Government Code and Cypher School: Signals Intelligence Passed to the Prime Minister, Messages and Correspondence

HW 1
Government Code and Cypher School: Signals Intelligence Passed to the Prime Minister, Messages and Correspondence

This series contains summaries of selected signals intelligence reports, issued by the Government Code and Cypher School and sent by the head of M16 ("C") to the Prime Minister (or, in his absence, the Deputy Prime Minister or the Lord Privy Seal) in batches several times each day during the Second World War (using the code name BONIFACE), with associated correspondence.

The documents comprise the original cover notes and actual documents passed on, complete with annotations and minuting.

Each file usually has three main elements, in addition to the cover note from the head of the Secret Intelligence Service and included associated correspondence and some intelligence reports from other sources:

  • Items CX/FJ, CX/JQ or CX/MSS: reports relating to enemy ground and air forces in Europe and derived from high grade cyphers such as ENIGMA;
  • Naval headlines: summaries of Spanish, German and Italian naval activity;
  • BJ reports: selected translations of intercepted diplomatic telegrams.


Cover sheets were given serial numbers which start at C6112 (HW 1/3) and end at C9995 (HW 1/715). Serial numbers are not consecutive and restart at number one (HW 1/716). Intervening serial numbers were allocated to different series by the Secret Intelligence Service and do not form part of the Dir/C Archive.

Cross references in the list refer to the former reference not to the HW 1 series reference unless otherwise stated.

Related Material:
See also the Admiralty, Operational Intelligence Centre records in: DEFE 3
See also the Government Code and Cypher School: Directorate: Second World War Policy Papers in HW 14
Held by:
The National Archives, Kew
Former references:
in its original department:   Dir/C Archive
Legal status:
Public Record
Foreign Office, Government Code and Cypher School, 1922-1946
Physical description:
3794 files and volumes
Access conditions:
Immediate source of acquisition:
from 1993 Government Communications Headquarters
Custodial history:
The documents were returned to GCCS for safe-keeping rather than being retained by the recipient. The documents were consulted by the official historians writing British Intelligence in the Second World War and were referred to as the Dir/C Archive.
Series is accruing
Unpublished finding aids:
There is a key to the terms and contractions used in this series and the key to abbreviations in HW 14. Some Standard German Military Terms and Contractions. Please speak to staff at the enquiry desk for the precise location.
Administrative / biographical background:

During the Second World War there was a great expansion of signal intelligence demand especially by the services, which led to the Prime Minister being sent daily summaries of selected ENIGMA messages.

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