Guide to the John Patrick Hawker papers, 1942-2009

John Patrick Hawker C0275

Published by George Mason University Libraries

Contact Information:

Fenwick Library (2FL)

George Mason University

Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444


Phone: (703) 993-2220

Fax: (703) 993-8911



Descriptive Summary

Repository George Mason University. Libraries. Special Collections Research Center
Creator Hawker, John Patrick
Title John Patrick Hawker papers
Date 1942-2009
Physical Characteristics 1.75 linear feet (3 boxes)
Abstract Substantial document archive of significant intelligence content, written and compiled by John Patrick Hawker, pertaining to British intelligence, cryptography and clandestine radio in the Second World War.
Collection Number C0275
Language English

Biographical Information

John Patrick Hawker MBE (1922-2013), G3VA, popularly known as Pat Hawker, was a professional and amateur radio engineer, who during the Second World War was actively engaged in British Intelligence services, and Is associated with the Bletchley Park code-breaking center, working with clandestine radio to support resistance units. Hawker was involved in many aspects of radio, beginning in World War II as a member of the Radio Security Service (RSS) and its connections to British Security Service Military Intelligence Ml5 and the Secret Intelligence Service Ml6. In 1941 at the young age of 19 he started at Bletchley Park as an intercept operator. The bay he worked in contained two HRO receivers, each operator being given a specific list of signals to listen for. In April 1943 he was transferred to Section VIII unit, and served at Weald Station as a two-way radio operator, under Morse code expert Captain Robert Henry "Harry" Tricker. In 1944 Pat joined unit SCU9 and was sent Into war zones where covert communications were required . After the D-Day Allied invasion of Europe in June, with the small mobile unit headed to Normandy under the direction of Tricker who was now a Major, Pat went to Normandy, where he remained until August. He subsequently travelled to Paris, Brussels, Eindhoven, etc. and into Germany, with the same British intelligence services unit, mainly to report German troop movements and to connect 21st Army Group with Secret Intelligence Service field agents and SUSSEX intelligence teams.

At the end of October 1944 he was assigned as a personal operator for an Intelligence officer heading for Nijmegen (Nimeguen) in the Netherlands, and was provided with a double transposition poem cipher (LMT cipher) , which was unprecedented in the Ml6 as radio operating and ciphering were usually separate. [Double transposition was generall y regarded as the most complicated cipher that an agent could operate reliably under difficult field conditions]. At Nijmegen he became involved with the IS9 which was another 'private army' and which organized escape and evasion of Allied troops and breakaways. For a brief time in 1945 he worked with Holland's Bureau of National Security. At the Abbe Museum in Eindhoven, which served as British Intelligence headquarters, he worked for the remainder of the war as chief operator in a Dutch network for cipher de-coding, he being the only English speaking person there. At war's end in Europe, Pat rejoined SCU9 in the British Zone of Germany, sending six months in Rhineland and gaining much insight into the complexities of the utmost secret intelligence operations. After the war Hawker was regarded as an authority on clandestine radio. He became a key figure in British radio and television, and was Vice President of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) . The Bletchley Park 'Summary of Service' lists John Patrick Hawker with the British Army Royal Signals, working at Hanslope Park and Whaddon Hall in the years 1941-1946, the centers for disseminating Bletchley Park's intelligence reports, situated near Bletchley.

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Scope and Content

Substantial document archive of significant intelligence content, written and compiled by John Patrick Hawker pertaining to British intelligence, cryptography and clandestine radio in the Second World War. A veritable cornucopia of information in the form of Hawker's personal notes, mainly in manuscript and including a wartime diary kept by him while at Bletchley. Includes later research, interviews, articles, a few letters, and such starting about the time that Bletchley Park's secret operations were made known to the public in the 1970s. The lot concentrating on World War II military intelligence, the devices which served to decipher and transmit confidential data, the organizations and notable individuals dutifully engaged in clandestine communication operations. Together with his biography, written by Steve White in 2008, titled "A Bit of Controversy: Pat Hawker- A Radio Life."

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Arranged by subject and date.

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Access Restrictions

There are no access restrictions.

Use Restrictions

There are no restrictions on personal use. Permission to publish material from the John Patrick Hawker papers must be obtained from Special Collections and Archives, George Mason University Libraries.

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Related Material

Special Collections Research Center also holds an extensive collection of rare books on military intelligence, including the Hayden Peake intelligence collection and the Paul Ceruzzi papers.

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Index Terms


Hawker, John Patrick


Military intelligence--Germany.
Military intelligence--Great Britain.
World War, 1939-1945.

