White Lodge Dilemma by Raymond Speer
says: would Winston Churchill have risked revealing that the Enigma
Codes were cracked to save the Royal Family? muses Raymond Speer. Please
note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the
views of the author(s).
On June 20th, 1940:
on this day a coded message issued by the Luftwaffe from
Normandy was intercepted by the Government Code and Cipher School at
Bletchey, England, That particular message reused a code combination broken
by the British in the period from March 1 to April 30.
White Lodge DilemmaIn is underground bunker in the City of London, Churchill
was told of the communication. "Confirmed target 23 JUNE at 13 30 to 14 00,
map coords 1422 54 White Lodge. Monarch and brothers present".
It took a moment for the Prime Minister to ascertain that
the Royal Family had planned a Sunday luncheon at the White Lodge. When
Churchill conveyed the news to his service chiefs, he was sunk to gloom.
"Is this the apogee of good fortune, or a dilemnia fashioned by the Devil at
one of Infernal Majesty's factories in Berlin?" Churchill asked his wise
In the episode "Shadow of Z'ha'dum" of the Babylon 5
television series, Captain Sheridan repeats the Churchill/Coventry myth in a
discussion of "how much is a secret worth".The intercepted message
showed that the Royal Family's schedule was read at least this once by the
enemy, and it showed that the brutality brought to the air by Goering and
Hitler was planned to rain down in ruin on the luncheoners.
Eden said that "we can hardly let His Majesty and his kin be unwitting
targets this Sunday".
"Conceded," agreed Churchill. "When the bombers leave White Lodge a rubble
strewn basement, won't our enemy question why none of our Royals were in
attendence for their loathesome preset trap? Is not this whole experience
going to reveal to them our ULTRA operation?"
"Are we now secure in our ULTRA ability?" asked the chief of MI5, codenamed
"M" in all correspondence. "The Germans have had the free run in Paris of
endless files of security related matters. It is easy to imagine that
several such files are on the ENIGMA code machines and show that British
Intelligence was expecing imminent breakthroughs in those codes".
A scientist at Bletchey participated in the discussion. "It is interesting
that this is a revival of an old code booklet which has no reason to be
re-used. Why frame that particular message in a German code that the enemy
ought to suspect may be compromised".
"Nastie arrogance," growled Churchill.
"I hope so," said the scientist. "Or it is a deliberate trap to see if we
are catching and translating their ENIGMA messages. If we spare His and Her
Majesty from that prearranged bombing, we tell Hitler that we are picking up
Air Marshal Dowding stated that a couple of extra command wings of fighters
would greatly toughen the job of the Germans in bombing White Lodge. "We'll
play a trick on those devils," said the military man.
"And very covertly we must find the traitor who lets Goering know enough to
test us," Churchill said. "Maybe the best outcome we can have here is a
deceptive announcement that the King risked injury this Sunday but
fotunately escaped tragedy".
"How sad this all is," said Churchill. "We opt for the proper tactic to
defend ourselves but we risk revealing to the enemy our best source of
information on his plans and intents".
says this story was originally posted on
Today in Alternate History. Please note that Gossip and not truth holds
that Churchill was forewarned of the impending doom of Coventry through
ULTRA intercepts but deliberately failed to give civilians adequate warning
of the oncoming attack. In reality, no such revelation ever came to
Churchill, either through ULTRA or in any other way. As John Keegan writes
in his SECOND WORLD WAR, the ULTRA information was sparse and slow to be
translated while the Battle of Britain was raging. Not until the Crete
campaign was the ULTRA system good enough to provide daily reports on German
set-up and plans.
|Other Contemporary Stories
Raymond Speer, Guest Historian of
Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In
History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on
Facebook, Myspace and
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit
differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items
explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist
superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy
Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting