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The Forgotten Giant of Bletchley Park (Hardback)

Brigadier John Tiltman

Military > Biographies WWII > Bletchley Park & the Codebreakers

By Harold Liberty
Imprint: Pen & Sword Military
Pages: 224
Illustrations: 32 mono
ISBN: 9781399089616
Published: 8th June 2022



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In recent years, the work of the Bletchley Park codebreakers has caught the public’s imagination with books and films. While men such as Alan Turing and Dilly Knox have been recognised, Brigadier John Tiltman has been hardly mentioned.

This overdue biography reveals that ‘The Brig’, as he was known, played a key role. After distinguished Great War military service, he established himself as a skilled codebreaker between the Wars, monitoring Russian and other unfriendly powers’ messages. During World War Two he was regarded as the most versatile of cryptographers, cracking a range of codes including Japanese ones. He made the first breakthrough against the German High Command Lorenz system and what he found led to the creation of machines including Colossus, the first recognisable computer. His lack of recognition may be down to his apparent lack of association with Enigma but, in truth, he was closely involved at the start.

In addition to his cryptological brilliance, ‘The Brig’ was a gifted communicator and team-builder whose character combined charm, intelligence, determination and common sense. He was key to building the special relationship with our American partners both during and after the war.

Harold Liberty’s biography shines light on a man whose contribution was essential to Britain’s survival and triumph in the Second World War.


Highlight: 'The author more than proves his point that Tiltman was one of the 'giants of codebreaking' and that his name deserves to be recognised, along with that of Alan Turing... and Dilly Knox... I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in codebreaking, World War Two and the secret history of World War Two.'

Radio User Magazine October 2022

While it seems shameful having not previously heard about him, it was great to read about him and the importance he had on breaking codes and advancing the first computer. This book is an interesting read about a very interesting man.

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The History Fella

This The extraordinary story of Brigadier John Titman, who was a skilled codebreaker at Bletchley Park, the establishment that contributed so much to the allied war effort.

Books Monthly

We have all heard of Bletchley Park and the critical work undertaken there. Personally I had never heard of Brigadier John Tiltman so I read this biography, and was utterly amazed that his name isn’t better known.

After military service in the Great War, Tiltman became a codebreaker. The breadth and depth of his experience is incredible – codes in Russian, Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish and Italian were decrypted, code books written, and advice and training given to others. The book gives some detailed descriptions of how this was done, and the man seems to have been a walking computer!

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ARRSE (Army Rumour Service)

The Forgotten Giant of Bletchley Park by Harold Liberty is the story of John Tilman. The book is very well researched and very well put together... the story was very interesting and the real life dramas were very intriguing.

NetGalley, Leigh Ann Gregoire

About Harold Liberty

Harold Liberty read Classics at Peterhouse, Cambridge before a career in teaching. As a chess player, musician and crossword addict, had he been born some decades earlier there is every chance he could have been a code-breaker. Certainly, he has been fascinated in the history of Bletchley Park since its work became public knowledge in the late 1970s and he took up stewarding and guiding there on retirement. His experience and knowledge led to the writing of this book.

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