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Tuesday 3 September 2019

Captain Oswald Tuck and the Bedford Japanese School, 1942-1945 - Members Discount

Captain Oswald Tuck and the Bedford Japanese School, 1942-1945 - Members Discount


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Capitan Oswald Tuck and the Bedford Japanese School 1942-1945
Peter Kornicki
Pollino Publishing, London (2019)

After the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Malaya, Britain found itself embarrassingly short of Japanese linguists, and Bletchley Park in particular was desperately in need of a pool of linguists who could handle Japanese codes.

Who on earth could help and how could sufficient linguists be trained in a hurry? There was only one man for the job, Captain Oswald Tuck RN (1876-1950), who had lived in Japan, had taught Japanese for the Navy and had high security clearance. With only a month’s notice, he came out of retirement to devise and run eleven successive courses in Bedford that provided a supply of outstanding young men and women to fulfil crucial roles at Bletchley Park and at its outposts in India and Mauritius.

Neither Tuck nor any of his pupils were ever rewarded or recognised for their indispensable work, and indeed they were constrained by the Official Secrets Act from saying anything about it until 1978.

This book contains a biography of Tuck, the full text of Tuck’s report on the courses and a memoir by one of this last surviving students, Dr Michael Loewe, Carmen Blacker’s husband. It also contains biographies of all of Tuck’s students. Some returned to the Classics, such as Sir Hugh Lloyd Jones, who became Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford, while others spent the rest of their lives in the study of China or Japan.

Amongst them were Geoffrey Bownas, the first professor of Japanese at Sheffield, and Eric Ceadel, who in 1947 became the first lecturer in Japanese at Cambridge. Their stories have never been told before: many never told their families about their wartime work and now only a handful are still alive. This book brings their achievements into the open for the first time.