Beds, Herts & Bucks

Historic Eisenhower letter praising code breakers goes on display

The letter Image copyright Bletchley Park
Image caption General Dwight D Eisenhower, who later became President of the United States, praised the work of code breakers at Bletchley Park

A secret letter from the Supreme Allied Commander in World War Two praising the work of code breakers at Bletchley Park is to go on public display.

The personal thank you letter from General Dwight D Eisenhower was written to Sir Stewart Menzies, wartime chief of the Secret Intelligence Service.

In the letter, Eisenhower said intelligence gathered saved thousands of British and American lives.

The letter from the future US president is to go on display at Bletchley.

Image copyright Nic Rigby

Dated 12 July 1945, Eisenhower expressed his "heartfelt admiration and sincere thanks" in the letter, stating that the intelligence from Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire had been "of priceless value to me".

He added the work had "saved countless British and American lives" and had "contributed to the speed with which the enemy was routed and eventually forced to surrender".

The Bletchley codebreakers

Image copyright Rex Features
  • Bletchley Park was the base for the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) during WW2
  • Its work included decoding German army, navy and airforce communications
  • More than 10,000 people worked there during the war, of which at least two-thirds were women

Poland's Enigma codebreakers (July 2014)

The letter was in the office of the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service during the tenure of Sir John Scarlett.

He said: "I was proud of this letter, but only came to appreciate the full significance of Eisenhower's words after taking over as chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust in 2012."

Dr David A Hatch, a historian with the US National Security Agency, said: "Within five years of this letter, Dwight Eisenhower became the first commanding General of NATO and within two years after that, he became the President of the United States.

"He used intelligence well (and) made improvements. It all traces back to the time of Bletchley Park that this letter represents."

The letter is on display in museum's visitor centre in Block C.

Image copyright Alamy
Image caption The recreated WW2 operations room at the Bletchley Park mansion

Related Topics