Captain Walter J. Fried’s Fish Reports


Captain Walter J. Fried (1904–2003) was the US Army’s liaison officer at Bletchley Park (BP) in the period March to November 1944. Walter J. Fried was born in Lawrence on Long Island, New York in 1904. He graduated with magna cum laude from Harward in 1924 and received his law degree from Columbia Law School in 1928. He started his career as a lawyer by joining his father’s law firm in 1929. For more details about this life and career see his New York Times obituary: Walter J. Fried, 99, Lawyer Involved in Co-op Conversions

In March 1944 he took over as US Army liaison officer at BP after his predecessor Lieutenant John Norman Seaman (1914–2002), who was liaison officer at BP from August 1943 to March 1944. Lieutenant Seaman, who was also a law graduate, returned to BP as liaison officer in May 1945 where he participated in the TICOM operations there and in Germany. He left the Army as Lieutenant Colonel in 1946 and continued his career as a lawyer.

Walter J. Fried’s first report, F-1 (IL 3331/A), is dated 11 March 1944, subject: Dutch Hagelin (NEA). He had then been working together with John Seaman to acquaint himself with his BP liaison duties. His last report is F-123 (IR4070) dated 29 November 1944, subject: Miscellaneous Items. He says he expects this to be his last formal report, which indeed it was. His sucessor was Albert W. Small (1910–1966, who was liaison officer from November 1944 to May 1945. Albert Small arrived already in October 1944 and worked with Walter Fried in the overlap period. The Fried reports F-114, dated 13 November, and F-115, dated 17 November, are both written by Albert Small while Fried was in Paris. On 11 November 1944 Fried was ordered to go to Paris for a period not to exceed two weeks.

Captain Walter J. Fried was a prolific report writer turning out reports of an extraordinary quality. For the historian of cryptologic history they are extremely valuable due to their very detailed overview of cryptanalytical operations, discoveries and problems taking place at BP during the period March to November 1944. The subjects treated and the technical and historical details that these reports contain set them out as some of the best cryptanalytical documents from this period.

Interesting is also the correspondence between Walter J. Fried and William F. Friedman showing the close friendship between these to US Army cryptologists. The correspondance is available here: Fried–Friedman Correspondance


NR. 2612, Box 880,
Walter J. Fried’s Reports from BP,
NARA, RG 457, NSA Historical Collection

Some of the copies are of a rather poor quality due to the fact that they are scans of photocopies taken of fuzzy carbon copies. Also a few of the reports have missing pages or enclosures. The appendix of the report F-71, where by the way the first page is missing, will be issued much later due to a need for complex processing or possibly a complete transcription of the text. The report, F-91, will also be published later due to some need for processing of the page images.
A few of the reports have also been published by the WWII Archives. The reports there are published as separate images for each page, however the quality is much better due to the fact that images are color photos of the original documents. In the case there is a need for better quality images I have listed the WWII Archives reports below. On their Web page, Reports on Breaking German Ciphers, all the Fried Reports are labelled as Fish Notes while most are dealing with other subjects.

Captain Walter J. Fried’s Fish Notes as published by the WWII Archives:

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Frode Weierud, © February 2016

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