'Forgoten Heroes" by Jonny Leigh

Product code: 6012
51,00 EUR
51,00 EUR
/ quantity
  • fabric: 78% cotton, 20% modal, 2% cashmere
  • size: 40 x 40 cm
  • finishing: handrolled
  • project: Jonny Leigh
  • Product code: 6012
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Introducing "Enigma Busters" , our next new pocket square.

It's another project (similar to Squadron 303, or Battle of Somosierra) in which we'd like to bring a forgotten history to your attention. Apart from reminding it to our kinsmen, we also wanted to show our foreign customers (an ever growing group, something to celebrate!) the unique and most often tough history of our country. Unfortunately, like in the case of breaking the code of Enigma, the facts are often unknown and uncovered.

Additionally, we'd like to support the noble initiative of Gra Miejska"Code Breakers", a city game.
Each purchased "Enigma" is a token of support for the game, which spreads awareness about the history both nation and world wide.

The project was made by London artist JonnyLeigh Art.


The first breakthrough in the battle to crack Nazi Germany's Enigma code was made not in Bletchley Park but in Warsaw. The debt owed by British wartime codebreakers to their Polish colleagues was acknowledged this week at a quiet gathering of spy chiefs.

On the outskirts of Warsaw, some of the most senior spy bosses from Poland, France and Britain gathered this week in a nondescript but well-guarded building used by the Polish secret services. Their coming together was a way of marking the anniversary of a moment three-quarters of a century earlier when their predecessors held a meeting in Warsaw that played a crucial role in the victory over Hitler in World War Two.

Seventy-five years ago, two British intelligence officers - Alastair Denniston and Dilly Knox - had got off a train at Warsaw's central station. The two Britons were veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School, which would move to Bletchley Park as the war began.

Europe was on the eve of war. Denniston had decided he wanted to see Germany for one last time before the conflict began and so they had made their way via Berlin. If the Germans had known who he was, and the reasons for his trip, they may not have been so forthcoming with their visa. He was travelling to Poland to try to discover the secret of how to break the Enigma machine that Germany used to encode military communications.

After leaving the station, the two Britons headed out to a secret facility at Pyry in a forest outside the city. British, French and Polish codebreakers had already met once, earlier in the year, but that meeting had ended in stalemate. The French had acted as intermediaries but neither British nor Polish had then been willing to show their hand. By July 1939, with war looming, that had changed.

British codebreakers had enjoyed a few successes against early Enigma machines in the mid-1930s but as war approached they had hit a cul-de-sac. The Poles were far ahead thanks to some remarkable breakthroughs (successes that so infuriated Knox he threw a tantrum). Whereas Britain still used linguists to break codes, the Poles had understood that it was necessary to use mathematics to look for patterns.

They had then taken a further step by building electro-mechanical machines to search for solutions (known as "bombas", perhaps because of the ticking noise they made). These devices simulated the workings of an Enigma machine, and enabled operators to search for the settings of the Enigma that had encoded the message, by cycling through one possible setting after another. This worked until the Germans increased the sophistication of the machine.

It was the sharing of this understanding that the Britons would take back home. In turn this allowed Bletchley's own mathematical genius Alan Turing, who would meet with the Poles himself later, to develop his own "bombe" capable of breaking the more complex wartime Enigma codes. One new technique that made the bombe more powerful was the use of "cribs" - assumed or known parts of the message - as a starting point.




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