we should have been helpless and we owe much to the efficient and speedy service we received.


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