The following books are recommended reading for anyone interested in finding out more about the 'Y' (Wireless Intercept) Services, or researching their history and association with Signal Intelligence in the 20th Century. Please note that the Section is in its infancy. If you know of more titles that could / should be included, please let me know. No apology is offered for the lack of detailed information on some of the titles; many are very scarce or practically impossible to find. If anyone can provide information that would assist others to track down a prized volume, I would be delighted to reproduce it here.

If these titles interest you, you will almost certainly enjoy visiting the Nautical Brasswebsite too. This provides details of a host of web links that will interest and intrigue. It also has information on other reference material, including video and similar media resources. Those interested in cryptographic history and the associated technologies should visit the site maintained by the DMOZ Directory compilers.

To order a book on-line - try Amazon Books, Waterstones or BOL all of whom provide competitive and user-friendly service.

If these sellers can't satisfy your requirements, then try the Advanced Book Exchange. This site is incredibly adept at sourcing out-of-print and unusual titles for its clients - and it's remarkably easy to use, with no hidden charges.

Aldrich, Richard J
(John Murray Ltd - 2001)
The Hidden Hand - Britain, America and Cold War Intelligence 0719554233 A book offering an insight into previously unpublicised and unavowed secret Cold War intelligence subjects. The author has several other intelligence-related works to his credit.
Axon, B;
Barnard, B;
Bentley, J;
Nicolle D
(Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves Local History Group - 1997)
A Breath of Fresh Air - Woodhouse & Woodhouse Eaves in Pictures - Volume 1 0850224144 A charming pictorial review of the Woodhouses' history by local historians and friends of the villages.
Axon, B;
Barnard, B;
Bentley, J;
Nicolle D
(Woodhouse and Woodhouse Eaves Local History Group - 1999)
Winds of Change - Woodhouse & Woodhouse Eaves in Pictures - Volume 2 0850224268 The second volume of the pictorial review of the Woodhouses. This one covers the wartime role of Beaumanor and Garats Hay.
Ballard, Geoffrey
(Not Known - 1991)
On ULTRA Secret Service (The Story of Australian SIGINT Ops during World War 2) 0867862742 A reviewer describes this work of some 300 pages as quite readable Ballard, who achieved the rank of major during his service, recounts his experiences in the Middle East and the Crete campaign.  He also discusses his part in the work of the Central Bureau (a composite gathering of Americans, Australians, Brits, Kiwis and others operating from 1942 to the War's end. The Central Bureau grew to a total strength of over 4000 in this short time.)