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

John Patrick Hawker papers, C0275, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.

Acquisition Information

Purchased from Voyager Press Rare Books and Manuscripts in July 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Special Collections Research Center staff. Description of collection abstracted from vendor catalog. EAD markup completed by Jordan Patty in August 2015. Finding aid updated by Amanda Brent in April 2020.

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Contents List

John Patrick Hawker papers, 1940s-2008
1 John Patrick Hawker Bletchley Park diary, March 6-June 19, 1944
The manuscript journal was penned from 6 March to 19 June 1944, while at SIS Tattenhoe Camp in Far Bletchley, part of the Bletchley Park network, (a Secret Army Camp at the junction of Whaddon Way and Buckingham Road). Pat Hawker, then 22 years of age, inquisitive, ambitious, and exceptionally proficient in radio communications, describes his wartime experience with the covert establishments of British Intelligence divisions, mainly interaction with Bletchley colleagues, descriptions of the NAAFI, recreational excursions, entertainment, as well as his thoughts on the war as it unfolds. With only cryptic references such as "Hut E" of which he names his colleagues, remembering his time at 'H' [Hanslope Park], and working 'night shifts', he is mindful not to record specifics about his training, duties, or achievements, nor anything of the clandestine operations, though some commentary reveals the temptation to do. At the end of the volume a single page consists of a calendar of field assignments made with SCU9 unit to connect the Army with British intelligence agents during the final stages of the war. He travelled from London to Leigh-on-Sea, then Saint-Gabriei-Br�cy and Paris, to Brussels then Eindhoven and Helmond in Holland, circling to and fro between these places and others, penetrating Germany in the North Rhine-Westphalia district and arriving at S�chteln approximately the 21st of May 1944, subsequently making his way to Bad Salzuflen, Bad Godesberg [the first major German city to be transferred to Allied forces control without a battle], and the district of Uedorf in the city of Bornheim (near Bonn). Together with a small photograph of 8 men in military uniform, loosely placed inside the volume. 118 pages.
Excerpts from Hawker's wartime diary:
March 6th 1944 - Tattenhoe. "... the next few weeks will see for me and for millions like me - the ending of an era. The shadow has been cast - only the events themselves remain as yet unrevealed...""l am a Lance Corporal in the Royal Corps of Signals engaged on wireless duties ... I, and some of my friends, will most probably be in on the 'Second Front' ... A party of twenty... My guess would be for April 5th. On that date I shall be twenty-two ... To be quite frank I do not particularly want this type of adventure... The Jack of civilized amenities... We may see things in other lands that will make us wonder how we ever tolerated life in dull Bletchley Bucks." "... Tattenhoe Camp. I am writing this in my cubicle E7 ...this chronicle is not only a diary of events but of thoughts and ideas I do not feel bound to keep to the confines of time." "Bletchley is a town of one street... leading up to the Park - that is at the Eight Bells - it wanders on under the railway bridge - past the Chi/tern Library past the dingy snack cafe, the many poor little shops to the Garden Cafe and the Studio Cinema and then meanders into Fenny Stratford... it is peopled by the strange mixture that work at the Park. The wrens, waafs and ats and most superior civil servants and dashing naval officers and slovenly army officers and occasional Americans... Unlike the other small towns in Bucks it cannot retain its own features. It seems to have been swamped by the invading army... All the local inhabitants have a timid frightened look in their eye as though wondering by what grace of God or Mr Griffin the Billeting Officer they are still allowed to retain part of their homes..."
15 March 1944. "Russian Events" "In Russia an important offensive on the whole of the Southern Front appears to be under way with an immediate objective in the port & base of Nikolaev [Mykolaiv] 20 miles from advancing Russians... With the crossing of this river, Odessa would be directly threatened and a general invasion of Bessarabia possible. Peace convoys from Russia are rumoured to be active in Istanbul following the Finnish-Soviet talks... apparently made little headway... further advance by the Red Army will almost certainly bring about peace talks..."
22 March 1944. "World at War [Htl..] has occupied the territory of his ally - Hungary... The seizure has been in Grand style. Regent Horthy the fleetless Admiral was summoned to meet [Htl..] and detained. Troops poured into Budapest at dawn... Spasmodic raids on London continue... In America, pre-Presidential elections activities are already clouding the picture..."
[Here a list of personnel in 'Hut E' interjects the chronicle of daily events.]
