Military History Circle: The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes: The Story of George Scovell

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The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes: The Story of George Scovell

Tuesday 3 May 2005 from 1245 – 1400 (Sandwich Lunch from 1215)

Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies (RUSI), Whitehall

RUSI would like to invite you to attend a Military History Circle on the subject of ‘The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes: The Story of George Scovell’ by Mark Urban, Diplomatic Editor, BBC Newsnight and Author of The Man Who Broke Napoleon's Codes: The Story of George Scovell.

In this compelling account of the officer who waged the intelligence battle against Napoleon's army in the Peninsula War, Mark Urban shows George Scovell to have been a forerunner to the great code-breakers of the 20th Century. Using a network of Spanish guerrillas, Scovell amassed a stack of coded French messages, and set to work decrypting them. But as a man of humble birth, Scovell - even with his genius for languages, and bravery on a dozen battlefields - struggled for advancement amongst Wellington's inner circle of wealthy, well connected officers. Urban draws on a wealth of original sources, including many ciphers and code-tables, to restore Scovell to his rightful place in history.

Before he became Newsnight’s Diplomatic Editor, Mark Urban was Middle East Correspondent for BBC News, a general reporter for Newsnight and Defence Correspondent of The Independent newspaper. He has also worked behind the camera as an assistant producer on various programmes. Mark's years on Newsnight have taken him to many of the biggest foreign news stories of the past decade: the Gulf War; 1991 Coup in Moscow; 1993 events in Moscow; Bosnian war; Middle East peace process; Russian as well as Israeli elections and the conflict in Kosovo. He was born in London and is a graduate of the London School of Economics. Mark also served in the Army - for nine months as a regular officer and four years in the Territorials.

This is event is open to members of the Military History Circle only.

If you would like to attend please contact: 

Mamoona Shah

Events Manager

Tel: +44 (020) 7747 2648


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