The key virtue of this work is the personal recollections brought to the history by the author.
Bamford, James
(Century - May 2001)
Body of Secrets
(How America's NSA and Britain's GCHQ Eavesdrop on the World) 740pp
0712675981 A major new follow-up to the work that opened up the secret world of SIGINT by the same author in the 1980s (see below). This new book has prompted a flurry of press interest in issues and operations it describes. Readers are invited to form their own opinions about the authority of the information provided.
Bamford, James
(Penguin - 1983)
The Puzzle Palace - Inside the NSA 0-14-006748-5 Amongst the ones that started it all. A revealing and fascinating insight into American Signal Intelligence, including a resume of early activity.
Barber, Laurie
Lord, Cliff
(Titles Bookshop - 1996)
Swift and Sure - A History of the Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals and Army Signalling in New Zealand Not available (quote Book # 1058 to order) A marvellous specialist work produced to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the RNZ Signal Corps on 1 June, 1996. Obtainable only direct from Titles Bookshop, 16 Uxbridge Rd, Howick, Manukau, NZ. e-mail:
Barker, Arthur
(Ballantine NY - 1970)
Pearl Harbor
Paperback - 160 pp
0-345-01804 A work describing the role of MAGIC and SIGINT in the intelligence efforts preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941.
Bennett, Ralph
(William Morrow - 1980)
ULTRA and Mediterranean Strategy   How ULTRA was used - or misused in this Theatre of War
Bleakley, Jack
(Aus Gov't Publishers)
The Eavesdroppers
(Back to Reference)
0 644 22303 0 A record of the work of the RAAF Wireless Intercept operators who copied Japanese traffic from late 1941-War's end
Boyd, Carl / Paret, Peter
(University Press of Kansas - 1993)
Hitler's Japanese Confidant: General Oshima Hiroshi and MAGIC Intelligence, 1941-1945 070060569X A revealing insight into the intelligence gained from intercept and analysis of the diplomatic communications between Japan's ambassador to Berlin and his homeland
Breitman, Richard
(Penguin - 1999?)
Official Secrets 0-14-028034-0 A review of the role ULTRA played in exposing the holocaust to Allied leaders. Did they know? Should they have acted sooner or more decisively on intelligence available?
Bryden, John, Diane Publishing Coy Deadly Allies:  Canada's Secret War, 1937-1947 0788157604 (paperback 1.6.89) More on Canadian Sigint
Bryden, John Toronto: Lester Publishing Coy, 1993 Best-Kept Secrets: Canadian Signal Intelligence in the Second WW   A good book on the development of Canadian Signal Intelligence
Budiansky, Stephen
(Viking - Oct 2000)
Battle of Wits 0670884928 Reportedly offers a global perspective on the battle to beat ENIGMA. Given added authority by access to additional information available through recently de-classified files and papers.
Brown, A.C.
(Harper & Row - 1975)
Bodyguard of Lies   Deals with the use of ULTRA and issues affecting the French Resistance
Calvocoressi, Peter
(Cassell - 1980)
Top Secret ULTRA   A readable account of Bletchley Park matters by someone who served there
Cartwright, Richard L
(New Millennium)
They Did not Fail 1 85845 1744 Another worthwhile read based on one man's experiences. New Millennium publishers have offices at: 292 Kennington Road, London, SE11 4LD, UK.
Clayton, Aileen
Hutchinson (1980) Crecy (1993)
The Enemy is Listening: The Story of the Y Service 0947554 28 9 Reminiscences of an early (German-speaking) recruit to secret service, who worked at Kingsdown and in Cairo and Tunisia. Updated details of the publishers and ISBN number have been provided by Sidney Goldberg
Communications Security Agency (Canada)(1988) German Radio Intelligence - A Lesson in COMSEC   This work is a compilation of writings by former German officers responding to American requests to document the story of radio intelligence prior to and during World War 2.
Drea, Edward J
(University of Kansas - 1992)
MacArthur's ULTRA 0700605762 Role of ULTRA in the Pacific detailing how a two year attack on Japanese codes culminated in more than 20,000 enemy messages a month being available to the Allies
(Elliott, Shukman - St Ermin's Press - 2002) Secret Classrooms - An Untold Story of the Cold War 1-903608-09-0 The story of the Joint Services School for Linguists in Coulsdon,Bodmin and Crail - 1951 to 1960.Shown by the Soviets to be a spy school. The story of those young men to arrived as National Servicemen, did highly classified jobs then went on to a variety of distinguished careers. An excellent read. Published in hardback on 7 November 2002.
Elphick, Peter
(Coronet - 1997)
