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15 October 2014
WW2 - People's War

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Working at Bletchley Park

by cambsaction

Contributed by 
cambsaction
People in story: 
Win Harrison
Location of story: 
Bletchley Park
Background to story: 
Civilian Force
Article ID: 
A7980050
Contributed on: 
22 December 2005

Mrs. , of , talks about her time ‘:

I was 21 years old when I started working there. I was in the Wrens and, at that time, they were looking for people for a P5, HMS Pembroke 5; people were simply assigned to it. The training place was then Stanmore and we discovered that we had been recruited highly confidentially to the place concerned with breaking German codes. We were told that from the outset and, of course, we had to sign the Official Secrets Act. We were trained to operate the bombe machines. Once the Enigma Code was broken, it made it possible to break into the actual transmissions of the German Army and Air Force. The Navy was much more difficult but eventually that was broken too.

During this time, I lived in a very nice place in the country, called North Crawley Grange and we really did very well there. Finally I went to work at an outstation and again that was in a lovely country house, with a river running through the grounds: we had the use of a boat on the river and of a pony and trap as well.

I went back to the official opening which was a public event and I was introduced to the Duke of Kent who was performing the opening; and I must say that he was most thoughtful and considerate to speak to.

Of course, the secret of Bletchley Park wasn’t revealed until 30 years afterwards; in fact, both of my parents died without knowing what I’d done during the war; I didn’t realise that myself until quite recently; I think we trained ourselves to forget what we were working upon, subconsciously, so that we kept the secret safe.

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