A Man of Intelligence

The Life of Captain Theodore Eric Nave, Australian Codebreaker Extraordinary

By Ian Pfennigwerth

Eric Nave, an Australian naval officer, was the first to unravel Japanese naval telegraphy and to break Imperial Japanese Navy codes. Nave's success in penetrating Japan's codes ensured that, in the South West Pacific area, Allied operational forces were able to strike the Japanese army and navy where and when it would cause most harm. Nave's impressive Japanese language skills, and his almost-instinctive ability to spot the main features and weak points of intercepted messages, gained him widespread respect and admiration within the closed confines of Allied codebreaking before, during, and after World War Two. Between 1940 and 1942, almost single-handedly, he constructed Australia's first signals intelligence bureau, making Australia as aware of Japanese intentions as the US and UK governments. At war's end, he organized the compilation of the cribs on how Japanese codes had been broken. In 1946, he led the delegation which ensured Australia's inclusion in the Allied signals intelligence arrangements, which continue to this day. This biography tells how he entered and carved his own special niche in the arcane world of codebreaking. It sets his achievements against the geopolitical shifts which led to war with Japan in 1941. It explores the dysfunctional nature of US signals intelligence and its effects on war in the Pacific, and charts the rise of Australia's quantitative and qualitative contribution to Allied intelligence. The book also examines Eric's work in post-war signals intelligence.


304 pages

Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781877058417