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15 October 2014
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Wartime - Bletchley Park WAAF 1942 - 47.

by highgate

Contributed by 
highgate
People in story: 
Jeanne Isaacs, Cecelia Norman, Ray May, Gwen Makin, Jill Bose, Doris Bosley, Gladys Turk, Vi Gutler, Wyn Wheeler, Gladys Jones.
Location of story: 
Bletchley Park
Background to story: 
Royal Air Force
Article ID: 
A2848971
Contributed on: 
19 July 2004

TPO's Revue 'D' Sqdn. Leighton Buzzard October 1944.

After 10 weeks training at Cranwell, Lincolnshire, I was a teleprinter operator and at first posted to Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire. As by then things had quietened down a little, I had some free time, and so with some comrades, I "put on a show" at the Corn Exchange in Leighton Buzzard.
After that I was posted to Bletchley Park. I had no idea how important Bletchley Park was or what was being carried out there! But as soon as I arrived, off I was sent again, to Chigwell in Essex, whilst I was being "vetted", and at Chigwell we were taught the MORSE and MURRAY codes and how to read them from tapes coming through machines from almost everywhere! Of course this was all before computers etc.
After 3 weeks at Chigwell, I returned to Bletchley Park where I joined a team of teleprinter operators and soon settled in. Our accommodation was in Nissen huts, average 35-40 WAAFs in each one. The loos and showers were situated elsewhere and so, if we were on the late shift or nights, it meant us going out in the sometimes pouring rain, or maybe even in snow to spend a penny or to shower!
A few weeks before D-Day, all our leave and weekend passes were cancelled. We guessed something was up. It was - all hell broke loose. I was on duty the night before D-Day, and all the machines went mad - tapes came spilling out of the machines, there was barely enough hands to collect it all! These tapes had then to be transmitted to the teleprinters, the results of which were sent down to the bowels of the building to be decoded (ENIGMA).
These hectic days went on for some months and then, eventually, V-DAY! I decided to stay in the WAAF, and make a career. I was going overseas, but unfortunately my mother became unwell and I was asked to take over my mother's role in the fish and chip shop. By then it was May 1947, and so I had been in the WAAF for almost 5 years.
Jeanne Isaacs, WAAF 1942-47

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