The Bletchley Park Podcast

The Bletchley Park Podcast

United Kingdom

The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.


E60 - PQ17 Disaster in the Arctic  

July 2017 What happened when the Admiralty didn’t believe the intelligence coming from Bletchley Park? The answer; huge losses at sea. But this is not to suggest blame - hindsight can be cruel. The Tirpitz was a much-feared German battleship - it was the biggest they had built. Bletchley Park provided intelligence under the banner of Ultra - the highest level of secrecy - that it had not yet set sail. But this reassuring news was not taken on board by the naval powers that be. Convoy PQ17 was scattered, in the mistaken belief that the Tirpitz was on the move, and resulting in huge losses. We look back at this moment in World War Two, when intelligence was not enough, with help from Bletchley Park’s research historian, Dr David Kenyon. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2017 #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2, #PQ17, #History

E59 - Bill Tutte  

June 2017 Bill Tutte played a crucial role in deciphering messages between Hitler and his high command. Yet he remains one of Bletchley Park’s unsung heroes. This little-known genius went straight from studying mathematics at Cambridge to the Government Code and Cypher School, where he used his analytical brilliance to help break what was believed to be an unbreakable code. His work also paved the way for the creation of the world’s first semi-programmable computer, Colossus. His breath-taking achievements are now celebrated in a new exhibition at Bletchley Park and, on the day of his centenary, it was launched with a symposium of talks about his life and work. We hear from the day’s speakers, who included the GCHQ Departmental Historian, Tony Comer, tireless Bill Tutte Memorial Fund campaigner, Claire Butterfield, David Bedford from Keele University and the BBC security correspondent, Gordon Corera. We also speak exclusively to Bill Tutte’s family, who were there to soak up the celebration, about what it’s like to learn that a kindly uncle was an unsung war hero. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2017 #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2, #Veteran, #History

E58 - Highs and Lows  

May 2017 Highs and lows of the codebreaking operation at Bletchley Park are the subject of this month’s episode. There were a lot of lows, but it’s not all doom and gloom. We know how the war ended but, back then, the threat of invasion still hung in the air and Hitler’s forces were making great gains, not only in Europe. This was also around the time when the German Navy decided to tighten the security of its radio traffic in the Atlantic, where Allied shipping convoys were being found and sunk with horrifying success. We explore this - and the expansion and change of leadership at the Government Code and Cypher School - with Bletchley Park’s Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon and the late Captain Jerry Roberts. Also this month, Helen Leadbetter was a wireless telegrapher in Canada during World War Two, providing the codebreakers at Bletchley Park with the raw material they deciphered and turned into vital intelligence. She told her story to the broadcaster CBC, who we have to thank for letting us share it with you. And we bring you details of some of the coming summer’s exciting events at Bletchley Park, featuring live vintage music, fashion, food and Bletchley Park’s own beer, as well as plenty to challenge and entertain young would-be codebreakers. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2017 #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2,#Veteran, #History

E57 - Off Duty  

April 2017 Bletchley Park’s brand new exhibition, Off Duty, High Spirits in Low Times, is now open. It explores what happened outside of the gruelling shifts the thousands of workers did, day and night. Wartime work at the Government Code and Cypher School was stressful and tiring - but the authorities understood it was important to keep staff happy - and healthy. We’ll hear from Veterans who gave an intimate Q&A session, which launched the exhibition. Also this month, we hear memories from one of the hundreds of Veterans who’ve taken part in Bletchley Park’s Oral History project, about how she spent her precious free time. Barbara Allan, nee Grigg, remembers being in Trafalgar Square, watching Doodlebugs falling, and being told off by a passing officer for not taking cover. This was during one of many trips to London on her days off operating Bombe machines at Eastcote, where she and her friends used to enjoy cheap theatre tickets and dinners for a shilling in the crypt at St Martins in the Field. Museums at Night makes a welcome return next month, this time exploring the Night Shift. As darkness falls, visitors will get a chance to experience the hush of the huts, just as wartime workers would have done. The last Museums at Night event fell close to Halloween, and podcast producer Mark Cotton went along to see just how spooky the park could be. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2017 #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2,#Veteran, #History

