Whilst away at half term we also visited Bletchley Park, home of the code-breakers of world war 2. A fascinating place and somewhere I’ve always wanted to see, Oscar wasn’t keen until we got there and then was intrigued with lots of code cracking and solving puzzles.
It was quite a small house and grounds with ‘huts’ that up to 10,000 people lived and worked in during the war. It was a top-secret facility and even the locals didn’t know exactly what it was being used for but would have noticed the amount of people coming and going especially at shift change time.
When people where recruited they had to sign the official secrets act and were warned that divulging information even to family would lead to prison, they have had stories of children discovering parents not only worked there but could speak and translate many different languages.
Most of the first recruits came from Oxford and Cambridge universities but by the beginning of the war 75% were women recruited from the Women’s Services (WRNS, ATS, WAAF)
It was amazing to see the Enigma machine and to play with a replica to understand how it worked and just how complicated it really was. The most famous code breakers were Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Bill Tutte, who built the Bombe the machine that eventually broke the Enigma code.
The film Imitation game was the story of Alan Turing and the making of the Bombe and Bletchley Park.