AGRA's Three-Counties Network Group visited the home of the WWII code-breakers in November
Nine members of the Herts, Beds and Bucks Network Group visited Bletchley Park on Friday 18th November 2016. Bletchley Park is famous for being the centre where the decryption of German Radio Messages took place during World War 2. Initially we were taken to the Archives Department where one of the Archivists showed us a replica Enigma Machine to explain how the encryption of German messages was achieved. Examples of the messages and the way they were recorded were shown. There were also detailed records of enemy action included in the messages which enabled Allied Intelligence to understand German activities such as the release of torpedoes in the North Atlantic and whether they had hit the allied shipping.
The importance of the work of Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman was explained. Both of them were brilliant mathematicians. Turing designed the machines called Bombes which assisted in the decryption process and Welchman made some modifications which increase the speed of the work.
A Bombe machine has been recreated and was demonstrated by volunteers.
The social life of those at Bletchley Park was also referred to especially the Amateur Dramatics company. Posters and programmes of performances were available to see in the archive.
There is no definitive list of personnel who served at Bletchley Park during World War 2. However, the archive has prepared a Roll of Honour on the Bletchley Park web site from records they have and from information supplied by veterans and their families. In 1945 there were 10,000 people working at Bletchley Park and in the outstations.
Lunch was taken together in the Hut 4 café and in the afternoon the various huts where decryption took place were visited.
Photo: Round the table L-R are Carolyn Boucher, Cathy Soughton, Anthony De Maillet, Simon Hutchison, Bletchley's archivist, Antony Marr, Sally Hilliard, Sue & Mike Trenchard and John Fowler (behind the camera).