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Tolkien trained as WW2 spy, secret documents reveal

17th September 2009

Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien was trained as a codebreaker by the British government in the run up to the Second World War, it has emerged.

The author of The Hobbit was among a number of intellectuals trained by the top-secret Government Code Cypher School (GCCS), according to previously unseen documents set to go on display at GCHQ.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, a GCHQ historian said: 'While he didn't sign up as was probably intended, he did complete three days' training and was "keen" to do more.

'Why he failed to join remains a mystery. There is no paperwork suggesting a motive, so we can only assume that he wanted to concentrate on his writing career.'

The news follows the conclusion of a legal dispute between the trustees of Tolkien's estate and New Line Cinema concerning the making of a film adaptation of The Hobbit, which has now been given the all clear.

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