Britain stored 50 devices used to beat Germany’s Enigma cipher machines in case the technology fell into the wrong hands after the war and messages had to be cracked again, it has been disclosed for the first time. The devices developed by Alan Turing at Bletchley Park to beat Enigma were believed destroyed at the end of the war when their job was completed.

But documents recently rediscovered inside GCHQ now show 50 were kept by the government’s eavesdropping spy agency. The equipment was only finally disposed of in 1959 when it was decided that Turing’s ‘Bombe’ machines had been superseded by electronic computers.

The documents released to the Telegraph also show that even 14 years after the war, officials claimed Germany should not find out Enigma had been cracked as it would give them “an excuse” for their military defeat. Tony Comer, departmental historian at GCHQ, said the deliberations…

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