E56 - Enter Japan  

March 2017 This month’s It Happened Here story is a truly global one. It’s about what happened when the war was no longer just in Europe. In December 1941, Japan entered World War Two. This meant intelligence gathering and processing became a far bigger and more complex task, which brought about the need for a significant expansion of the top secret operation at Bletchley Park. We'll hear from two of the women who worked on Japanese codes at Bletchley Park, Betty Webb and Mary Every, who had never met until they were interviewed together for a Japanese newspaper. We look back at this seismic change with Bletchley Park's Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon. As well as all that, Podcast Producer, Mark Cotton, was allowed privileged access to the Bletchley Park Archive to look at flash cards used to help hapless Codebreakers learn Japanese in double quick time. Also this month, we bring you a sneak preview of an exciting new exhibition opening soon at Bletchley Park, Off Duty. Although few official records remain of what people did in their spare time, this exhibition will use stories pieced together from letters, diaries and surviving wartime documents from Bletchley Park. Off Duty will feature a number of Veterans’ memories gathered by the Oral History Project, which help us understand what it was like, in their own words. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2017 #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2, #Veteran, #History

E55 - Unique and Precious Memories  

February 2017 This month we celebrate the unique and precious memories being gathered in Bletchley Park’s Oral History Project. Jean Kotchie was a Royal Navy Wren who worked on the noisy, smelly Bombe machines which helped speed up the daily race against time to find the Enigma settings on hundreds of networks, so that messages could be deciphered in enough time to make the intelligence operationally pin-sharp. Hers is a story of oil stains, monotony and exhaustion in the rural outreaches of the home counties; hardly what she had in mind when joining the Navy to do her bit for the war effort. It wasn’t all fun for Jean, and she looks back on a dark chapter in her young life to help future generations understand what happened. Also in this episode, the baton of celebration is passing down the generations as more and more families of Codebreakers visit Bletchley Park to absorb the atmosphere and learn more about what their ancestors achieved. One such proud family is the Hinsleys, whose parents met there during World War Two. On 7 June 1940, Harry Hinsley warned the Admiralty that German battle cruisers were about to emerge from the Baltic. His advice was ignored, and the next day the Scharnhorst sank the carrier HMS Glorious. This was but one moment in a highly distinguished career at Bletchley Park and beyond, including becoming the author of the official history of British Intelligence during World War Two. Image: ©mcfontaine #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2,#Veteran, #History

E54 - The Zimmermann Telegram  

January 2017 The Zimmermann Telegram tells the story of how the US became embroiled in World War One. The threat from Germany came home to the United States 100 years ago this month, courtesy of an intercepted telegram sent by the German Foreign Secretary, Arthur Zimmermann. The tricky thing was, British intelligence didn’t want the US finding out they were reading what was coming over those cables. That made it rather difficult to warn the US, without giving the game away and thereby doing enormous diplomatic damage. We hear from the grandsons of two key figures in this story; Nigel de Grey played his part in decrypting this all-important message in Room 40, and went on to be crucial to codebreaking during World War Two. The other, Thomas Hohler, was our man in Mexico at the time. Last summer their grandsons met up at Bletchley Park, reflecting on the significance of the telegram and their ancestors’ involvement in bringing it to light. Also in this episode, you really never do know who you might meet at Bletchley Park. Eagle-eyed listeners may have spotted the TV historian, Dan Snow, waxing lyrical on social media recently, about the wonders of the Home of the Codebreakers. He came to visit and - like most people when they first see how brilliantly the story is now told - was moved and amazed. He stopped for a chat with Bletchley Park’s very own broadcast-friendly historian, Dr David Kenyon. Throughout this year, we’ll bring you more never-heard-before interviews with veterans of Bletchley Park and its outstations, celebrating the ongoing Oral History project, as well as freshly researched stories about what the Codebreakers achieved and the difference it made to the outcome of the war, in the Bletchley Park Podcast’s exclusive It Happened Here series. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2017 #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW1, #History, #DanSnow

