Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009

Award for replica Enigma machine

The Bombe machines are credited with cutting the war short by two years

A replica of the machines which helped Allied forces crack the Nazi Enigma codes in World War II is set to receive an engineering award.

The replica of the Turing Bombe machines, which are credited with saving thousands of lives, is housed at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes.

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is honouring those who made it with an Engineering Heritage Award.

All 210 original machines were destroyed after the war.

Blueprints discovered

They were built by specialists at the British Tabulator Machine Company at Letchworth.

The replica Bombe was built after blueprints were found at Bletchley Park in the 1970s.

It was built with the help of funding from a host of groups, including the British Computer Society.

Bombes were manufactured at the rate of one a week and their 99.9% accuracy was vital in the decoding process which sometimes meant up to 5,000 messages a day could be broken.

Bletchley Park
Bletchley Park was the base where German messages were intercepted

The devices were deployed across a handful of secret army bases in Britain where mostly young women would work on cracking and deciphering messages sent over the air by the Germans.

Simon Greenish, from the Bletchley Park Trust, said: "The Bombe is just one of a number of incredible historic pieces we are proud to hold.

"By raising awareness of projects like the Bombe, we are highlighting how important the Park is and remembering just how indebted we are to the brilliant minds of the men and women who worked here."

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