25 March 1944. "News from H [Hanslope Park]." "... the greatest surprise of the week... Bill Bernard... informed us that he had come to stay and gave us remarkable news of the old unit. This is no place for any discussion of the position there but many of my closest friends in that unit have suddenly been moved due to their 'suppressive' activities. Also caught in the storm were a number of the officers blamed for having allowed discontent to arise. For a long time my friends have been pressing for improved conditions in that camp..."
31 March 1944. "The Russian advance continues. Nikolaev has fallen and the Red Army is racing towards Odessa... are within a few miles of Hungary & Czechoslovakia. The German retreat is becoming disordered and reports of disintegration are... [On March 28, 1944 the city was liberated from German control, in part because of Soviet Senior Lieutenant Konstantin F. Olshansky's paratroopers and their daring raid, during which the majority of his troops were killed]" .... 'The Air Ministry has announced that we have a new fighter. The make and its name are 'official secrets'. But several weeks ago an American magazine article stated that the new Hawker 'Tempest' was being used by the RAF!"
3 April 1944. "Cycled to Newport Pagnell... Met several of the old crowd Wilt Allen, Dick Draper, Alf Taylor. Heard of several new moves, Jim Roghly to N.W. area, Fred Graham, Wilt Elmore to B is now a place of haunting memories of people whom I have known but now seldom see. The old original fellows who went to H in 1941 - Des Downing, Matt Smith, Les Gorley, Stan Thomas, Peter Camello, Bill Windle, Bill Robertson, Bill Hutchford, Smudger Smith, Gilbert Moss, and many others. What talk did that dimly lit room hear... We were bound together by necessity. The only place in the neighbourhood where food was to be bought. In the days before WVS Canteens [Women's Voluntary Service] ..."
21 April 1944. 'The period covered by these notes has already been far greater than I had originally anticipated. How much longer before the balloon goes up? I believe that early May will witness the opening of the offensive... the Government withdrew all diplomatic privileges from its representatives of foreign powers - excluding only Russia & the U.S.A... No couriers can enter or leave the country, no coded telegrams... Heavy raids continue... Details of the Navy's use of 'human torpedoes' as long ago as Jan 1943 have just been released... yet another suicide job. Their only hope lies in being taken prisoner, as occurred in the Palmero raid... workers are feeling the strain of 4 1/2 years of ever increasing work and many are ready to strike... Leave in the Army is still suspended.
5 May 1944. 'Tonight at the NAAFI 'X' and I learned that E's posting has come through. She is leaving Wednesday. I am not at all sure that these notes are the right place to discuss the 'E' affairs..."
13 May 1944. "... cycle ride to Aylesbury... the opening of 'Salute the Soldier Week'... strange influence of visitors... Glider Pilot Regiment, Crippled Dutch Sailor, Yanks, Polish Air Cadets, woofs from the West Indies, Pilots form Australia, New Zealand and Ceylon, Nursing Auxiliaries, and the Services from all over England Scotland & Wales - all rubbing shoulders with the good people of Bucks..."
8 June 1944. 'The long drawn out overture has ended. The curtain has gone up. Two days ago, June 6th... Allied command had issued a statement that a new bombing phase had begun... warning the people of occupied Europe... German naval forces were in contact with Allied landing craft. So came D Day... At 9.30 came the official communqiue No. 1 from SHEAEF and statement from Eisenhower... the first reaction was of relief that at last the period of waiting was over. How that period affected us, has, I hope, been shown in these notes... I set out to record pre-invasion England. That England no longer exists... So it is with all major changes in the world... the beginning of a chain of events that slowly encompass us all... Everyone of them whether they cross the channel or stay here in Bletchley."
3 June 1944. 'The preparations as they affect our unit are as complete now as they are ever likely to be. We live then on short notice. /left Bletchley on the 8-1 5 train May 22 & returned by the 5-45 pm on May 24th. I had been home... for a few hours one leads a private life... For those hours one becomes Mr. So and So - Private Citizens. Back in Bletchley I entered an altered existence. For the first time for two & a half years I stopped working on shifts and became a 9 till 5 worker. An immediate result being my time for odd jobs such as writing journals seemed to disappear."
19 June 1944. "A few hundred miles to the south fierce fighting... The Americans have succeeded in reaching the West Coast of the Cherbourg peninsula... all reports indicate that - at least in Normandy - the behaviour of the German troops has been 'correct'... they have been accepted by the younger section of the population... the Germans have been sending pilot-less aircraft against London... too early to say how effective this new weapon s likely to be... the layman us inclined to the view that they must be very expensive in man-hours for construction and therefore the attack may dwindle... technical detailed are awaited with keen interest. 01
