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Old 3rd October 2009, 13:30
Larry deZeng Larry deZeng is offline
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Re: Using Ultra to research the Luftwaffe

J.O. wrote in part:
Any idea why the card index would have been destroyed? Surely not for security reasons.
Back in the 1980's I corresponded with the then director of the Air Ministry's Air Historical Branch (AHB) as well as with Professor Ralph Bennett, a retired wartime Bletchley Park veteran and Cambridge University professor and author who penned several books about the use of ULTRA in Normandy and in the Mediterranean. They both independently told me the same story, three years apart: the Air Index of some 300,000 large, multi-sided index cards was never copied or microfilmed and immediately after the war it was removed to a protected underground facility on the campus of Oxford University until 1948, at which time it was destroyed. Neither gentleman chose to elaborate beyond this simple explanation.

Was this an alibi they were given by the security people and ordered to repeat if asked sensitive questions? Perhaps, but the ULTRA secret had already been in the public domain for 14 or 15 years when I wrote to them, so probably would not have felt it necessary to conceal the truth any longer. But you can make the call.

What a shame, huh? What a marvelous historical resource the Air Index would have been because it would have allowed the researcher to go directly and immediately to a card or two covered his/her topic of interest and review each and every ULTRA intercept that applied to that topic, whether it be an aircraft, unit, place, person or what have you.

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