Fast forward to the time just before September of 1948, when Police Action in Hyderabad ended the Nizam’s brief independence.
On a mild morning in late March, I arrived at the St Cross Church in Holywell. I rang the bell, and almost immediately, I was led to the Monckton archives. A few minutes later, I was handling a secret telegram from the Nizam.
Before we get to the telegram itself, a word about Monckton the man. Sir Walter Monckton shot to fame during the abdication of King Edward VIII. Briefly, King Edward wanted to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson. The Church of England headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the British Government more or less forbid the King from marrying Wallis. If he persisted, the government threatened to resign, causing a constitutional crisis. The King chose to abdicate, and went to spend the rest of his life away from England. Sir Walter’s mediation and amicable handling of the King’s affair earned him name and fame.
Years later, Sir Walter was retained as a legal adviser by the Nizam of Hyderabad. He was given generous terms, and if truth be told, he served the Nizam fairly and well. He had been familiar with Hyderabad having travelled there a decade earlier. He also knew many people on a first name basis.
Fast forward to the time just before September of 1948, when Police Action in Hyderabad ended the Nizam’s brief independence. In the weeks leading up to the event, there was a flurry of correspondence between the Nizam, his government, Sir Walter, Lord Mountbatten, and the government of India. Due to the need for secrecy and confidentiality, it was necessary to create a secret code. The Nizam sent Sir Walter a telegram in code. Rather than write a dull, historic article on the circumstances surrounding the telegram, I have decided to engage the writers of Deccan Chronicle in an effort to crack the code.
Below is the text of the telegram. Can you decode the message? If you can, please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
I will reveal the answer next week. My special thanks to Anna Sander, Archivist and Curator of Manuscripts at Balliol College.
LBHJVYYOR FHECEVFRQ GBXABJGUNG ABGJVGUFGNAQVAT VAQVNA HAVBA CEBZVFVAT GBFHCCYL HFBHE DHBGNBS NEZFQHR SEBZ SVSGRRAGU NHTHFG YNFGNAQNYFB NFXVAT HFGB FRAQ BHEZRA GBSRGPU GURZ CURL WHFG VAGVZR VFFHRQ BEQREF GBGURVEZRA ABGGB GNXR NPGVBA JUVPU ZRNAF HCUBYQVAT FHCCYL GVYY SHEGURE BEQREFFGBC VNZ ERNYYL NFGBAVFURQ GBFRR GUVF XVAQBS GNPGVPF CRECRGENGRQ OLGURZ NAQGUVF FUBJF JUNG UBCR VFGURER SBEBHE YBATGREZ NEENATRZRAG JUVPU JRCEBCBFR GBZNXR JVGU GURZFGBC BAGUR BGUREUNAQ ARTBGVNGVBAF PNAABGTBBA VAQRSVAVGRYL FBGURL ZHFG PBZR GBNARAQ FBBA FVAPR ABTBBQ CYNLVAT GURTNZRBS UVQRNAQ FRRX NAL YBATREFGBC CYRNFR OEVAT GURFR GUVATF GBGUR ABGVPRBS UVTU NHGUBEVGVRF VARATYNAQFGBC UBCVAT GBFRRLBH OLGURRAQBS GUVF ZBAGUAVMNZ