On Anzac Day, 25 April, Dr Peter Donovan spoke to a gathering at the reunion of the Central Bureau Intelligence Corps Association. Central Bureau was the radio intelligence unit for the South West Pacific Area command. It was formed in Melbourne in April 1942, but relocated to Ascot, Qld, later that year. Most of it was transferred to the Philippines in 1945 to assist in the proposed invasion of Japan.
The Defence Signals Directorate is to erect a suitable plaque at the house in Henry Street, Ascot, that formed its base until the nearby Ascot Park was requisitioned in 1943. By 1945, Central Bureau had a staff of around 4,500, with about half of these being Americans. It communicated with units in India, England, Hawaii and Virginia.
Peter Donovan is pictured with Mrs Jennifer Lingren, nee Nave, at right. Her uncle, Eric Nave, was active in processing intercepted Japanese naval signals from the late 1920s and was a key member of Central Bureau from 1943 to 1945.
Dr Donovan is a prominent expert on cryptologic history, whose research on the topic spans 14 years. WWII is recognised as a time of modernisation and advancement of mathematical cryptology.
Dr Donovan's book, Code Breaking in the Pacific, which was co-authored with A/Prof John Mack, was recently very favourably reviewed by ACM Computing Reviews. The reviewer describes the book as "an important contribution to both the history of the war and the history of cryptanalysis development".
Read the full review.