Joe Desch, Codebreaker

  Dates & times
  • Sun, 01/28/2024 - 2:00pm
  Category Local Interest
  Age Groups Adult


Sunday, January 28, 2024 Local History Program about Oakwood's Unsung Hero

Start time: 2:00 PM – Duration: 1 hour

Location: Wright Library’s Community Room, or watch online

Community Room seating capacity is 80. Please arrive early to ensure your seat. If you cannot attend in person, please request the virtual link. 

Dayton's role in cracking the German World War II Enigma machine

Local historian shares the historical significance of Desch's work during World War II

As the 80th anniversary of D-Day approaches, Royal Air Force Group Captain (retired) Andrew Lloyd will present how the Codebreakers, along with their British counterparts, changed the world for the better. They will also touch upon possible scenarios had D-Day not been successful, how the Codebreaker achievements went beyond World War II, and how his continued work in measures for international security lead the National Security Agency to install Joseph Desch in its Hall of Fame. 

Lloyd will draw upon information received from academia, government organizations, publications, and living relatives of both Joseph Desch and his UK counterpart, Alan Turing.

cryptanalytic machine from World War TwoWhile Joseph Desch was awarded the National Medal for Merit by President Truman, he is little-known in the city of Oakwood, where he and his family lived for 17 years.

Joseph Desch (1907-1987) was an American electric engineer and inventor from Dayton, who during World War II, became Research Director of the U.S. Navy's program to design and create a bombe, a cryptanalytic machine designed to read communications enciphered by the German Enigma. By 1943, Desch and team worked in National Cash Register's (NCR) Building 26 and began sending completed machines to Washington D.C.

On Tuesday 6th June 1944, in the largest amphibious operation in history, the US and Allies landed in German-occupied France, triggering the liberation of Europe from the Reich. Desch, and the Dayton Codebreakers, were busy that day! They were having and had had a substantial and direct impact on the operation, its subsequent success and were attributed by Eisenhower with shortening World War II by 2 years. Furthermore, they are credited by historians with saving up to 14 million lives (tens of thousands of Allied lives and millions of civilians).  

About the Presenter

Andrew Lloyd, presenter

Group Captain Andrew Lloyd RAF, Retd

Andrew Lloyd is a veteran of 34 years RAF service, with his last 5 years as an exchange officer at Wright Patterson AFB serving the USAF Sustainment Center as a deputy director for logistics.  Trained at the Royal Air Force College, Andrew served at multiple sites in the United Kingdom, and overseas in support of operations and exercises across NATO and the Middle East.  A keen amateur historian, he focused on the Revolutionary War, and the impact of the codebreakers on World War II and beyond.  He and his wife Cheryl now live in Oakwood, and their 2 adult daughters live in Columbus, Ohio.  

Far Hills Speaker Series

This special program of the Far Hills Speaker Series is presented through a partnership between the Oakwood Historical Society and Wright Memorial Public Library. For updates, sign up for the Far Hills Speaker Series Newsletter.