Epilogue, written at Minehead, Somerset, 2 July 1944: We left Bletchley 23rd June. We heard of our departure on the 19th - just after writing general notes of the previous pages... most of us went off feeling as though we were going to war - and a few hours later were settling in comfort at St. A Here there is a short memory of events after the last recordings... How am I to round off this diary? I feel that it must stand or fall on what has already been written. It is an account of someone in search of entertainment & a little enlightenment in a country that has been at war for too long. Frankly I have enjoyed these months despite their artificiality. And yet at the same time I have hated them. The war has always been in the background nagging at us... We had a job to do and we did it as well as we were able until the middle of May. We were asked to join a unit that offered little but discomfort... I hate discomfort. I am afraid of danger. I think war is unnecessary and the greatest of man's inhumanity towards man. But I want to see things f or myself. I can only hope that I will always believe in intellect rather than instrument and force.
2 Manuscript volumes with notes on intelligence operations by John Patrick Hawker, 1962-1979
Five volumes containing a profusion of succinct manuscript short notes penned by Hawker years after the war, dealing with all aspects of intelligence operatives executed not only by the British but others, such as Das Englandspiel ("The England Game"), also called Unternehmen Nordpol (Operation North Pole), launched by the German intelligence agency 'Abwehr.' Over and above his "tech notes" and pivotal events in the history of Morse code and ciphering, we find the names and roles of numerous intelligence personnel and colleagues, some by this time deceased, including some important figures from Bletchley Park such as Alan Turing (cryptologist, designer of the bomber, 'father of artificial intelligence'), V-2 rocket expert Reginald Victor Jones, and head of SIS (MI6) Sir Richard Gambier-Parry. Also named are Dutch SOE intelligence agents, notable BBC and Radio Londres announcers with pseudonyms and true identities, French Secret Intelligence officers, key Army and Navy leaders relating to clandestine communications, etc. The abundant volumes of data culminate into what appears to be an unpublished work by Hawker titled, "War in The (A) Ether. Europe 1939-45: Radio Countermeasures in Bomber Command. An Historical Note."
Box Folder
3 1 Biographical materials, 2008
"A Bit of Controversy: Pat Hawker- A Radio Life." by Steve White on John Patrick Hawker and a seven page article on Hawker from an unknown source.
2 Reception Sets R. 107, circa 1942
"Not To Be Published - Reception Sets R.107. General Description and Working Instructions." A classified manual issued by British military circa 1942, with 40 pages of text, 10 fold-out plates to illustrate circuit diagrams, components, etc.
3 Theft of Abwehr Enigma Machine and printed material on communication with China during World War II, 1987-2002
Bletchley Park News Bulletin, Issue No. 25, March 2002, which highlights an internal breach which resulted in the theft, and subsequent return, of a rare Abwehr Enigma machine. Together with other printed reports on the same incident, and a letter dated 1987 introducing Pat Hawker to a book titled, 'The Unknown War: North China 1937-1945" by Beijing university professor Michael Lindsay, being his heroic account of constructing a transmitter sufficient to communicate with San Francisco the state of affairs in Communist China, especially with the Yenan Regime. The lot housed in a postmarked envelope addressed to Hawker.
4 Correspondence, book reviews, maps, and notes on British and German intelligence, 1990-2004
Further miscellaneous papers including a chart of events, correspondence, book reviews, a map of the Milton Keynes area showing Weald Station, and several notes on British and German intelligence, the lot of a similar nature to the above groupings of data.
5 "Broadband Communications Link: An Introductory Survey" by John Patrick Hawker, 1980s
An unpublished work titled "Broadband Communications Link: An Introductory Survey" by Hawker. 52 pages.
6-7 "Cryptography Colossus" collection of articles and notes, 1978-1992
"Cryptography Colossus" in two folders containing numerous articles such as 'Cracking the Ciphers,' 'The Colossus of Bletchley Park,' 'Electronic Cryptography', 'Breaking the Enemy's Code,' 'Enigma,' 'The M209 cipher machine,' 'Privacy and Authentication: An Introduction To Cryptography,' 'Colossus: godfather of the computer," 'The Early Models of the Siemens and Halske T52 Cipher Machine," and others.
8 "Clandestine Radio Links of the Second World War" and notes on German, French, and Yugoslav intelligence, circa 1988
Typed synopsis by Hawker titled "Clandestine Radio Links of the Second World War (Western Europe)" 6 pages, accompanied by several pages of related manuscript notes, subjects such as Abwehr Afu equipment, intercept stations for Enigma, certain Bletchley Park personneL and more, contained in an envelope sent from Robert "Bob" Hawes of Tottenham in London - WWII pacifist and objector, author of several books on vintage wireless.
