The owner of one of wartime Britain’s brightest minds was born one hundred years ago today

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Leo Marks, pictured in his book, Between Silk and Cyanide

Leo Marks was born on 24 September 1920, which means that today would have been his hundredth birthday. In all the (appropriate) celebration of Alan Turing, it sometimes feels as though we forget that Turing was not a sole genius (genius though he was) who cracked the German wartime codes alone. There were others, both at Bletchley Park and beyond, who did extraordinary and ground-breaking work on codes, some of which, like Turing’s work, paved the way for the modern information age. Leo Marks was unquestionably one of those people.

I’ve been fascinated by Marks ever since I read about him in the excellent London Compendium by Ed Glinert (Penguin, 2004). In that book, a collection of snippets of different parts of central London, Glinert describes how Marks turned up one day in 1942 at an interview session for prospective code breakers. …


Anthony Dhanendran

I used to be a journalist. Now I’m a product manager.

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