Far Eastern File - the Intelligence War in the Far East 1930-45 (Back to Reference) 0 340 66584 X Interesting and detailed reflection on little known Far East activities. This is an outstandingly detailed and well-researched account of a campaign of secret war little known for many years. The author fascinatingly recounts the experiences leading up to and during World War 2, drawing many valuable lessons for today's intelligence workers
Enever, Ted
(Sutton - 1995)
Britain's Best Kept Secret: Ultra's Secret Base at Bletchley Park 0-7509-0631-6 Bletchley Park today, with some historical background detail
Farago, Ladislas
(Random House NY - 1967)
The Broken Seal (The Story of 'Operation MAGIC' and the Pearl Harbor Disaster)
(Hardback -  439 pp)
Flicke, Wilhelm
(NSA - 1959)
War Secrets in the Ether
(Kriegsgeheimnisse im Aether)
  An official history of the German Intercept Service from 1934 - 1945. Sole Rights belong to NSA.
Freedman, Maurice
(Pen & Sword Books - 2000)
Unravelling ENIGMA 0850527473 Reported to be an interesting volume and notable for the credit it gives to the contribution of the intercept operators to the battle with ENIGMA.
Gardner W J R
(McMillan - 1999)
Decoding History 0-3336-9303-5 An examination of the role of ULTRA in the Battle of the Atlantic
Garlinski, Jozef
(Sons of Charles Scribner - 1979)
The ENIGMA War   Excellent view from the Polish side of affairs
Harper, Stephen
(Sutton Publishing - 1999)
Capturing ENIGMA 0-7509-2316-4 The story of how German codebooks came to be seized from a damaged U-Boat after an Atlantic engagement; one of the decisive moments in the secret war.
Harris, Robert
(Random House - 1995)
ENIGMA   Fiction - but very faithfully draws on historical detail to give a wonderful picture of wartime Bletchley Park and Beaumanor intercept station
Hinsley, F.H. / Stripp, Alan
(Oxford University - 1993)
Codebreakers 0-19-285304- X Essentially insights from various interviews, but well worth a read
Hodges, Andrew
(Simon & Schuster)
Alan Turing, the Enigma 0 09 177923 5 Biography of Turing, Bletchley Park ace and father of the modern computer
Hodgson, Lynn-Phillip
(Blake Books - 1999)
Camp X 0-88962-714-2 (Soft)
0-88962-721-5 (Hard)
Lavishly illustrated book on the 'secret' camp established in Canada by SOE to train Americans for secret war in Europe and elsewhere. Read how the co-creator of the famous Commando dagger, Fairbairn, trained agents in deadly arts and of Ian Fleming's association with Camp X
Holmes, W J
(US Naval Institute Press - 1979)
Double Edged Secrets 0-87021-162-5 An account of COMINT Operations in WW2 by Station HYPO at Pearl Harbour. Holmes was a former submariner who set up the programme to send ULTRA information to submarine skippers - helping to sink vessels of the Japanese Merchant Marine.
Hughes-Wilson, John
(Robinson -1999)
Military Intelligence Blunders 184 1190675 Review of several examples of intelligence breakthroughs that were poorly exploited, Includes information on code-breaking issues relating to Pearl Harbour and other classic tales.
Jackson, Peter
(not known - 2001)
Hambühren, Lower Saxony: A Military History, 1939-1999 Not Applied for  Peter Jackson served with RAF Signal Units in their Top Secret Registries in the 1950s.  He has undertaken extensive research to produce a detailed history of the site over the period concerned.  His work is enriched with many pages of maps, plans and photographs.  Orders can be placed with Peter directly to his home at: 110 Church Road, Wheatley, Oxford, OX33 1LU (Tel (0044) (0)1865 873246.
Johnson, Brian
(BBC - 1978)
The Secret War 0 563 17425 0 Supports a TV series of the same name, on the activities of the wartime antagonists. Touches on BP, but misses any reference to Y. Excellent photographs.
Jones, Prof R V
(Hodder&Stoughton - 1978)
Most Secret War 0 340 24169 1 A book that is often regarded as a bible of secret wartime work. However, it should be viewed with discretion since its early publication denied the author much material that was available later.
Kahn, David
(Arrow - 1996)
Seizing the ENIGMA 0099784114
Kahn, David
(Scribner Book Coy - 1996)
The Codebreakers; The Comprehensive History of Secret Communications from Ancient Times to the Internet 0684831309 Over a thousand pages of information on codebreaking through the ages. Well reviewed and probably a must for the techies. Concentrates on the 20th Century, but examines the future too
Kippenhahn, Rudolf
(Constable - 1999)
Codebreaking 0-09-479890-7 Translation from the original German of an interesting examination of codes and coding through the ages
Layton, Edwin T
(William Morrow - 1985)
And I Was There 0-688-04883 Covers Naval COMINT events leading up to Pearl Harbour and through the Battle of Midway from the perspective of Admiral Nimitz's Fleet Intelligence Officer.
(Lord, Cliff & Watson, Graham - Helion & Company)
(William Morrow - 1985)
The Royal Corps of Signals - Unit Histories of the Corps (1920-2001) and its Antecedents 1-874622-07-8


