*closing line of John Milton’s “Lycidas”, elegy of 1637.
Image: Bletchley Park is an English country house and estate in Milton Keynes (Buckinghamshire) that became the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. The mansion was constructed during the years following 1883 for the financier and politician Sir Herbert Leon in the Victorian Gothic, Tudor, and Dutch Baroque styles, on the site of older buildings of the same name.
From: Penelope Fitzgerald – a Life (2013) by Hermione Lee:
“Dillwyn (Knox)…was, by the start of the war, fully involved in trying to crack the German Enigma enciphering machine. He had begun work on it in the late 1930s. In 1938, though very ill, he had flown to Warsaw to meet the French and Polish cryptographers who were also working on Enigma…In 1939 the Department of Communications moved to Bletchley Park – ‘Station X’…Dillwyn slept in the office…He drove back to Courn’s Wood at weekends, with his hands mostly off the wheel, reciting Lycidas as he went.
Bletchley was growing all round him, while Dillwyn worked with Peter Twinn, Frank Birch, Alan Turing (Dilly was very fond of ‘the young genius’), and a fleet of cyphering clerks…in 1941 he had a breakthrough which speeded up the solving of the Enigma Variation by about six months…One of the team, Mavis Lever (later Batey, and a friend of Penelope’s), vividly remembered his working methods. She thought he was exactly like Lewis Carroll’s White Knight…”