E53 - You might have heard of  

December 2016 Fifty years after World War Two, a farewell party was held for Veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School, at the ramshackle site where they had carried out vital intelligence work. It was about to be bulldozed for housing, but the party bolstered a burgeoning desire to save and preserve it for future generations. Then, more so than now, Codebreakers from all levels of the organisation were able to attend and enjoy the reunion. As a result, the 14 hours of audio recorded by volunteers roaming with cassette recorders that day includes some notable names, both in person and through the memories of their colleagues. They modestly recall their war work, reflecting on the significance of what they achieved. It’s worth remembering they didn’t breathe a word about what they’d done to their friends, families or loved ones - for at least 30 years. So in this, the last of three special episodes showcasing the best audio from that day and celebrating its incredible legacy, we meet some people you might have heard of. Also in this month’s episode, it’s beginning to look a lot like a 1940s Christmas at Bletchley Park, with vintage decorations throughout, festive afternoon teas and an extremely special visitor, all the way from Lapland. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust 2016 #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History

E52 - Everything but the work  

November 2016 Fun, food and friendships at 1940s Bletchley Park were among the most popular topics of conversation at the party that saved the site. Travel back 25 years for another dip into the memories shared by the Veterans that day in 1991, about everything but the work - from digs to dances. It was quite a party, carefully timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the letter sent to Churchill, asking for more resources. Sent in 1941, the letter opened the door for Bletchley Park to expand at a rapid pace, to meet the increasing demand. Churchill’s response to that letter, ‘Action This Day: Give them all they need and report to me that this has been done’, was a real turning point. The party was sneakily planned, and those who organised it ended up feeling they’d got away with something. Before we go back in time to that momentous day in October 1991, we spend more time with some of the hardy annuals who turned out to this year’s Veterans’ Reunion. It’s always a great day, and once they start sharing their memories, it’s amazing how much comes flooding back. Image: ©shaunarmstrong/ #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History

E51 - The Party that Saved Bletchley Park  

October 2016 The Party that Saved Bletchley Park takes you back 25 years, to the first Veterans’ reunion. On 19 October 1991 Bletchley Park was about to be bulldozed for housing. A group of local historians organised the first - and, they thought, last - reunion of Veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School in the very buildings where they did their war work. They believed it would be a chance for the Veterans to have one last look around the site before it was consigned to history, and bid it a fond farewell. That day, though, the Veterans lent their support to a burgeoning desire among those local historians to stop Bletchley Park being torn down, and the campaign to save it for the nation was born. Volunteers recorded 14 hours of audio that day, capturing conversations and informal interviews with the Veterans on cassette tapes. We’ve recently discovered that these audio cassettes had been digitised and were not, as feared, lost to history. The campaign to save Bletchley Park from being bulldozed was not the only thing that party started. It was also the first of what has become the highlight of the year at Bletchley Park - the annual Veterans’ Reunion. This year’s was another great day, with Veterans bringing their families to remember and celebrate their contribution. This year, for the first time, many of them were searching for their names cemented firmly into Bletchley Park’s future as well as its past, in the Codebreakers’ Wall. Next month, we’ll bring you more from the party that saved Bletchley Park. We’ll share some of the insights into what life was like - apart from the all-important work these people were doing - looking both inside and out the gates of Bletchley Park. Many thanks to Helen Legh & Tilda for capturing interviews at this year’s reunion. Thanks also go to Kerry Howard for roving reporting at this year's reunion, and you can hear some of the fascinating conversations she captured next month. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History