This book, which will be published in June 2003, contains overviews of the Signals orbat at specific times in history; detailed precis of specialist signals units including Commando and Para units; history of 35 Commonwealth and related Signals corps; photos of many rare signal badges; unit histories of regular and TA units. This is a limited edition of 1000 copies, individually numbered. For further details see
(Macksey, Kenneth - Ian Allen Publishing Co.) Without Enigma: The Ultra & Fellgiebel Riddles 0-7110-27-66-8

Based upon detailed analysis of official records, the author describes a scenario in which the Germans were fully aware of the British breaking the Enigma codes, and how they would have responded.

(Macksey, Kenneth - Orion Publishing Co.) The Searchers: How Radio Interception changed the course of both World Wars 0304365459

In both world wars, radio was a primary means of communication and searching for enemy radio traffic became top priority. Using radio intercepts enabled the Germans to inflict devastating losses on the Russians in 1914; mis-using radio intercepts saw the Royal Navy fail to catch the German fleet. Radio warfare played a critical role during the Battle of Britain and the battle of the Atlantic: regardless of what a U boat transmitted, the British developed the technology to catch them the moment they began to broadcast. From 1914 to the great campaigns of World War II, radio intercepts shaped the course of history.

Marks, Leo
(Harper Collins - 1998)
Between Silk and Cyanide 0 00 255944 7 An insight into SOE's wartime code work written by their codemaster.  The author's exceptionally powerful use of English and modest and humorous tone convey a topic rich in pathos and purpose to the reader painlessly. This is one of those rare books that translates vast amounts of information to the reader without making any demands on their patience or concentration. A delight to read and highly recommended for its literary merits and the depth and quality of its contents
(McGraw Hill - 1978) ULTRA Goes to War  

Excellent introduction to the secret war of radio intercept and codebreaking

McKay, Dr C.G. / Beckman, B.
(Frank Cass )
Swedish Signal Intelligence 1900 - 1945 0-7146-5211 3 The story of the Swedish Y Services during WW2.
Moore, Len
(Self Published)
Z17 - My War Memories 0 9529779 0 7 Fascinating account of one man's Y service war. A very readable and human account. Bound to interest Y Service veterans and anyone with an historical interest. Contact Len Moore to order at: 116 Heybridge Road, Ingatestone, Essex, CM4 9AJ (Tel (0044) (0)1277 352449
Page, Gwendoline We Kept The Secret 0 900616 65 2 A book of Enigma memories by a former Wren who worked at Bletchley Park  Available direct from author at the Cottage, Pit Lane, Swaffham, Norfolk PE37 7DA or through Bletchley Park site
Page, Gwendoline They Listened In Secret 0 900616 71 7
Those WRNS (Wrens) who worked on radio telegraphist duties, also known as Special Duties, stationed around the UK, in particular at Portland Bill in Dorset, listening to live German radio traffic"
Parrish, Thomas
(Stein and Day - 1986)
The ULTRA Americans   Insight into an unprecedented area of intelligence cooperation
Prados, John
(Random House - 1995)
Combined Fleet Decoded 0-679-43701-0 A thorough treatment of US Naval COMINT as it applied to Pacific Operations during World War 2.
Sebag-Montefiore, Hugh
(Weidenfeld & Nicholson
ENIGMA - The Battle for the Code 0-297-84251-X An excellent history of the battle to beat the Naval ENIGMA  and going right back to the beginning, drawing on material unavailable until 2000.
Skillen, Hugh
Y Compendium: War Diaries and Histories of Special Wireless Units (British, Canadian, Australian and Polish) in WW2 0951519093 (paperback) 0951519026 (hardback) Detailed, giving names of Unit members
Skillen, Hugh; Wilk Wilkinson
Rest of the BSM:Four Years of Wartime Wit and Humour in the Royal Signals/ATS/Intelligence Corps 0951519069 (paperback) 0951519042 (hardback)
Skillen, Hugh
(Author* - 1989)
Spies of the Airwaves 0 9515190 1 Very detailed account of WWII activities
Skillen, Hugh
(Author* - 1992)
Enigma and its Achilles Heel 0 9515190 26
Singh, Simon
(Fourth Estate - 1999)
The Code Book 185 7028791 An expansive work for anyone interested in codes and their history and evolution. However, it has been correctly remarked by some reviewers that it spans a great deal at the expense of factual accuracy here and there. Many who know Bletchley Park's work may be disappointed - or even mildly annoyed at some obvious mistakes, like mistaking the Polish Marian for a female name. Otherwise, the work is right up to date - with discussions of quantum theory and several insightful historical examples.
Singh, Simon
(Fourth Estate - 2000)
The Science of Secrecy 1 84115 435 0 This is a book that accompanies a major television series.  It expands on, 'The Code Book' (see above) and anyone already in possession of that book may not find this a rewarding purchase.  However, if you are new to Simon Singh's work, this book is richer in detail, better illustrated and, if they followed the TV series, it relates directly to its episodes and cases highlighted in it.
Smith, Michael
(Bantam - Sep 2000)
The Emperor's Codes - The Role of Bletchley Park in Breaking Japan's Secret Ciphers 0593046412 A book by the author of Station X, putting forward a case for BP to be given greater credit for codebreaking success against the Japanese. This is a well-researched and very comprehensive review of the Far East intercept campaign. It gives new depth to our understanding of a key theatre, often overlooked by European observers.
Smith, Michael
(Channel 4 Books - 1999)
Station X: Secrets of the Codebreakers 0-7522-2189-2 An excellent publication supporting the very enlightening British TV Series first shown in the Spring of 1999, but providing greater detail and broader coverage than that could achieve in the time available. The author's stated intent lay in, "describing not only how Enigma was broken but also what effect it had on the war and what life was like at BP for the codebreakers".
Sons of Charles Scribner
(Authors? - 1979)
ULTRA in the West   How ULTRA featured in the Western War, with links to individual message decodes
Stafford, David
(Abacus History - 1997)
Churchill and Secret Service 0-349-11279-7 Revealing history of Churchill's Secret Service support. Includes a generous tribute to 'SIGINT - The Intelligence that never Fails'
Stevenson, William
(Harcourt, Brace Jovanovich - 1976)
A Man Called Intrepid   One of the first books to break silence. Said by some to be prone to inaccuracy
Stripp, Alan
(Oxford University - 1995)
Codebreaker in the Far East   The author's personal account of experiences in the Far East and other areas
John Stubbington


