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Discussion Starter #1
Thread title is not intended to confuse, couldn’t think of anything else.

On Valvata Shell, July (ish) 72.
GZWF msg to participate in an ‘exercise’.

Does anyone remember.?

Rcvd msg from Goverment source, it was in code. The code books and platten, an aluminium plate with a small T square, if memory serves me well, were kept in OM,s safe.

Third mate deciphered code, the text was for us to identify our position at time of receipt.

3rd mate went with gusto. We were in Bonny, starboard side to at berth, whatever.

On leaving port the reply was sent.

Not too long after we got a reply thanking us, but Lat and Long would have been sufficient.

It was said, that in the event of convoys, tankers would be the Commodore’s vessel ??
 

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"The code books and platten, an aluminium plate with a small T square, if memory serves me well, were kept in OM,s safe."

Shades of the MN Defence Course.

:)
 

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I remember learning that system at Brunel Tech college in 1978 or so. A chap from GCHQ came in to teach us. It took a day and was quite fascinating. At the end there was a contest to see who in the class could decipher a test message the fastest (I came last). Sailed foreign flag after that so never saw one at sea.
 

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A certain Commander Hart RN (rtd)........ex Naval Intelligence...... delivered the course at FNC......driven to the college in his Rolls Royce by his assistant......a retired Chief "Bunting T""""r.

Commander Hart was a character of note...... :)

T'was always a memorable occasion.
 

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Trinity House lighthouses had a "Secret Letter" which was not to be opened on pain of transportation of somat unless war was declared. It was checked for possible interference each time there was an inspection. It seemed to carry as much weight as the bottle of rum that never got opened either.

I asked a senior keeper who had been around in WW2 and he said: "It just says 'Turn the light out'." But you didn't hear that from me.

John T
 

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It presumably offered the keepers some official comfort that they would not be held liable for the consequences of the light being deliberately unlit (WRT friendly ships anyway).
 

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I'm sure that I was required to sign the Official Secrets Act before doing the MN Defence course - so you'se lot had better watch out for the Big Black SUV appearing at your door(EEK)
 

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I'm sure that I was required to sign the Official Secrets Act before doing the MN Defence course - so you'se lot had better watch out for the Big Black SUV appearing at your door(EEK)
True, but the only thing mentioned here was the aluminium tablet/gadget. I am academically aware that that was/is not secret, perhaps not even 'restricted'.
 

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We were told at HMS Collingwood that immediately any new crypto equipment was available then it was automatically assumed that the enemy possessed one. The security was in how the coding material was looked after.
 

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In 1883 Auguste Kerckhoffs ( a Netherlands born cryptographer, 19 January 1835 – 9 August 1903) wrote two journal articles on La Cryptographie Militaire, in the first of which he stated six design principles for military ciphers.
Translated from French, they are:

The system must be practically, if not mathematically, indecipherable;
It should not require secrecy, and it should not be a problem if it falls into enemy hands;
It must be possible to communicate and remember the key without using written notes, and correspondents must be able to change or modify it at will;
It must be applicable to telegraph communications;
It must be portable, and should not require several persons to handle or operate;
Lastly, given the cir***stances in which it is to be used, the system must be easy to use and should not be stressful to use or require its users to know and comply with a long list of rules.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
If my memory serves me correctly,
There were two sets of code books, one for exercises and one for real, in a sealed and weighted bag, to be dumped in the event of a takeover.
Also, not sure if true, there was a revolver in the safe so that the OM could defend the codes. Serious stuff.
 

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CP Ships London office were contacted by the Admiralty in the 70’s and asked if they could use some of their ships in an exercise. CP’s reply was they had no clue where any of them were. As a result we then had to send the “we are here” message Wednesday’s and Sunday’s.
 

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Navy Exercise

Was on The Manchester Challenge around 1985-86 when had a visit from someone in a uniform telling me the ship had volunteered to try out a decoding machine on the next trip to Montreal. I would receive a message from GKA, decode it, code the reply and send back to GKA.
(The machine was no bigger than a cigarette packet). Someone would come aboard and collect it in Montreal.
Everything went according to plan and persons arrived to collect the cigarette pack. They then asked me for the copies of the messages received and sent, I told them they had been thrown overboard with with the rest of the rubbish. They looked at each other and told me I should have kept them and handed them over.(No one told me).
It was decided that they had been securely disposed of and nothing further was said. Just hope there was'nt a trawler or sub following us gathering our intel on OBS to GKA.
 

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#15 . Well done Peter for doing your bit in the cold war.

Unlike us, arriving in Sydney from Commie China ... the Old Man interrupted the "safe arrival party" to introduce a bloke in a suit: "This is Lt Cmdr So-and-so, he's a spy!" I think the OM had had a few. He passed the "spy" off on to the 2nd Mate, an eccentric character who flew out with galvanized buckets in his luggage. I think "non-plussed" would be a an apt description of the navy bloke.

John T
 
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