The History of Hut Eight

and so fluid that it afforded no more than a theoretical solution to the problem. It was our experience that it was possible to 'rush' very small groups of traffic at very high speed - some very remarkable results were achieved with the frequency which carried Flying Bomb information - but that rushing a large quantity was comparatively ineffective.

As a result of the increased number of teleprinters the average time elapsing between interception and teleprinting was reduced to about 30 minutes which was thought to be satisfactory. For the opening of the Second Front a small W/T station was opened at B/P, most appropriately in the old Hut 8. This covered certain frequencies of special operational urgency or crib importance and produced very satisfactory results. A new record was established when a signa1 reached Admiralty in translation 12 minutes after being intercepted here. As the excitement over the success of the Second Front died down and the sense of urgency disappeared, the time lag became somewhat worse, but the situation remained under control, with one or two brief exceptions, even during the final peak period in March 1945.

As was to be expected, stations other than Scarborough which had less interest in Naval traffic and less facilities for teleprinting were appreciably slower in passing us the traffic; a time check late in 1944 revealed an average delay of 103 minutes at Flowerdown. It should perhaps also be gratefully recorded that Scarborough's standard of teleprinting, accuracy and neatness remained right through the war a model which other stations were far from rivalling.

In early days traffic was teleprinted to the Main Building whence it was carried every half hour, later every hour, to the old Hut 8 Registration Room. This was inevitably a slow process, but it mattered comparatively little as in those days keys were not often being read currently. The move into Block D (February 1943) and the introduction of conveyor belts greatly improved the situation and traffic now came to the teleprinter room a few yards away whence it was conveyed to the Registration Room by belt.

Once a message had arrived in Hut 8 a considerable number of things had to be done before it could arrive decoded in Naval Section. The Registration Room had to sort the traffic - partly by frequency and partly with the help of the K book - into the various keys and, if the key in question was current, the message was then handed to the Decoding Room. For a long time decoded traffic was carried to Naval Section, a considerable walk either from the old or the new Hut 8; this wasteful method of conveyance was only superseded when the pneumatic tube system was introduced some time after we arrived in Block D.


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