The Movements Section of the NID (consisting of a single part-time officer) 'did not even subscribe to Lloyd's list,
which would at least have provided a daily and highly accurate record of all the world's merchant ships.
Reports of the movement of warships from the Secret Service were virtually non-existent…
The possibility of locating ships at sea was … even more remote than that of obtaining up-to-date information about them when they were in port.'
The admirals did not really want to know.
By September 1939 a new man, Norman Denning, had somewhat improved the position.
There was a card-index instead of ledgers, a direct telephone link to Lloyds, and a Tracking Room on which a plot of merchant ships positions could be up-dated.
Links with GC and CS were not so successful.
Indeed, the cryptanalytic organisation, captured by the Foreign Office after the First World War, tended to be treated as the enemy.
Denning continued to plot its reconquest by the Admiralty until February 1941.