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- 24 August 2004
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A Year at Bletchley Park
As a young twenty year old, I was whisked away to serve my country at a “ hush hush” place in Buckinghamshire.
First impressions; corded- trousered, bearded young men with vague expressions strolled through the extensive grounds, (obviously with a lot on their minds).
I was settled to work in Block E on a strange looking typewriter, (with a difference). This had drums which revolved, having been programmed with the required day’s code set up. Hopefully, a string of four letter groups would emerge from a right hand paper spool and we were off.
We worked three shifts-- — days, nights and evenings. On night shift, in all weathers, we would stroll round the park to the canteen at 4am for a meal served by WRNS. One evening I remember moving swiftly away from nesting geese on the pond. We had disturbed them.
I billeted in Bedford town with a young family. Others were not so lucky and stayed in small surrounding villages with often no running water.
For recreation we had a small cinema which was constantly breaking down! “Dangerous Moonlight” I recall, had several breaks! We had the BBC located in Bedford with wonderful concerts including Sir Adrian Boult and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Of course there was a large contingent of American airmen stationed in several airfields around, so there were dances to attend. A certain Major Glen Miller arrived in Bedford with his large orchestra and we would move round the floor to “In the Mood” on many occasions.
In the lovely mansion at Bletchley Park they would put on shows by the “inmates” and on one occasion, I was looking for a friend in the house, only to be greeted by wild Scottish dancing, complete with kilts and appropriate screams!
My family at home in Merton knew very little of my life during this time.
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