done at Dollis Hill under the Government Post Office and they were installed
by Post Office men when ready. The Colossi, or the large units, grew from
one when the American party entered the section to the final twelve with a
especially built Block H for their housing.
American Personnel in Block F. T/Sgt (later 2/Lt) George H.
Vergine was the pioneering American in Block F. Follow his comments:
I shall never forget the maze of abstractions that confronted me
the day I started in the section. That was on 9 March 1944. I was ushered
into what was called the research room and given the log books to read.
Log book number one could not be found; I had difficulty in reading the
scribbling; and many of the terms used such as deciban and bulge were
never seen in any book on probability. Any hope of finding out what the
underlying theory of solution might be depended entirely on jumping into
the middle of endless daily notes and a mass of unidentified symbols.
There was the Black Book, as it was called. It was supposed to
give a coherent summary, but truthfully half of it was obsolete. Dr New-
man claimed that the best perhaps the best summary of Fish theory could be found
in Major Seaman's special Fish note-book. He had been our American liaison
offocer who unfortunatel had just returned the week before to Washington
--with his notebook.
I still remember the shyness that possessed me. The people spoke
the same language but definitely did not speak it as we did. The members
of the section were too polite in my estimation, staying completely out
of my way and looking too busy to give me a few informative words. I sat
in the room trying to follow the development of one particular phase of the
mathematics, paging through the log to find those days on which the topic
came into discussion, and saying a few extra words under my breath when I
eventually found a final contradiction to the hopes of the idea.
Later Dr Newman gave me an hour's lecture on how the cipher
machine worked and from then on I was on my own. The jigsaw pieced itself
together very slowly. Theory, procedures, and machine operations required
time to fuse. The disorganisation that first appeared to be I later realised
was not the fault of the men nor organisation but was due to the con-
centration on the rapid growth of the problem. There had never been any
need for a summary of the work because every one simply read the daily
entries in the log-books and kept himself up to date. Once in a while
a screed had been attempted but it seemed useless since several had
become out of date before they were finished.
Another civilian had entered the section when I had, and I was
relieved when Dr Newman confessed that they had not realised just how
specialised the problem had become. The new men in the future were given
more consideration. But to me, of all the jobs I have ever started the
Fish job will always remain as the toughest.
Lt Elmer van der Veal entered the Testery at about the same time.
The Testery never expected much from a recruit during the first three months
since he had to be able spontaneously to perform the mental gymnastics of
adding together two Baudot letters, each containing five pluses or minuses .
After spending some time with the breakers, Lt van der Veal later ???? as