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Bletchley Park opens U-110 Enigma exhibit

Today marks 70th anniversary of code-cruncher-carrying U-boat's capture

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An exhibit commemorating the 70th anniversary of the capture of an Enigma machine and codebooks from a German wartime submarine has opened in Bletchley Park.

The exhibition contains photographs of the capture of the secret coding device of the U-boat 110 on 9 May 1941, as well as the first-hand account of the 20-year-old sub lieutenant who climbed into the U-boat to seize the documents and the factual material, providing a background to the story. Mercifully the much-derided Hollywood version of the story, U-571 - which featured Americans and not Brits capturing the device – doesn't get a look-in.

The exhibit also covers the story from the German side, with testimony from some of the U-boat survivors. Historian Hugh Sebag-Montefiore has added background material to provide context to the display.

The capture of the U-110 was crucial in breaking the naval Enigma code. Alan Turing and his Bletchley Park codebreakers were not at first able to break the naval Enigma code used by Germany's U-boats, but the capture of codebooks from U-110 provided vital clues that helped crack the code. ®

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