A few days ago, Queen Elizabeth II unveiled a new plaque that contains a hidden message. Can you break this code?

For people interested in crypto history, London is one of the most interesting places in the world. Apart from Bletchley Park, the legendary country estate outside the city where the Enigma was solved during the Second World War, over a dozen more crypto related sights in the London area are listed in my Cryptologic Travel Guide (co-developped by Christian Baumann). Among the most notable are the Science Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the Library and Museum of Freemasonry. I have been to London many times, but I still haven’t seen everything I would like to.

Today, I have added a new London crypto sight on my list: a commemorative plaque dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the British codebreaking unit GCHQ (formerly known as Government Code and Cypher School) located at the Watergate House near Charing Cross. Thanks to my American cryptographer friend Tony Patti …


… for making me aware of this story. Here’s the plaque:

Source: GCHQ

As can be read in a number of recent press articles, this GCHQ plaque was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on February 14th. There’s a short video showing the unveiling procedure published by The Sun.

One special thing about this plaque is that a message is hidden in its inscription. Can you find it? It’s not very difficult to solve this steganographic puzzle.

As the hidden message is marked with dots and dashes, I wonder if there is even a second message hidden. If so, it is probably encoded in the Morse code. However, none of the articles I have read about this plaque mentions such a second code. Can a reader find out more about it?

Further reading: The London kerbstone code mystery

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Kommentare (24)

  1. #1 Peter Krapp
    25. Februar 2019

    If the message 1 hundred years is noted as a sequence of …._._.._.._ what does that connote? EEEETETEETEET?

  2. #2 Jan
    25. Februar 2019

    1 Hundred Years
    Maybe there’s more regarding Morse code?

  3. #3 werner67
    25. Februar 2019

    “HUNDRED YEARS” , aber der ” Morsecode ” ist schwieriger.

  4. #4 cimddwc
    25. Februar 2019

    SECRET is the most meaningful result given by a Morse decoder.

  5. #5 werner67
    25. Februar 2019

    Four groups with three symbols each translate into “SKUU” . In esperanto (which I am not familiar with) this should stand for “shake out of fear” (imperative). Maybe a very subtle hint to the opponents?

  6. #6 werner67
    25. Februar 2019

    I agree with cimddwc, but the “E” is missing.

  7. #7 werner67
    25. Februar 2019

    Ok, I missed the dot below the “1” . It’s SECRET

  8. #8 True Dan
    Olympia, WA
    25. Februar 2019

    I agree. The dots and dashes read SECRET.

  9. #9 TWO
    Noordwijk NSA station
    25. Februar 2019

    Morse : SECRET


    hAVE fun finding #3

  10. #10 TWO
    25. Februar 2019

    … . -.-. .-. . –

    s e c r e t

  11. #11 David Oranchak
    25. Februar 2019

    SECRET is probably the correct Morse translation for ****-*-**-**- but others are possible. Here are some I found for fun, to showcase the ambiguous word division problem in Morse:

    SEND TEA: *** / * / -* / -** / – / * / *-
    (Seems a fitting request for the Brits)

    SENT IN A: *** / * / -* / – / ** / -* / *-
    (or SENTINA, another word for “bilge”)

    SALT IT: *** / *- / *-** / – / ** / –

    ESTAFA: * / *** / – / *- / **-* / *- (Spanish for “fraud”)

    SENTERA: *** / * / -* / – / * / *-* / *- (a tech company)

  12. #12 Tobi
    26. Februar 2019

    I got thrown off by the morse at first. I thought i had to read the letters with dots first and then the ones with dashes. Problem was, i couldn’t find any meaning in “1 HUNRDYAR DEES”.

    @David Oranchak
    I’d vote to make “SEND TEA” the official meaning of that morse text.

  13. #13 Jerry McCarthy
    England, Europa
    26. Februar 2019


  14. #14 Ranthoron
    26. Februar 2019

    If you take the dots by row only, you get to
    EIÄEETU – so I’m voting for “SEND TEA”, too.

  15. #15 koma
    26. Februar 2019

    CrackingTheCryptic put this video on YouTube on 02/16/2019

  16. #16 David Oranchak
    26. Februar 2019

    Some others that fit:

    SEND NET: *** / * / -* / -** / -* / * / –

    I INTUIT: ** / ** / -* / – / **- / ** / –

    IF TEENA: ** / **-* / – / * / * / -* / *-

    EVEDNA: * / ***- / * / -** / -* / *- (character from Frank Baum’s “Oz” series) (or “Eve DNA” aka “Mitochondrial Eve”)

    ESTAFET: * / *** / – / *- / **-* / * / – (alternate form of “estafette”, a military dispatch rider)

  17. #17 Klaus Schmeh
    26. Februar 2019

    Donna Piranha via Facebook:
    The Morse

    S E N T I N A

    There is an alternate decryption for the Morse:
    Tho “Secret” works & is part of the MOTTO, “Sember Occultus” (Always Secret), the Morse (…/./-.-./.-././-) could also be deciphered: “SENTINA,” (…/./-./-/../-./.-)
    an Old Italian word meaning “vigilance” https://www.google.com/search?rlz=1C1KMZB_enUS588US588

  18. #18 Gerry
    27. Februar 2019

    If you take two of the morse code meanings together, the best combination in my opinion would be “SENT IN A SECRET”.

  19. #19 Tony
    27. Februar 2019

    As one of those Brits I go with ‘send tea’

    but has anyone considered the dash between the 1919 and 1921 in their calculations?