E50 - Action This Day  

September 2016 Action This Day! In our historic anniversary-based series, It Happened Here, we look at a paper-based act of daring which changed the course of history. Seventy five years ago Winston Churchill visited Bletchley Park, amid the utmost secrecy. He understood how important the intelligence being produced was, and valued it highly. He gave a morale-boosting speech to the Codebreakers, and we hear from Sir Arthur Bonsall, who stumbled across the PM on his way to lunch. Once the euphoria of the VIP visit had worn off, a group of young men who were feeling the weight of the task on their shoulders cooked up a plan to try to channel Churchill’s enthusiasm for Bletchley Park, to help them overcome administrative and fiscal issues they were facing on the front line of codebreaking. A letter signed by Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Hugh Alexander and Stuart Milner-Barry, politely outlined the need for more staff and resources. One passage read: “The trouble to our mind is that as we are a very small section with numerically trivial requirements it is very difficult to bring home to the authorities finally responsible either the importance of what is done here or the urgent necessity of dealing promptly with our requests.” Stuart Milner-Barry of Hut 6 was volunteered by his colleagues to deliver the letter to Downing Street. It was 40 years before he saw the Churchill’s memo: “Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done.” The original memo lives in The National Archive and a copy is on display in the Visitor Centre at Bletchley Park. Then we fast forward 50 years to 1991 and the party that saved Bletchley Park. The very first reunion for Veterans started as a fond farewell to a semi derelict site that was about to be bulldozed, but turned into a call to action to save it. Fourteen hours of audio recordings made that day that were feared lost, were in fact safely stashed away in Bletchley Park’s Archive, and digitised only recently. From next month, we’ll bring you highlights. The episode also features an exclusive interview with Geoffrey Welchman, whose grandfather Gordon was Head of Hut 6 and reputedly the instigator of the letter to Churchill. Find out what happened when Geoffrey visited Bletchley Park for the first time, and discovered how well celebrated his grandfather is. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History, #Churchill

E49 - Enigma from the other side  

August 2016 Hear from a German Enigma operator for the first time in the August 2016 episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Enigma from the other side. Sharing her unique story as part of Bletchley Park’s Oral History Project, Irmgard Enge, later Copley, tells how she was part of a secret operation to make sure the Allies did not find out how badly German aeroplanes and munitions factories were being damaged by bombs. She also recalls friendly - and less friendly - French people living near the air base where she was posted. Once the war had ended, Irmgard reluctantly agreed to go to a dance with her friend. She hadn’t wanted to go because there would be British soldiers there and she didn’t want to dance with the enemy. But her friend persuaded her and there she met her husband, an English soldier. Also in this month’s episode, we meet a man who grew up just beyond the boundary fence of Bletchley Park during World War Two. He joined a long queue in the rain to have treasures valued for the BBC antiques show, Flog It. The show’s host, Paul Martin, reveals which items he tries to persuade people to keep, going somewhat against the programme’s underlying principle. Last but not least, change is afoot at the hugely successful 1940s Boutique. The day long workshop and tutorial is opening its doors to customers who want a spot of pampering, without the DIY. As well as workshops on how to create the iconic looks of the 1940s and 1950s, the experts themselves will be styling customers’ hair and make-up; all in the tranquil surroundings of the Victorian mansion which became the site of some of WW2’s most secret work. Thanks to The Three Belles for the music in this episode, you can find them at Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History, #Retro, #FlogIt

E48 - Pinches and Breaks  

July 2016 Dive into stories of stolen intelligence treasures which helped turn the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic in the July 2016 episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Pinches and Breaks. As part of the historic anniversary-based series, It Happened Here, we hear from Arnold Hargreaves, a seaman aboard HMS Bulldog, who boarded the captured German submarine, U110, and still has the spoils today. An Enigma machine, codebooks and other vital documents were among the haul taken from the U-boat before it sunk. Bletchley Park’s Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon delves into the story of HMS Bulldog and other key pinches, which helped the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park glean vital naval intelligence. Genius alone was not enough. Pinches - in other words, stealing stuff from the enemy - were vital in breaking naval codes. Also in this month’s episode, Bletchley Park celebrated Armed Forces Weekend in style this year, with a themed weekend and a very special giveaway. Two thousand free tickets were given to military personnel and their families, bands played throughout the weekend and there were stalls and activities to entertain visitors of all ages. Hear from some of the families - military and civilian - enjoying the festivities. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History

