A NAVY officer who seized the Nazis’ top-secret Enigma machine while raiding a sinking U-Boat has died aged 95.
Lieutenant Commander David Balme was serving aboard the Portsmouth-based destroyer HMS Bulldog when he made the pivotal discovery.
He led a team that stormed the German ship U-110 and seized the Nazi code machine – a move which has been credited with shortening the Second World War by two years.
Nick Hewitt, head of heritage development at the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth, has now paid tribute to the war hero.
He said: ‘He shows how the actions of a single individual can influence such a major event. In an extremely brave act he led a boarding party onto a sinking U-Boat.
‘Scuttling charges had been set and it was completely blacked out inside.
‘Yet he went on an unfamiliar ship that was sinking to retrieve an Enigma machine and change the course of the battle in the Atlantic.
‘There’s absolutely no doubt he played a significant part in ending the Second World War.’
Lt Cmdr Balme was born London on October 1, 1920 and joined the navy in 1934.
He died at his home in Milford on Sea on Sunday.