Combined Bombing Offensive 1943-1945, with the 8th US Army Air Force


Since the late 1970s, many books and reports have been published that collectively present very detailed information about the Enigma story during WW2– but curiously much less about the operational use that information served?  For example, what was the connection between Bletchley Park and the Combined Bombing Offensive?

These two major subjects both had a significant impact on the conduct and progression of WW2 from 1943 onwards, and it will be shown that there are two other subjects that had great aggregate importance to both of them: The Y-Service and Radio Countermeasures.

The combination of these four subjects in an operational context presents a fascinating story that has had little cohesive visibility.  The operational connection between them has remained obscure.  On the way to describing that operational connection and the benefits thereby provided to the planning and conduct of bombing operations, a number of other organisations become involved in various ways, for example: the Air Ministry Intelligence department; the Combined Strategic Targets Committee; the German Air Defence system; and No. 100 Group within Bomber Command that provided the bomber support Radio Countermeasures (RCM) from late 1943 to the end of the war in Europe. 

The Foreword has been written by Sir Arthur Bonsall, KCMG, a founder member of the Air Section at Bletchley and subsequently Director at GCHQ (1973/78), who writes:

“I welcome this report as the first thorough account of an aspect of Sigint history that has so far received little attention. Aileen Clayton’s book, “The Enemy is Listening”, is an excellent account of a branch of the RAF Y-Service, but Wing Commander Stubbington is, as far as I know, the first writer to understand and describe the role of the Air Section at Bletchley Park.

It is gratifying for me that what I recall from my experience in the German Air Section from 1940 to 1945 is broadly confirmed by his research into the records. The original material (messages in Enigma, lower grade codes and radio telephony) intercepted by the Y-Service radio operators has been destroyed. Fortunately, a quantity of the Air Section’s output based on this material has survived. These are reports in the BMP series, including those incorporating relevant Ultra material. Wing Commander Stubbington has brought these reports to light and has investigated what use was made of them in the 1943-45 Combined Offensive by RAF Bomber Command and the US Army Air Forces.

He shows that Bletchley Park and the Y-Service gave a great deal of support to these operations. His description of the nature of that support in both strategic and tactical contexts provides a fascinating insight into the relationship of special intelligence and radio countermeasures. Regarded nowadays as an essential prerequisite for military operations, they were then at the leading edge of operational technologies.”

For further information, please contact:

John Stubbington     [Tel:  01420-562722; ]

Trinity Hill Bungalow, Trinity Hill, Medstead, Alton, Hants, GU34 5LT

(Turner Publishing - Paducah, Kentucky) US Naval Cryptologic Veteran's History Book 1-56311-250-7 History of the US Navy's COMINT Organisation through WW2 and significant activities, plus short biographies of selected Naval personalities.
van der Vat, Dan
(Simon & Schuster - 1991)
The Pacific Campaign 0-671-73899-2 COMINT and Pacific Naval Operations during World War 2.
Welchman, Gordon
(McGraw Hill - 1982)
(P'back B Baldwin - 1997)
The Hut Six Story - Breaking the ENIGMA Codes P'back - 0 947712 34 8 Personal account of life and work in Hut 6 at BP. Especially good on Luftwaffe codes and how they were broken. BP details give an excellent insight
West, Nigel
(Weidenfeld and Nicholson - 1986)
GCHQ - The Secret Wireless War 1900-86  
Winterbottom, F W
(Harper and Row - 1974)
The ULTRA Secret   First book to be published on ULTRA. Well worth a read for history's sake, if you can find a copy
Winton, John
(Leo Cooper - 1993)
ULTRA in the Pacific 0-85052-277-3 How breaking Japanese codes and ciphers affected Naval operations against that nation's fleet during World War 2.