You Are Here > > > Alastair Denniston

Alastair Denniston

Full name: Alexander Guthrie "Alastair" Denniston
Gender: Male
Born: December 1, 1881 in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute, Great Britain
Died: January 1, 1961 in Lymington, Hampshire, Great Britain
Affiliations: Cartha Athletic Club, Glasgow (GBR)
Country: GBR Great Britain
Sport: Hockey

Medals: 1 Bronze (1 Total)


Alastair Denniston excelled in school in classics, languages, and mathematics. He studied language and literature at Bonn University and the University of Paris, and became fluent in German, and taught languages at Merchiston Castle, the Edinburgh public school, and at the pre-Dartmouth Naval Preparatory School, Osborne, on the Isle of Wight. While there he was recruited into the Admiralty at the outbreak of World War I. His ability in German helped him find his way into the world of cryptography and cryptanalysis, and he was eventually awarded a CBE in 1933 and a CMG in 1941 for his work in those fields. In November 1914 he began working in Room 40, the naval cryptanalysis section. He continued to work in secret intelligence for the British military thru May 1945, serving Britain well during two World Wars. He was instrumental in the establishment, growth, and development of the Government Code and Cipher School in 1919, and the UK Government Communication Headquarters (GCHQ) in 1941, and he worked in the diplomatic arm of that group from 1942 to 1945. Serving at Bletchley Park, he was responsible for heading the secret Ultra project, that broke enemy codes, including the famed German coding machine Enigma. During the 2nd World War, Denniston worked closely with William Friedman, head of American cryptology, and it started a friendship that lasted until Denniston’s death in 1961. Friedman wrote to his daughter on her father’s death, “Your father was a great man and will remain in the debt of all English speaking people for a long time, if not for ever. That so few of them should know what he did towards the achievement of victory in WWI and II is the sad part of the untold story of his life and of his great contribution to that victory.”


Games Age City Sport Event Team NOC Rank Medal
1908 Summer 26 London Hockey Men's Hockey Scotland-3 GBR 3T Bronze

Men's Hockey

Games Age City Sport Team NOC Phase Unit Rank Date Result GP G
1908 Summer 26 London Hockey Scotland-3 GBR Final Standings 3T 1908-10-29 2 0
1908 Summer 26 London Hockey Scotland-3 GBR Semi-Finals Match #2 2 1908-10-30 England-1 6, Scotland-3 1 0
1908 Summer 26 London Hockey Scotland-3 GBR Round One Match #1 1 1908-10-29 Scotland-3 4, Germany 0 0
id: 18,753