The 1944 Bletchley Park Cryptographic Dictionary

Tony Sale's
Codes and Ciphers

These webpages offer a text reproduction of The Cryptographic Dictionary, compiled at Bletchley Park in 1944. The web-edition has been produced by Tony Sale, based on the copy of the Dictionary held in the American National Archives.

The full citation is:
"A Cryptographic Dictionary," NR 4559, Historic Cryptographic Collection, Pre-World War I Through World War II, Record Group 457,The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, Maryland."
The Dictionary is a guide to all the specialist terms employed in Bletchley Park codebreaking. In so doing the Dictionary gives an overview of the whole range of activities as they stood in 1944. The many eccentric technical terms also reflect the special culture and humour of Bletchley Park work.

In its foreword the editor gives the Dictionary the date of 20 July 1944 (coincidentally the day of the attempted assassination of Hitler). It is believed that the editor was in fact James Wyllie who worked in the Research section at Bletchley Park. (See the references to Research in the text.)

In 2001 James Wyllie's son, also called James Wyllie, wrote to Tony Sale with a description of his father's life and work which supports this hypothesis. James Wyllie (1907-1971) was a classicist and lexicographer, whose work before the war had been on the Oxford English and Latin dictionaries. It appears that he was posted to the 'Research' section at Bletchley Park in August 1943 and then worked on this Dictionary over the following year.

See the Letter from James Wyllie for more details.

Continue to the Index to the Dictionary.

Back to the index page for Tony Sale's Codes and Ciphers in the Second World War.

This page was originally created by the late Tony Sale, the original curator of the Bletchley Park Museum, and Secretary of the Bletchley Park Heritage Society. Technical assistance from Andrew Hodges