Sir Edward Wilfred Harry Travis KCMG CBE (24 September 1888 – 23 April 1956) was a British cryptographer and intelligence officer, becoming the operational head of Bletchley Park during World War II, and later the head of GCHQ.
Educated locally in Blackheath, Travis joined the Royal Navy in 1906 as a Paymaster officer, and served on HMS Iron Duke. From 1916 to 1918, he worked on Navy ciphers. He retired in the 1920s, having reached the rank of Paymaster Commander.
By 1925, he was in charge of security at the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) and deputy to Alastair Denniston. Travis replaced Denniston as the operational head of Bletchley Park in February 1942, although both took the title of Deputy Director. This may have happened because in October 1941, Alan Turing had written directly to Churchill on behalf of the cryptanalysts, over the head of Denniston, to alert Churchill to the fact that a shortage of staff at Bletchley Park was preventing them from deciphering many messages, to the detriment of the war effort. Turing had also praised the "energy and foresight" of Commander Travis. Turing's biographer says that after the change, Travis "presided over an administrative revolution" reconciling the management structure to the production process.
Travis was involved with William Friedman in working on the 1943 BRUSA Agreement and the subsequent 1946 UKUSA Agreement. Travis remained head of the post-war successor to GCCS, GCHQ, and served as its director until 15 April 1952, when he was replaced by Eric Jones.
- Edward Travis at Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Hodges, Andrew (1983) , Alan Turing: the Enigma, Vintage, pp 219-223
|Deputy Director (Services) of GC&CS,
later Director of GC&CS,
later Director of GCHQ
February 1942 - 15 April 1952
Sir Clive Loehnis
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