The last recorded Nazi messages were intercepted and decoded by Britain in World War II have been revealed to mark the 75th Anniversary of the Allies’ victory in Europe (VE) Day.
The Nazi military radio network sent out its final message as the Allied troops drew nearer before the war’s end: “Closing down forever — all the best.”
The Allies declared victory against surrendered Germans, VE Day was declared the next day.
The last Nazi transmissions decoded by Britain’s Special Intelligence Service (SIS) were released as a tribute to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe day, referred to as VE Day.
During the Second World War, the British Officers worked day and night intercepting, gathering, and decoding messages exchanged by the Nazis — the codebreakers unit under the British Secret Service, known the MI6 was headquartered at Bletchley Park.
To mark #VEDay75 our Historian Tony Comer tells an untold tale from our archives.— GCHQ (@GCHQ) May 8, 2020
For the first time he reveals the final messages intercepted by GCHQ from a German communications network in the days leading up to #VEDay ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/K7hLcN9c1J
One of the biggest victories for the codebreaker at Bletchley was to crack the infamous Nazi Enigma Code, a feat that prevented countless more deaths during the war.
In 1944, the German military radio network, codenamed BROWN, had connections extended across Europe, sending out the reports on the development of experimental weapons.
The last messages sent out by the Nazi network were broadcasted on 7th May 1945 by a military radio network. Lieutenant “Kunkel” sent his colleagues a final farewell message at 7:35 a.m. before closing their communication network “forever.”
Lieutenant Kunkel sent the farewell message as he signed off from his station in Cuxhaven on Germany’s North Sea Coast.
“British troops entered Cuxhaven at 14:00 on 6 May — from now on all radio traffic will cease — wishing you all the best. Lt Kunkel,” the message read. The message was immediately followed by another message “Closing down forever — all the best — goodbye.”
Closing down forever — all the best — was among the last wartime correspondences exchanged between the Nazi military posts at the end of World War II, many of the messages were successfully intercepted by British Intelligence.
A few days before the last message another Nazi message was intercepted which relayed on exchange a German soldier based on the Danish Coast asked his radio control whether they had any spare cigarettes.
Which was followed by the reply “No cigarettes here”
Bletchley Park remained operative long after the end of the war to monitor for any possible resurgence and decode Japanese military ciphers. By the spring of 1945, almost 9,000 people were working at Bletchley Park, the majority of them were women.
“These transcripts give us a small insight into the real people behind the machinery of war,” said Tony Comer, a historian at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), the intelligence organization that succeeded Bletchley Park.
Bletchley Park, once the top-secret home of World War Two Codebreakers now serves a public museum housing a wealth of historic artifacts from the war.
It’s all over, they’ve surrendered.
Among the many officers who had a role in World War II victory, Helen Andrews, who began working with the British Intelligence at the age of 17. Helen is now a Chelsea pensioner aged 94, said she remembered the joyful festive atmosphere on the VE day — as if it were yesterday.
“A bloke came into the room where we were working and said: ‘It’s all over. They’ve surrendered.'” Helen said.
Along with other co-workers, Mrs. Andrews hitched a ride to London where they ended up at Trafalgar Square, where people on the street were joyous as they sang, drank and jumped in the fountains.
Even after eight decades, Helen Andrews remembered how she felt that fateful day, describing her emotions as “a release from anxiety coupled with exhaustion.” The moment was celebrated by a tea party followed by music and dance.
Bletchley Park’s war-time work breaking enemy codes – most famously those made by the Enigma machine – was kept entirely secret, not just during the war, but for many years after.
The last of the Nazi codes intercepted by British intelligence are currently being digitized and will soon be made available for the public.