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21st October 1915

This episode turns on the ability of the British and German armies to overhear each other's telephone messages, a lot of which were sent in Morse.


In fact there are all sorts of Morse messages to be heard in this episode because we frequently listen in on them from all sorts of different perspectives: as you might hear it in your primitive headphones; over a speaker; in a telephone handset.


But in all cases (we tweak them in post-production to make them sound different), the root recordings are all done by the bloke in the film, my brother, Simon Ruffle.





















In fact, Simon has been my Man For Morse for twenty years now, as he was the operator heard in BOMBER on Radio 4 in 1995. He's used to me turning up with long messages for him to record, of which we then only use a snippet. I always believe in recording a real message, because although we could use an app to create the Morse, I don't want any real Morse operators out there having the story spoiled for them right in the middle of a signalling scene by a bit of machine-made nonsense.


Simon is a licensed Radio Amateur with callsign G4EAG and of course he uses Morse as part of that. I always find it a novel idea that there's this coterie of Morse experts doing their thing when most of us probably only think of Morse when we hear an 'S.O.S.' in the movies.    


Simon's work is of course the very first thing you hear in any episode of TOMMIES, because that's him sending the letter 'B' that starts the signature tune and also gave rise to the whole atmosphere of the theme.


Morse letters change their meanings over time but 'B' was the WW1 British Army short code letter for 'Has The Message been Received?' which makes for a poignant, questing start to every episode.


We'll be having more from Simon as the series goes on. I'm really lucky to have his expertise to call on. Thanks mate.