E47 - No Sleep on VE Day  

June 2016 No Sleep on VE Day, a brand new episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, is out now. Cynthia Humble was an intercept operator in the ATS from 1944 and was stationed at Forest Moor in the Yorkshire countryside. There she listened intently to enciphered Morse signals which were whisked off to a place she and her colleagues knew only as Station X. Her memories of the intense work, the somewhat rationed but sparkling social life and how she and her watch did not sleep a wink on VE Day, despite it falling between gruelling night shifts, are all in this month’s episode. Bletchley Park’s Oral History project has been running for five years, gathering more than three hundred rich and detailed interviews so far, with Veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park and its outstations all over the world. This rich archive is ever growing as the project continues apace. Born into an army family, Cynthia was keen to do her bit for the war effort, so she joined up at the grand old age of seventeen and a half. She went on to make memories which have lasted a lifetime. We take you to the opening of the second phase of the ground-breaking exhibition about codebreaking during World War One, The Road to Bletchley Park, which has been extended to tell stories of the impact this pioneering work had on the war at sea, on land and in the air. It also touches on the tribulations of effectively sharing intelligence without revealing its source. Phase one of The Road to Bletchley Park explores some of the people involved in WW1 codebreaking who went on to be crucial to the successes of the Government Code and Cypher School during World War Two. Now the second phase, which extends the exhibition in the Visitor Centre at Bletchley Park, explores stories including the largest naval battle of WW1 and the secret telegram which brought the USA into the conflict. Podcast producer Mark Cotton took a sneaky first peek alongside the Friends of Bletchley Park, at their exclusive preview evening. Also, we hear why another night of The Imitation Game has been laid on at the Open Air Cinema in September. The Oscar-winning film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Codebreaker, mathematician and all-round genius Alan Turing will be shown on the lawn at the uniquely historic site where a lot of the action is set, and key scenes were filmed. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now. Image: ©Cynthia Humble, nee Grossman #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History, #WW1, #AudioMo, #AudioMo2016

E46 - The Bismarck  

May 2016 This month in the Bletchley Park Podcast’s It Happened Here series, we tell the story of The Bismarck. The iconic German battleship was sunk by the Royal Navy 75 years ago. While this clearly did not happen at Bletchley Park, but in the Atlantic Ocean, codebreaking and some of the pioneering techniques developed as part of it played a crucial role in locating the flagship of the German fleet. Bletchley Park’s Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon, explains how work going on in wooden huts in the Buckinghamshire countryside contributed to the ship’s destruction, which was vital for the Allies, both strategically and symbolically. Jane Fawcett worked in Hut 6 from 1940. She recalls “It may be the most important thing that any of us have ever done in our lives. We didn’t realise it at the time, but we do now.” Hear about the special Bletchley Park beer being launched at the Fathers’ Day BBQ next month, and there’s news of how the ever-popular 1940s Boutique is expanding. Also in this month’s episode, Dermot Turing opened up his family archive to give a rare insight into the man who’s become a figurehead for the breath-taking achievements of the Bletchley Park Codebreakers, his uncle, Alan Turing. Alan Turing died before Dermot was born but his legend looms large in the family and Dermot has written a book, debunking some of the myths that have grown up about this intriguing man, and giving a unique family perspective on his remarkable work and the tragic end to his life. We hear highlights of Dermot’s talk at Bletchley Park, sharing some of what’s in his book, Prof: Alan Turing Decoded. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now. Image: ©shaunarmstrong/ In memory of Jane Fawcett, who passed away on 21 May 2016. #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History, #Turing, #Bismarck

E45 - Punch Cards, Porridge and a Pittance  

April 2016 This episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Punch Cards, Porridge and a Pittance, celebrates five years since Bletchley Park’s Oral History project began in earnest. This rich archive has grown to more than three hundred interviews and this month we begin to celebrate its fifth anniversary, by sharing the very first interview that was carried out under its auspices. Doris Marshall, nee Phillips, lived just outside the boundaries of Bletchley Park and her family welcomed a number of billetees who worked for the Government Code and Cypher School. They suggested to her when she was coming of age that she too might work at this highly interesting, top secret place. Throughout this year, the Bletchley Park Podcast will bring memories from more of these fascinating oral history interviews out of storage for the world to hear, watch and read. We still want to hear from anyone who worked as part of the Bletchley Park operation and has not yet been interviewed. If you know of someone, email and mention the Oral History Project. This month we also bring you details of the exciting new open air cinema at Bletchley Park, which will show the Oscar-winning film, The Imitation Game as well as the World War Two classic, The Great Escape, over two nights in September. Last but not least, a heartfelt letter of thanks for the vital intelligence provided by Bletchley Park has been brought out of the shadows, 70 years after it was written. Eisenhower’s 1945 letter to Sir Stewart Menzies hung on the wall in the top secret Chief’s office at MI6 for several years, inspiring today’s Bletchley Park Trust Chairman Sir John Scarlett during his tenure. It is now on public display for the first time, at Bletchley Park, and we take you to the launch with Sir John, GCHQ Departmental Historian, Tony Comer, Bletchley Park’s Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon and the NSA’s Historian, David A Hatch. All this is waiting for your ears in this month’s episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Punch Cards, Porridge and a Pittance. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now. Image: Freeborn Machine Section Hollerith Punch Room, Block C ©Crown. Reproduced by kind permission, Director, GCHQ #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History, #Eisenhower

