United Kingdom reveals last decoded Nazi message to mark VE Day

To mark Friday's 75th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe, the British government revealed the final Nazi message intercepted and decoded by U.K. codebreakers as Allied forces were advancing through Germany.

"To mark our Historian Tony Comer tells an untold tale from our archives. For the first time he reveals the final messages intercepted by GCHQ from a German communications network in the days leading up to ," tweeted Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

At 7:35 a.m. on May 7, 1945, a Nazi soldier identified as "Lt. Kunkel" sent a final message to colleagues from the town of Cuxhaven on Germany's North Sea coast.

"British troops entered Cuxhaven at 14:00 on 6 May -- from now on all radio traffic will cease -- wishing you all the best. Lt Kunkel," the message read. "Closing down forever -- all the best -- goodbye."

In another message, intercepted three days earlier on May 4, a soldier in Denmark asks if anyone has any spare cigarettes before wishing everyone luck.

"No cigarettes here," replies control.

The messages were intercepted at Bletchley Park, Britain's code-breaking base northwest of London. Experts there helped break the famous German Enigma Code, which the Nazis used to transmit messages. Bletchley Park is now a museum dedicated to the code-breakers' wartime work.

Image caption The messages give us insight into "the real people behind the machinery of war", says GCHQ's historian

Image caption The messages give us insight into "the real people behind the machinery of war", says GCHQ's historian (Bletchley Park Estate)

Nearly 9,000 people worked at Bletchley Park in 1945, most of them women. Allied efforts to break the enigma code included the work of computer science pioneer Alan Turing. Turing and codebreakers at Bletchley Park developed the Bombe machine to decipher German messages sent through the enigma machine.

The Nazis communicated through a German military radio network, code-named BROWN, which was used to sent reports about experimental weapons across Europe.

The German enigma machine.

The German enigma machine. (Nate D. Sanders Auctions)

"These transcripts give us a small insight into the real people behind the machinery of war," said GCHQ historian Tony Comer.


Friday celebrations of V-E Day were hampered by the ongoing lockdown measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump participated in a wreath-laying ceremony with a handful of veterans at a largely empty World War II memorial in Washington.

Fox News' James Rogers contributed to this report.