The Journal campaign to honour Newmarket-born wartime code-breaker Bill Tutte could see a permanent memorial in place by the end of the year.
The Bill Tutte Memorial working group was set up last year after Journal news editor, Alison Hayes, got the backing of the town council for the newspaper’s campaign for public recognition for Tutte’s code-breaking efforts – which were described by Winston Churchill as the “greatest intellectual feat of the Second World War” and were said to have shortened the conflict by at least two years, saving millions of lives.
The working group set out to establish a memorial to the man whose genius enabled him to break the Lorenz cipher which was being used by the Nazi high command to send coded messages to its commanders in the field.
Bill Tutte was based at Bletchley Park, Britain’s Fortress of Secrets, where his contemporaries included Alan Turing, the man who broke the Enigma code. His work eventually lead him to working on the world’s first electronic computer, Collossus.
However unlike Turing who received an OBE, Tutte’s contribution to the war effort was to remain shrouded in secrecy until two years before his death in 2002.
Working group members backed by Suffolk County Council, Newmarket Town Council and Forest Heath District Council chose sculptor Harry Gray’s design for The Codebreaker memorial which will be sited in a landscaped area outside the Rutland Arms Hotel.
It will consist of five stainless steel pillars punched with holes to replicate the punched paper tape used by Tutte in his code breaking. Viewed from a particular angle they will form an image of his face.
The project will cost around £150,000 of which well over £100,000 has already been pledged. Working group secretary Richard Fletcher said it was hoped additional money raised could be used towards establishing a local scholarship in Bill Tutte’s name to help youngsters with A-level study or university costs.
A consultation exercise will be held on Rutland Hill on Friday May 24, when views will be sought on the loss of parking outside the hotel.
“We have already received tremendous local support for our project and we are confident that we can raise the remaining funds needed for what we believe will be a fitting tribute to a remarkable man, in the town that he loved, and a piece of art and re-generated public open space of which Newmarket can be proud,” said Ms Hayes.