Files AIR 40/2687 and /2697


As far as I know, these were available long before the HW5 series was — I first checked one out in 1997. AIR 40/2686, “German Air Force: daily summaries of teleprints and special reports for the period 11 July 1944–6th May 1945”, sits halfway between the material in DEFE 3 and HW 5 in terms of content and detail. AIR 40/2697, “Daily summaries of special intelligence: 5th March–9th May 1945” has similar messages for the two months in question but also includes naval and army ones.

Each summarises material from messages in HW 5, referring to them by their CX/MSS reference numbers. The summaries are in chronological order and plain language (most of the peculiar Ultra jargon is absent). The drawback is that they don't include everything, only items that seemed significant at the time, whereas what interests researchers may well have appeared trivial in 1944–45.

The HW 1 file series

This is a series of slim flies, each containing just a handful of messages. They don’t contain deciphered material that you can’t get from HW5, in fact the messages appear to be exactly the same.

But …

Each file contains the messages the head of the Secret Intelligence Service (Lt. Col. Stewart Menzies) thought should be brought to Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s attention. There is a brief covering memo that is initialled “C” in green ink (“C” is the hereditary alias of SIS chiefs and the green ink a tradition begun by the first of them) and countersigned “WSC.”

It seems that Churchill might have had trouble with the 24-hour clock because some messages I have seen were annotated with the a.m and p.m. equivalents).

Unlike the other files series, the index to HW1 is a very good guide to what’s contained in the individual pieces, simply because so few topics are covered each time. I first looked at a couple in 1999, I think via a catalogue search for “Nijmegen.”

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