Press Releases 2014-2015

Former UWTSD Lampeter lecturer’s role in The REAL Imitation Game

27.11.2014

As cinema lovers head out to see the recently released thriller The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch as enigma code-breaker Alan Turing, UWTSD celebrates the role played by former Lampeter lecturer, Frank Newte, in the real event.

Enigma

The historical thriller is based on the life of mathematician; logician and pioneering computer scientist Alan Turing, a key figure in cracking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code that helped the Allies win World War II.

Frank Newte, worked alongside Turing at Bletchley Park as one of the team of code-breakers, made up of scholars, mathematicians, linguists, chess champions and intelligence officers, who raced against time to break the code.  

Newte was a Classics scholar at the then St David’s College Lampeter between 1938-1977. The details of Newte’s academic career, war service and time at Lampeter have been pieced together by Professor William Gibson of Oxford Brookes University who graduated from Lampeter in 1980.

Professor Gibson said “Newte’s role in the breaking of the Enigma code has not been acknowledged and it was only made public in 2011 when Asa Briggs, another wartime code-breaker, revealed it in his memoirs, Secret Days: Code-Breaking in Bletchley Park published by Frontline Books, 2011”.

Frank Newte graduated from Oxford in 1937, having won the Chancellor’s Prize for Latin Verse. He came to Lampeter a year later as lecturer in Classics. On the outbreak of War in 1939 he was recruited into the Intelligence Corps, where he worked on German military radio broadcasts. In 1943 his unit was merged with the secret code-breaking operation at Bletchley Park. Newte worked on radio intercepts, which formed the basis of the deciphering of the Enigma codes. His work was vital to the war effort; the code-breakers’s efforts are thought to have shortened the war by two years.

In 1946 Newte was demobbed and returned to Lampeter. He gave the cover story that he had served in the Royal Artillery. For the next thirty years he kept secret his vital role in the war. He died in May 1977, before the truth about the work Bletchley Park was made public. His commitment to keeping secret his wartime role meant that Lampeter never had the opportunity to acknowledge his work. Newte was buried in St Peter’s Church, Lampeter”.

A plaque to commemorate his contribution to the work at Bletchley Park and St David’s College Lampeter was unveiled in 2012 by the Lampeter Society, the campus’ alumni society.

Note to Editor

  1. The University of Wales Trinity Saint David was established in 2010 from the merger of the University of Wales Lampeter and Trinity University College under the 1828 Royal Charter, making it the oldest higher education institution in Wales.  On 1 October Swansea Metropolitan University became a part of the University
  2. The Lampeter Society is the alumni association which exists to support the activities of the university campus at Lampeter. Membership is open to all past and present students and staff members of the university whose activities are or were mainly based at the Lampeter campus.
  3. Once Britain’s Best Kept Secret, today Bletchley Park is a heritage site and vibrant tourist attraction. Open daily, visitors can explore some of the iconic WW2 Code breaking Huts and Blocks and marvel at the astonishing achievements of the Code breakers whose work is said to have helped shorten the war by two years. Public interest in Bletchley Park has grown enormously over the past few years and the number of visitors to Bletchley Park in 2012 was 170,000. www.bletchleypark.org.uk/

 

 

Further Information

Eleri Beynon 07968249335 e.beynon@tsd.uwtsd.ac.uk