Found in: World War Two Books
All Frontline Books
Published: 23 January 2013
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Bletchley Park, or 'Station X', was home to the most famous codebreakers of the Second World War. The 19th-century mansion was the key centre for cracking German, Italian and Japanese codes, providing the allies with vital information. After the war, many intercepts, traffic-slips and paperwork were burned (allegedly at Churchill's behest). The truth about Bletchley was not revealed until F. Winterbotham's The Ultra Secret was published in 1974.
However, nothing until now has been written on the German Air Section. In Cracking the Luftwaffe Codes, former WAAF (Women's Auxiliary Air Force) Gwen Watkins brings to life the reality of this crucial division.
In a highly informative, lyrical account, she details her eventful interview, eventual appointment at the 'the biggest lunatic asylum in Britain', methods for cracking codes, the day-to-day routine and decommissioning of her section.
Britain at War
Military History Monthly
The Guards Magazine
Louis Kruh, Esq in Cryptologia
Offer Price: £13.59
But it was not any such elevated motive as the accurate rendering of an important piece of past history that goaded me into actually beginning to write; no, it was a much baser impulse. I, and many former Bletchleyites, had been horrified by Robert Harris's novel Enigma, which professed to be an intensively researched account, but was actually a farrago of errors, inaccuracies and impossibilities. But as I wrote, I saw that the book was turning into an elegy for a lost time, and for places and friends I had loved.
There were very few rules at BP. The one Rule which overrode all others was Silence; silence about your own work except to others engaged in it; silence, preferably ignorance, about the work of others, and SILENCE about the Park itself. That would be impossible now; Twitter, Facebook, investigative journalism, would soon be on the track of anything secret. But the great silence was kept then; as far as I know, no single person ever broke it until, sometime in the 70s, the secret emerged. To have lived through a time when thousands of ordinary (and many very extraordinary people) were voluntarily keeping silence for their country's sake seems to me almost unbelievable, and a time to remember until the history of Britain is forgotten altogether.