Veterans’ families encouraged to join community and buy a brick
Pride burns bright in relatives of the men and women whose secret work at Bletchley Park and its outstations helped shorten World War Two.
The Bletchley Park Trust is in touch with more than 1,500 Veterans of the clandestine codebreaking organisation, the Government Code and Cypher School. Many more are no longer with us.
Now, for the first time, the Trust is reaching out to its Veterans’ families to join a global community, celebrating their connection to this remarkable piece of history.
“I find it spine-tingling to walk into the Mansion knowing I’m walking where my father and my grandfather walked and never could tell anyone.” This was Anthony De Grey’s reaction to entering the Mansion when he visited Bletchley Park, the place where not only his father, John De Grey, and grandfather, Nigel De Grey, worked but also his aunt, Barbara De Grey, and her future husband, Patrick Vans. Anthony was touched to discover two photographs of his father in the guidebook. He said, “I find it difficult to hold back the tears at a time like that. Thank you for giving me the opportunity because I’m just delighted to contribute to this place, which is still far too secret.”
Candy Connolly is the granddaughter of Commander Alastair Denniston, the first Operational Director of the Government Code and Cypher School. Denniston welcomed new recruits to Bletchley Park in his office in the Mansion, which has been returned to its World War Two appearance. Candy said, “I’m very proud and amazingly fortunate to be sitting in this office of his. When you see Bletchley Park become so strong in our modern history and in modern life, and bring us the technology that we use every day, that connection is amazing.”
Michael De Grey is proud to be part of the Bletchley Park community. His grandfather, father, aunt and uncle all worked here during World War Two. Michael’s grandfather, Nigel De Grey, started out as a Codebreaker during World War One . He decoded the Zimmerman telegram, which was an important factor in drawing America into WW1. Michael said, “My grandfather is reputed to have said at a meeting in the office a few days later, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen, the toast is America because now we are going to win the war.’ My grandfather did something life saving for our country. What would have happened if they hadn’t decoded that telegram?”
Sarah Harding’s mother, Dorothy Harding, recalls her time at Bletchley Park with fond memories. Sarah said, “Recently she was reminiscing about her time there and she fell into a reverie. An hour later she said to me, “I can see the hut clearly. It’s all in front of my eyes. I can’t leave Bletchley.” “Is it a happy place,” I asked. “Oh yes,” she said.” Her mother’s World War Two work as a wireless operator and Morse slip reader means that Sarah is keen to be a part of the 21st century Bletchley Park.
Hear more from Candy, Michael, Anthony and Sarah in the Bletchley Park Podcast.
If you are related to someone who worked at Bletchley Park or one of its outstations, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to join this unique community.
Image: ©Crown. Reproduced by kind permission, Director, GCHQ
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