JRR Tolkien was keen to become a cryptanalyst

Last Updated: 01 Sep 2016
The author was hand-picked for a course at the Government Code & Cypher School in the late 1930s.

Before the outbreak of the Second World War, the Government Code & Cypher School (which became known as GCHQ in April 1946) ran courses for hand-picked individuals from universities who might join the organisation in the event of war.

JRR Tolkien, then a professor at the University of Oxford, took part in a language course. Although he has 'keen' written after his name, indicating he was willing to undertake such work, in the end he did not join us. Sadly, we do not know why this was.