Henry Wellesley
Name:          Henry A. Wellesley
Race:          Human
Profession:    Cryptographer
Sex/Age:       Male/27
Height/Weight: 5'10"/165lbs
Nationality:   British
Service:       Royal Signals

When a man's great-great-great-grandfather was Wellington's (yes that Wellington) younger brother, and his father is the Earl Cowley, a number of things have the potential to be true. First, it would not be unreasonable to assume that the man had been afforded greater opportunities in life than most other men. Second, it would also not be unreasonable to assume that a certain amount of pressure had been exerted upon him over the course of his life. Pressure to do well, to excel, to meet the expectations of many other people. There are others, to be sure, but these two are of particular note for their impact on the formative years of Henry Arthur Wellesley.

He came into the world on February 6th, 1912; a squalling babe the same as any other. It did not take long for him to begin standing out from the ranks of other children his age. Precocious was the word they used. It was said when he crawled early, walked early, and again when his first words came several months before his peers. They were as the the trickle of water which presaged the deluge. Most of the years of Henry's childhood were filled with a torrent of questions, observations, and statements. From the first moment in which the boy recognized the fact that he lacked knowledge of the world around him, it became a deficiency he sought to correct.

While numbers, arithmetic, and mathematics were places in which he excelled early, it would have been more appropriate to state that they were where he excelled most. For the entirety of his youth, it seemed as though no subject were beyond his reach. His greatest struggle came from the finite nature of time and the terrible, inevitable decisions to focus more on some areas to the detriment of others. By the time he began attending King's College, Cambridge in 1930, it had become apparent that his greatest focus was on the study of mathematics. He was already multilingual, well on his way to becoming a true polyglot, by that point as well.

Of course, 18 is a challenging age for a young man, and it contributed to the fact that Henry was never at the very top of his studies. Between varied interests, girls, and existing socially, he lacked the necessary drive, determination and sacrifice to become a virtuoso in his field. His academic performance was always exceptional, but he also never came first. Having a greater interest in applying his knowledge and education than in pursuing research and a career in academia, he obtained a commission in the Royal Corps of Signals upon the completion of his university studies in 1934.

While much of his academic excellence was driven by a personal desire to excel, another important interest came about as the result of loss. His sister Abigail was only a year older and was his best friend from the moment they first laid eyes on one another. In 1920, at the tail end of the epidemic, she succumbed to the Spanish Flu. She was 9 and Henry 8 at the time. His subsequent inability to let her go led to attending a seance in the hopes of contacting her spirit several years later. That opened the door to a mild, hobbyist obsession with matters Occult which would accompany him on a permanent basis.

Henry was inspired by his father and older brother. There was a great desire to follow in their footsteps. Of course, there was no shortage of expectation toward the same levied by the adults in his life. To that end, he learned to ride and care for a horse as a young boy. Later he learned how to shoot and hunt. In school, there was fencing and chess. In short, all of the activities expected of him and then some. Unlike many of his peers, Henry kept up his practice with a multitude of hobbies throughout the course of his youth, adolescence, and schooling. He refused to be limited to only a small handful of interests, relying on coffee and sacrificing sleep to make time for them all.

Upon graduation in 1934, Henry was commissioned in the Royal Army, becoming part of the Royal Corps of Signals. He was trained at the Signal Training Centre at Catterick Camp where the mandatory riding training came quite easily to him. Subsequently, he was stationed in Cyprus in 1935, transferring to Cairo, Egypt in 1936. After the beginning of the Spanish Civil War and the establishment of the non-interference council, he was sent to the Embassy in Lisbon as a British observer to be stationed along the Portugal-Spain Border. In mid-1937 he was withdrawn with the other observers at the request of the Portuguese government. Not long after his return to England, Henry was promoted to Captain.

With the signing of the Agreement of Mutual Assistance between the United Kingdom and Poland on August 25, 1939, Captain Wellesley was sent to Warsaw along with eleven other officers and soldiers of the Royal Signals. Their mission was to ascertain what could be done for the country in the event of an attack by neighboring Nazi Germany. To avoid suspicion, the Royal Signals had been sent masquerading as civilians. They were given fake passports and improbable occupations. Henry, a man whom -in spite of his multitudinous hobbies- could not play a note of music, was described as a musician.

Unfortunately, their arrival in the city on the first of September coincided with the beginning of the German attack on Poland. With the outbreak of war, their mission shifted from one of assessment and recommendation to simply escaping the country and avoiding the Nazi and Soviet aggressors. To travel more quickly, they destroyed the equipment brought along for the initial mission and broke up into five groups. Henry took responsibility for the two youngest soldiers in the group and saw to their escape to Romania. From Bucharest they made their way to Cairo and then back home.