A second envelope contains yet more related notes, expounding further on German radio security (Funkabwehr), as well as French Special Services, Yugoslavia SOE. and the Enigma machine. Assortment of manuscript jottings which appear to contain details deciphered by intelligence, dated and occasionally cryptic, for example, "Intelligence from TR - Col. Barils 2nd B ... setting up of largest Abwehr network in North Africa ... " Notes on the capture of British radio operators, the fate of other colleagues, and notable events from 1940-1942, also some wireless radio specs.
9 "Radio Amateurs and World War II" and "Clandestine Radio in World War II" and notes on Polish intelligence, 1980s
Annotated typed drafts of articles written by Hawker headed "Radio Amateurs and World War II" and "Clandestine Radio in World War II" together with manuscript notes mainly dealing with Polish intelligence.
10 Newspaper clippings, research notes, and publications, 1981-1995
Newspaper clippings, a list of headlines in 'The Times' in 1944, manuscript lecture notes, excerpts from published works, information obtained from three visits to the Imperial War Museum Reference Library, a photocopy of a 1950 issue of the 'Mercury' journal of the Royal Signals Amateur Radio Society, the March 1983 issue of "Amateur Radio" Magazine featuring a 12 page article by Hawker titled ''The Secrets of Wartime Radio."
11 "The Hunger Winter," "All the King's Men," and the Profession of Intelligence" manuscript transcripts, 1988
Manuscript transcripts of 1980s BBC documentary films "The Hunger Winter" which describes the Dutch famine of 1944, "All the King's Men" revealing the SOE's Greatest Wartime Disaster, and Part II of 'The Profession of Intelligence" by historian Dr. Christopher Andrew.
12 "Clandestine Radio" lectures and illustrated publications, circa 1994
A group of seven copies of his lectures and illustrated publications headed 'Clandestine Radio', most being the same or similar in content, as well as two other articles in the same format.
13 Correspondence between John Patrick Hawker and R.V. Jones and letter about A.D. Blumlein, 1960, 1987
A grouping of four letters being correspondence between Hawker and V-2 rocket expert R. V . Jones pertaining to the Germans using the Eiffel Tower to send television transmissions during the war. These include three signed letters from Jones, a copy of Hawker's signed manuscript reply letter. Excerpt from Hawker's letter: ": Yes, I can confirm at third hand that there were 44 1-line television transmissions on about 45MHz from the Eiffel Tower from January 1943 until August 16, 1944 intended for German forces in hospitals and soldiers' clubs etc, and that these transmissions were monitored at Beachy Head." There is also an additional letter, perhaps by Hawker, on the subject of A.D. Blumlein.
14-15 Correspondence with Geoffrey Pigeon and SCU newsletters, 2002-2009
Two folders devoted mainly to correspondence with Geoffrey Pigeon, containing several signed letters and just as many SCU newsletters which accompanied them. In 1942 Pigeon worked for Ml6 (Section VIII), was enlisted with the Royal Corps of Signals at Whaddon HaiL and later authored ''The Secret Wireless War" for which he is famed.
16 Notes on radio equipment and colleagues, 1980s-1990s
Further war related notes, hand trimmed and pasted into 3 small cardstock booklets, autobiographical and instructional in nature (for field radio agents}, also containing names of colleagues and types of radio equipment.
17-18 Personal wartime recollections on SCU9, MI5 and MI6, and other descriptions of clandestine events in Europe, 1980s
Two folders featuring Hawker's personal wartime accounts Including an autobiographical sketch which includes his important service with SCU9, a description of his arrival in Paris , an insider's perspective of the Ml6 and MI5, further filled with manuscript notes on Russian Clandestine Radio, a calendar of events relating to Czechoslovakia from 1939 to 1942, exposes on sabotages and secret Allied-German collaboration, resistance in Holland, and a timeline history of the Government Code and Cipher School (GC&CS}.
19-22 Photocopied research material on German and Russian radio technology, 1980s-1990s
A substantial collection of copied printed material on the German two-way radio system, replete with diagrams and illustration, featuring a German manual for equipment used by their military intelligence division, titled "Funkgerate des Militarischen Nachrichtendienstes " and an account on short waves titled "Die Funkpeilung der Kurzen Wellen." Also with information in German dealing with the R-350 and R-350M Russian spy radio sets developed in the former USS R in the mid 1950s, this lot of papers facilitates a technical study of various instruments such as suitcase radios. their mechanical design, specific components, application and efficiency. Together with a letter from a friend enquiring about Eastern Bloc B2 spyset radios.
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