Australian code breakers


A thrilling, fast-paced and thoroughly modern telling of one of Australia’s greatest unknown military triumphs, written by our number-one true crime writer.

On 11 August 1914, just days after war had been declared, Australian Captain J.T. Richardson boarded a German merchant vessel fleeing Melbourne’s Port Phillip and audaciously seized a top-secret naval codebook. The fledgling Royal Australian Navy had an opportunity to immediately change the course of the war. But what exactly had they found? Enter the Australian code breakers …

Recruited by savvy top brass, maths whizz and German speaker Frederick Wheatley worked night and day to fathom the basic principles of the code and start tracking the German Navy’s powerful East Asia Squadron, led by the brilliant Maximilian von Spee. Soon Melbourne was a hub of international Allied intelligence.

This is the true and remarkable tale of how a former Australian headmaster and his team cracked one of Germany’s most complex codes, paving the way for the most vital Allied naval victory of World War I.

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    James Phelps
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