Queen unveils Bletchley tribute to WWII codebreakers


The Queen pays tribute to the codebreakers who worked at the top secret Bletchley Park and broke the German Enigma codes in WWII.

The Queen has paid tribute to the codebreakers who worked at Bletchley Park, the secret cypher base in WWII which broke the German Enigma codes.

Bletchley Park Bletchley Park houses the National Code Centre and the National Museum of Computing

She said it was impossible to over-state the "deep sense of admiration, gratitude and national debt" owed to such a "remarkable group of people".

The Queen unveiled a memorial to remember those codebreakers who have died.

Some of the surviving codebreakers were present for the event.

Historians estimate that breakthroughs at Bletchley shortened the war by two years.

Though the role codebreaking played in the war is now widely celebrated in films such as Enigma, for 30 years after the end of the war Bletchley Park's role remained a secret.


Its existence was one of the most closely guarded secrets in WWII; its contribution to the Allied victory in that conflict was such that one historian has said that without it, the war would have lasted for at least two more years.

It was at Bletchley Park that some of Britain's best crossword experts, mathematicians and chess champions wrestled with the supposedly unbreakable German radio messages sent with their Enigma encryption machines.

That they did break the Enigma codes made an incalculable contribution to the battle of the Atlantic, allowing the movement of U-Boats to be discovered

Simon Greenish, director of the Bletchley Park Trust, said: "Nobody knew what had gone on at Bletchley Park for in excess of 30 years after the war, and only then the stories started to come out. So I think there's certainly an argument that the codebreakers are being recognised late in the day for what they did.

"There is no doubt that it shortened the war by several years and saved many many lives in the process," he said.

"Some historians are beginning to think that perhaps it was the bit that made the difference."

During her visit, the Queen saw the restoration of a Colossus machine and an Enigma display, before seeing a rebuilt working Turing Bombe machine which was used to crack the codes.

More than 9,000 staff worked at the Government Code and Cypher school, as Bletchley Park was known.

Two years ago commemorative badges were awarded by the government to surviving staff.

The memorial was designed and sculpted by the artist Charles Gurrey.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    A more accurate historical approach and a mention to the polish mathematicians would be at least fair. In December 1932, the Polish Cipher Bureau first broke Germany's Enigma ciphers. Five weeks before the outbreak of World War II, on 25 July 1939, in Warsaw, the Polish Cipher Bureau gave Enigma-decryption techniques and equipment to French and British military intelligence. Honour ALL!!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Justly venerated,Bletchley and all the cryptographers that worked there stand at the crossroads of world history,but especially Alan Turing,surely one of our greatest wartime heroes and scientific figures. But Britains shame of his being driven to suicide for being gay echoes through the decades as well.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    I visited Bletchley only a few days ago. I am so pleased that the Queens Visit will give this magnificent place a boost. Turing was a genius & someone we should celebrate more. He's almost our Joan of Arc.

    As for fame & reward, I think that he would of been content that he did his job like the millions of other Britons, Commonwealth & Allies.

    Honour them all by visiting Bletchley.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    When I led the campaign for the Turing apology in 2009 I made sure that HM The Queen was aware of the campaign and treatment of Alan Turing. I did receive a reply from Buckingham Palace. Today's visit recognizes all that worked at Bletchley Park during the war and more recently to preserve the memory.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    One of the less told stories about Bletchley is that it weas the home of the worlds first electronic computer. A claim made by the USA for many years, but declassified information revealed the truth (the machine had been ordered destroyed by Churchill). I often wonder what would have happend had Alan Turing not been persecuted and the machine destoyed. Would Silicon Valley have been in the UK ?


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