Cracking one of the most complicated cipher devices ever created -- the Enigma machine -- may not have been what Britain's Mavis Batey envisioned when she studied the German romantic poets at University College London when World War II broke out.
But when she dropped out of school to help with the war effort by becoming a nurse, her German-language skills caught the attention of her superiors, and soon she was asked to train for a more covert kind of duty.
"So I thought, great," Batey recalled to The Daily Telegraph in an interview before her death this week at age 92. "This is going to be an interesting job, Mata Hari, seducing Prussian officers. But I don't think either my legs or my German were good enough because they sent me to the Government Code & Cipher School." … Read more