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Night Shift at The Admirality

by A7431347

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Catherine Windeatt
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07 June 2005

It had been a pleasant afternoon but as I made my way to work that day from my home in Islington, little did I know that history was again to be made that very night.

I worked as a Teleprinter Operator at the Admiralty in London and I was on ‘night shift’ working for 12 hours at a time starting each shift at 7pm. The teleprinters were all lined up in rows in a large room, there were about 60 machines in all, and all the operators had their own machines to ‘mind’.

The machines clattered away constantly printing out their messages, some in plain English and others in code. Some of these messages just contained routine information but others had an URGENT flag on them. These urgent messages, which were usually in code, we took from the machines and rushed off to their destinations immediately to be decoded.

On this particular night shift I was there waiting to take off any urgent messages when one came through at about 4am. As I took the coded message off I did not think then that this was a message of any more significance than all the others. It was only when I got home early that morning and heard the BBC news on the radio that I realized that that message was the one saying that the invasion had taken place, that our troops had landed!

This story was submitted to the BBC People’s War site by Kaye Larkins on behalf of Mrs Catherine Windeatt and has been added to the site with her permission. Mrs Windeatt fully understands the site’s terms and conditions.

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Women's Royal Naval Service Category
D-Day+ 1944 Category
London Category
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