A Fitting Tribute to Tommy Flowers

About time

Whilst most people have probably heard of Alan Turing and the work of Bletchley Park in breaking the German codes during WWII it is equally probable that many fewer have heard of Tommy Flowers.

Whilst it was true that Alan Turing provided the theoretical brilliance and was subsequently shabbily treated by the nation, Tommy Flowers was the man that turned theoretical concepts into physical reality, creating the worlds first electronic computer, Colossus.

Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, had a single purpose: to help decipher the Lorenz-encrypted (Tunny) messages between Hitler and his generals during World War II.


Tommy Flowers spent eleven months designing and building Colossus at the Post Office Research Station, Dollis Hill, in North West London. After a functional test, Colossus Mk 1 was delivered to Bletchley Park in late December 1943 / January 1944, was assembled there by Harry Fensom and Don Horwood , and was working in early February 1944.

Seventy years after the invention of the first programmable computer, BT has unveiled a tribute to computing pioneer Tommy Flowers.

Tommy Flowers


Read more

Tommy Flowers at Wikipedia

Computing History

The National Museum of Computing

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December 22, 2013 12:54 am

Flowers was a genius, in a gloriously different way from the rest of the Bletchley Park gang. A self taught, working class tinkerer and inventor, not an academic, an engineer, not a mathematician. Max Newman gave him a copy of Turing’s On Computable Numbers as briefing, but not being a logician he didn’t understand a word. But the combination of Bill Tutte’s statistical method and Flowers’ hardware hacking was a much more operationally relevant and stable solution to FISH than “Turingery” ever was – an industrial process rather than a craft.

December 22, 2013 3:01 am


Well, and aptly, said.

dave haine
dave haine
December 22, 2013 10:22 am

They also serve…..

…..And should be remembered, with gratitude.