The following Major Announcement Appeared in “The Computer Bulletin”
November 2002 – Page 13
Historic rebuild gets £20,00 grant
A BRITISH device which is said to have helped shorten the 1939-45 war by two years by cracking communication codes is being rebuilt as a tribute to the people who worked on the originals — and were forced to keep their efforts to themselves for years afterwards. The BCS Computer Conservation Society has been awarded £20,000 for the project from the Specialist Groups Development Fund.
The Bombe was an electromechanical machine used to break codes, produced by the Germans on their Enigma machines, at the secret Bletchley Park Centre near Milton Keynes, where the rebuild is being done. It influenced the design of computers. The pioneering Alan Turing played a key role in its development. No original Bombes survived, so the rebuild is being done from scratch. There are only a small number of rebuild projects across the world, and the British appear to lead the way,’ the Conservation Society says there are few identified projects of this size that are starting from no more than drawings or specifications. The main reason for the rebuild is to recognise and honour all the work put in by those involved. The secrecy was not lifted until the 1970s, so they were never properly recognised, as they would have been if they were in the armed services. A tribute to these loyal and trustworthy people is well overdue; a rebuilt Bombe acts as a very tangible tribute. Information about the project and the other work of the Computer Conservation Society – including earlier major historic rebuilds — is at www.bcs.org.uk/sg/ccs.
The plaque above was presented to the Rebuild Team Project Manager but it must be emphasised that this was accepted on behalf of a professional, competent and willing group of volunteers. It is almost impossible to calculate the number of hours work that has been put in by volunteers but it is certainly measurable in man years and then well into double figures.