  20. #20 David Oranchak
    28. Februar 2019

    Including the dash between the 1919 and 1921 yields this Morse sequence: *-***-*-**-**-

    Here are some matches for that sequence:

    RICE TEA: *-* / ** / -*-* / * / – / * / *-
    RICE NET: *-* / ** / -*-* / * / -* / * / –
    REAL TEA: *-* / * / *- / *-** / – / * / *-
    REAL NET: *-* / * / *- / *-** / -* / * / –
    LET EXIT: *-** / * / – / * / -**- / ** / –
    RITA ERA: *-* / ** / – / *- / * / *-* / *-
    LET REX: *-** / * / – / *-* / * / -**-
    AIR TINA: *- / ** / *-* / – / ** / -* / *-
    LET EDNA: *-** / * / – / * / -** / -* / *-
    REAL TIT: *-* / * / *- / *-** / – / ** / –
    ASTRAEA: *- / *** / – / *-* / *- / * / *-
    LARENA: *-** / *- / *-* / * / -* / *-

  21. #21 Klaus Schmeh
    1. März 2019

    Donna Piranha via Facebook:
    That was easy. (i think) Hiya, Klaus.

  22. #22 Axon
    4. März 2019

    I think it reads “dial 535278”.

  23. #23 Breaker
    16. März 2019

    I attended Westminster Schools in my youth.
    We were never taught about a 100 Year Secret ?

    Looking into English History and looking for anything related to this “Centurion’s Oath” we have to put on our thinking caps and ‘Yoke it up for Titus’ and ….

    The cipher is a continuation of the code that is on the “Nazi Fahrt” coin. https://www.sixbid.com/media/auction_images/1265/1161004l.jpg The same markings and dotted highlights are seen on the GCHQ ciphers.

    They used the matching styles of encryption and matched them to pass on a Koda of a message, a continuing “joke” that is being played on everyone. The cipher you found leading to a “100yrs Secret” is based on the Order of the Helm and the Rosicrucian Sect that was in England at the time of Francis Bacon’s epic voyage to the new world to set up the legend of the Swan of Avon, and other mysteries in the works of Shakespeare, hidden as well in the books of the Bible.

    They made an oath to hide their secrets for 100yrs. after re-interring certain artifacts from a French Chateau that was excavated in 1590s. I know because I found the Vault that they pillaged. http://www.facebook.com/SecretMission4King

    This trove of religious items from the times of Dagobert II, was buried under the fabled Rennes Le Chateau….and then moved to Acadia, or New France. The works of the Rosicrucian were found embedded by Petter Amundsen and were made into a series called Seven Steps to Mercy, and Sweet Swan of Avon, that were talked about along the timeline of events that followed.

    He spoke of their oath that was set to last for 100 years to maintain secrecy of this discovery, as they were removing the sacred relics of the Temple of Jerusalem. Some were known to be set in the mountain near Montsegur and were also recovered by the German, during a ceremonial time of an anniversary of the Cathars, and it attracted a mass of people that documented it.

    The troves were moved to a Salt Mine which was discovered after the war. The coin that was shown as a rare antiquity in the leak was then seen to have a strange series of words and out of place markings along the path of the lettering. This was shown around the net and contested as being an authentic coin.

    The message in the cipher was a plaintext read of English sounding versions of the German words, complete with markings that showed where the separation of the German words was intended to be broken down into English.

    UNDERZH*A*LT DAVON IM ……… As in a warning and an exclamation of a discovery of something hidden…… HA !

    HALT …… I’M AVON …… UNDER THE SALT …… Your breaks also showed the Atbash method of encoding of the alphabet being somewhat Semitic/Judean of its theme, and this is how I was able to match the coin cipher to the circular GCHQ plaque cipher that you found…..speaking of the Treasure of the Rosicrucian, but adding a sort of joke from “Westminster” was the part that really caught my eye.

    It appears though that the the German’s were keen on finding this treasure, BEFORE the war, and colluded with the Yale Bonesman (German Order 322). I have found physical evidence and other ciphers that show this affair was well underway in the late 30s, with Herbert Osborn Yardley working with them to crack the ciphers behind these religious treasures, excavate them, and remove them to another location where they could be picked up “At Will” by a group in a submarine.

    This was found to be laid in a crude vault in Nova Scotia, and encoded onto a famous “Death Threat” Card made to Roosevelt on a card that Klaus Schmeh has addressed on his site as well. Roosevelt was a part of the operations that were digging in the money pit at one point, having been led there by a series of keys that Yardley coded into ciphers and mailed into the Secret Service.

    He played off the Beale Ciphers using a different key to make a cipher with a book code using the Declaration of Independence. The evidence can be seen here : http://www.facebook.com/SolvingBealePapers

    Roosevelt tapped the troves that were known to be buried in specific locations according to a series of ciphers that were found to provide locations to sites that were pivoting around Oak Island….the only known references to this treasure were found in these two locations in France and Nova Scotia, but there is evidence that a second location was to be found after the locations in Nova Scotia were found, leading to Vermont.

    Was the Wehrmacht in Wermont?

    And Where in Wermont was the Wehrmacht?

    The joke carried on in the ciphers that the GCHQ made to continue the confusion that was begun by their order to dress up the Germans as enemies while they were secretly removing elements of this treasure to hide it as if it never existed.

    A special message left in Westminster addressed to the “Minister in the West”?

    Hope this explains a good enough theme for more keywords to look for.

    I can tell you that the video from Mark Goodliffe is right on the money when it all is seen next to the other trends in the ciphers matching up…..

    The 100 years secret was cracked by a 76’er a bit early….lol

    I literally live some 15 miles from this very vault. I’ll post some pics if Klaus will do a write up.

  24. #24 Name
    Or 20
    20. März 2019

    Interests piqued, thoughts stirred of a potential code to be hidden in the form of something actually useful, like a phone number or something….Considering the possibility of actually having a goal ending in what might result in dialing some sort of number hidden within a code, it dawned on me…..I believe it was called Mercury Rising? That’s about all it took for me to no longer be interested:)