Francis Birch (cryptographer)

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Francis Lyall Birch
Born (1889-12-05)5 December 1889
London, England
Died 14 February 1956(1956-02-14) (aged 66)
London, England
Other names Frank Birch
Occupation Cryptographer and actor
Spouse(s) Vera Benedicta Gage Birch

Francis Lyall (Frank) Birch CMG, OBE (5 December 1889 – 14 February 1956) was a British cryptographer and actor.[1] He was educated at Eton College and King's College, Cambridge.

During World War I, he served as a lieutenant commander with the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve, and served in the Atlantic, the Channel and the Dardanelles before joining the Naval Intelligence Division (Room 40) from 1916 to 1919. Birch wrote a satirical history of Room 40, Alice in ID25. Birch was awarded an OBE in 1919.

He was a fellow of King's College, Cambridge, between 1915 and 1934 and a lecturer in history at Cambridge from 1921 until 1928.

Birch left Cambridge to pursue an acting career in the 1930s.

He joined the Naval section at Bletchley Park in September 1939, and later became Head of the (German) Naval Section. He had to face the shortage of Bombes to decipher the Naval Enigma, which led to the use of American Bombes via OP-20-G. Birch was awarded a CMG in 1945.

Selected filmography


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