Alastair G. and Robin Denniston

Denniston, Alastair G. "The Government Code and Cypher School Between the Wars." Intelligence and National Security 1, no. 1 (Jan. 1986): 48-70.

Denniston was one of the original group in the 1914-1918 Room 40 OB and headed the government cipher team from 1919 to 1942. Filby, I&NS 10.3/421/fn. 17.


Denniston, Robin. Churchill's Secret War: Diplomatic Decrypts, the Foreign Offcie and Turkey 1942-44. London: Sutton, 1997. New York: St. Martin's, 1997. London: Sutton, 1999. [pb]

According to Kruh, Cryptologia 21.3, the author uncovered some previously unknown files of diplomatic intercepts that provide "a broader view of Churchill's role in British foreign policy and war planning." Included is new information on the Cicero spy affair. Wylie, I&NS 15.3, finds that the author "presents a thoughful and well researched analysis of the role Sigint played in Churchill's attitude towards Turkey during the war.... Though at times repetitive and difficult to follow, Denniston provides a powerful and convincing case." For Kahn, Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), "[t]he merit of this book is that it utilizes ... the file of intercepts that Churchill himself used."

Denniston, Robin. "Diplomatic Eavesdropping, 1922-44: A New Source Discovered." Intelligence and National Security 10, no. 3 (Jul. 1995): 423-448.

"This study traces recent research into non-service -- that is diplomatic -- traffic, some of which was enciphered by systems which predated machine encipherment.... The new source disclosed is the diplomatic component of the files that came to Churchill from MI6 from late 1941 to VJ Day.... In 1943 up to a third of 'C's' daily delivery to Churchill consisted" of diplomatic intercepts. "A total of 17 countries were targeted."

[UK/Interwar/Gen; UK/WWII/Overviews][c]

Denniston, Robin. "Diplomatic Intercepts in Peace and War: Chanak 1922." Diplomacy & Statecraft 11, no. 1 (2000): 241-256.


Denniston, Robin. "The Professional Career of A. G. Denniston." In British and American Approaches to Intelligence, ed. K.G. Robertson, 104-129. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1987.


Denniston, Robin. "Research Note: Yanks to Lunch -- An Early Glimpse of Anglo-American Signals Intelligence Co-operation, March 1941." Intelligence and National Security 11, no. 2 (Apr. 1996): 357-359.

Urinary tract operations on GCCQ's operational head at Bletchley Park, Alastair Denniston, may well have forestalled one of the earlier efforts (the Sinkov visit) toward Anglo-American cooperation in the Sigint arena.

[Liaison; UK/WWII/Ultra; WWII/Magic/Coop][c]

Denniston, Robin. Thirty Secret Years: A.G. Denniston's Work in Signals Intelligence, 1914-1944. London: Polperro Heritage, 2007.

Hamer, Cryptologia 31.4 (Oct. 2007), finds "the complete absence of an index" an irritation, the effects of which "are exacerbated by the fact that the bulk of this slim volume is comprised of virtually unedited, excerpted research material that is presented in a rather uneven order and without any consideration for the resultant lack of chronological continuity and inevitable instances of repetition." Kahn, Intelligencer 17.1 (Winter-Spring 2009), notes that this is a memoir, not a biography. The book "is not particularly well organized and it lacks an index, but is rich in valuable information."


Denniston, Robin. "Three Kinds of Hero: Publishing the Memoirs of Secret Intelligence People." Intelligence and National Security 7, no. 2 (Apr. 1992): 112-125.

Denniston, Robin. "Yardley on Yap." Intelligence and National Security 9, no. 1 (Jan. 1994): 112-122.

The case for the contribution of the Black Chamber "can be better made round the Yap question arising in the course of the communications conference and settled within days of the opening of the Washington Conference, rather than the naval ratios, which have hitherto attracted the attention of historians."

[Cryptography/Gen; Interwar/U.S.][c]

Denniston, Robin. "Yardley's Diplomatic Secrets." Cryptologia 18, no. 2 (Apr. 1994): 81-127.

This is an important piece of the great puzzle represented by Herbert Yardley, and should be read by anyone interested in American history of the interwar period or in cryptologic matters generally. The author focuses on the Yardley who wrote the unpublished manuscript, "Japanese Diplomatic Secrets," completed in 1933 and discovered by David Kahn in 1968.

Denniston views Yardley as "a clever operator and an original man, whose inherent characteristics made him his own worst enemy.... [H]is absence from cryptanalytical progress in America in the 1930s ... stemmed from the flaws in his own character. By publishing The American Black Chamber, with its false claims and dangerous revelations..., he threw away his longterm credibility."

[Cryptography/Gen; Interwar/U.S.][c]

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