Hugh Foss

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Hugh Rose Foss (13 May 1902 – 23 December 1971) was a British cryptographer.


Foss was born in Kobe, Japan, where his father the Rt Revd Hugh Foss was a missionary bishop, and he learned Japanese.

He was educated at Marlborough College and Christ's College, Cambridge.

In December 1924 he joined the Government Code and Cipher School. He recalled seeing two models of the Enigma machine in 1926: the large non-reciprocal typing , and the small index . In 1927 Edward Travis gave him a small (reciprocal) machine to examine, and he wrote a paper, "The Reciprocal Enigma", on solving the non-plugboard Enigma. The small Enigma was developed by the German services; the standard World War II British Typex machine was also developed from it. In September 1934 Foss and Oliver Strachey broke the Japanese naval attaché cipher.

At Bletchley Park in World War II, Foss headed the Japanese Naval Section (Hut 7) from 1942 to 1943. In December 1944 he went to Washington and worked with U.S. Navy cryptographers on Japanese ciphers. A sandal-wearer, he was known as "Lend-lease Jesus". Gordon Welchman was told that Foss was highly esteemed by the Americans, and says that "before the war he was one of the most brilliant of the professional cryptographers of the Government Code and Cypher School".

Foss' paper "Reminiscences on Enigma", written in 1949, is included as chapter 3 in Action this Day.

Foss devised many Scottish country dances, including Fugal...... ...
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