Extra - E49 - Bletchley's Foreign Relations with Tony Comer Part 2  

March 2016 In November 2015, the GCHQ Departmental Historian made a rare public appearance as part of the Bletchley Park Presents lecture series. Tony gave a talk titled International Partnerships - Bletchley's Foreign Relations. In this second part of his talk he picks up the story with the fundamental work on Enigma carried out by Polish Codebreakers in the years running up to the start of World War Two and the start of the UK US relationship. The simultaneous management of different levels of relationship with different countries added an often unsuspected level of complexity, and the need gradually to decouple from some relationships as the war in Europe came to an end, needed careful management. This talk added rich detail to the Bletchley Park story. Bletchley Park’s Polish Memorial Image: ©shaunarmstrong/ #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #History, #WW2

Its significance resonates down to today  

March 2016 Dr David A Hatch, NSA Historian, explains the huge historic significance of the letter sent by General Dwight D Eisenhower, the five-star general in the United States Army during World War Two who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, to the Chief of MI6, Stuart Menzies, at the end of the war, thanking him for the intelligence produced by Bletchley Park. In it, Eisenhower says “The intelligence … has saved thousands of British and American lives.” The letter is now on public display for the first time, at Bletchley Park. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Open daily. Image: ©Bletchley Park Trust #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2, #History

E44 - Bombe Girls  

March 2016 In this month’s brand new episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Bombe Girls, meet some of the trailblazing women who were assigned to Special Duties X or posted to HMS Pembroke 5 when they joined the Wrens (Women’s Royal Naval Service or WRNS). These women found themselves at Bletchley Park - or, in many cases - at one of its huge, industrial outstations on the fringes of London - operating state of the art machines created to speed up the process of finding the daily Enigma settings on many different networks. They’d never heard of Enigma and didn’t know how their work fit into the wider intelligence operation, but they understood how important it was - and how essential it was that they kept it secret. Hear from the inspirational Helen Legh, a BBC radio presenter who’s been undergoing treatment for brain tumours. She took time out to indulge in some vintage pampering at the ever-glamorous 1940s Boutique. A cracking Easter approaches at Bletchley Park and this month’s episode tells you what’s being laid on for children including trails, workshops and the chance to win a Suzuki Vitara. Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Open daily. Thanks to The Three Belles for the music featured in this episode. You can find them at Image: ©Crown. Reproduced by kind permission, Director, GCHQ #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #WW2Veteran, #History, #AlanTuring

Extra - E48 - Bletchley's Foreign Relations with Tony Comer Part 1  

March 2016 In November 2015, the GCHQ Departmental Historian made a rare public appearance as part of the Bletchley Park Presents lecture series. Tony gave a talk titled International Partnerships - Bletchley's Foreign Relations. In this first part of his talk he examined how foreign partnerships became an integral part of British signals intelligence shortly before World War Two. Although parts of the story are told, the meeting with the Poles in Warsaw in July 1939, and the arrival of the Americans in February 1941, for example, the number of different relationships is greater than many people realise. The simultaneous management of different levels of relationship with different countries added an often unsuspected level of complexity, and the need gradually to decouple from some relationships as the war in Europe came to an end, needed careful management. This talk added rich detail to the Bletchley Park story. Image: ©shaunarmstrong/ #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #Enigma, #History, #WW1

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