Britain has lost one of its last World War II code breakers, credited with shortening the war by at least two years and saving millions of lives. Raymond "Jerry" Roberts—who died at 93 after a short illness—served as a German linguist and cryptographer at Britain's premier decryption establishment, Bletchley Park, in 1941 when he and three others were tasked with cracking Germany's "Tunny" code system. What the team eventually uncovered Roberts dubbed "gold dust": messages describing the movement of entire armies, including some signed by Adolf Hitler himself, the BBC reports.
"We were breaking 90% of the German traffic through '41 to '45," Roberts once said. "We worked for three years on Tunny material and were breaking—at a conservative estimate —just under 64,000 top-line messages." After the war, Roberts spent two years at the War Crimes Investigation Unit, then 50 years in marketing and research. In his later years, he became a tireless advocate for those who had served the war effort in secret and for his code-breaking colleagues. He was "lovely" and "absolutely charming," a Bletchley Park rep told the Telegraph. "He did not want to blow his own trumpet but to have the work of his colleagues recognized."