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Memorials at Bletchley Park

The codebreakers at Bletchley Park were indebted to the Polish secret service for helping break the Enigma code and for smuggling an Enigma machine to them just as war broke out.

At the entrance to the courtyard of houses seen in yesterday’s post lies a memorial to three of these Polish contributors. In Polish and English it commemorates, “the work of Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Różycki and Henryk Zygalski, mathematicians of the Polish intelligence service, in first breaking the Enigma code. Their work greatly assisted the Bletchley Park code breakers and contributed to the Allied victory in World War II.”

Polish Memorial, Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, Polish Memorial

Nearer the main museum building is this memorial to those who worked at Bletchley Park. The letters read, “WE ALSO SERVED.”

Memorial, Bletchley Park

Reverse of memorial:-

Bletchley Park Memorial

Pigeon War Heroes

World War 2 wasn’t all technology driven.

One of the exhibits at Bletchley Park featured the contribution pigeons made to message carrying.

The pigeons were parachuted into occupied Europe using contraptions like this:-

Pigeon Parachute, Bletchley Park

Information board:-

Pigeon Information Board, Bletchley Park

Memorial to a pigeon winner of a gallantry medal. They also served:-

Pigeon Post Poster, Bletchley Park

Acccomodation at Bletchley Park

There were few facilities at Bletchley Park other than the working spaces. They did have a tennis court and there was the possibility of picnics etc on the lawns.

To simulate this outdoor loudspeakers at the modern museum play voices as if there’s a tennis match or picnic going on.

Some of the workers lived (just slept probably) off-site but there was some accomodation for others.

These buildings enclosing a courtyard were beyond the tennis court:-

Bletchley Park Cottages

Side of building to left above:-

Cottages, Bletchley Park

There was a lovely stained glass window in the side wall here:-

Bletchley Park Cottages window

Other side of courtyard:-

Bletchley Park Cottages

In courtyard to right of arch in photo above:-

Bletchley Park Cottages,

Arch into courtyard:-

Bletchley Park Cottages

Vehicles at Bletchley Park

A couple of the exhibits at Bletchley Park related to the film Enigma. (I see from that link that the model submarine used in the film was also donated to Bletchley Park. This may be the model which is near the car park and can be seen in the third photo in this post.)

Austin 18 Ambulance:-

Austin Ambulance Information Board, Bletchley Park

Austin Ambulance, Bletchley Park

Sunbeam Talbot (note “blackout” headlights):-

Sunbeam Talbot Information Board, Bletchley Park

Sunbeam Talbot, Bletchley Park

As I recall this Packard saloon car was used by Bletchley operatives if they had to travel about the country. A lot of the messages from listening stations were carried to Bletchley by motor bike – see photos on the wall behind the Packard:-

Packard Saloon Car, Bletchley Park

This is one of the sentry boxes where the despatch riders would have to check in:-

Bletchley Park Sentry Box

Huts at Bletchley Park

Most of the work at Bletchley Park was carried out in huts.

Hut corridor:-

Bletchley Park Hut Corridor, WW2 codebreaking

Room with security reminder poster:-

Bletchley Park Hut Poster , WW2, codebreaking

The famous “Careless Talk Costs Lives” slogan and First Aid box:-

Poster in Hut at Bletchley Park

Another room in one of the huts:-

Room in Hut, Bletchley Park

Alan Turing’s office:-

Alen Turing's Office, Bletchley Park, codebreaking, WW2

Alan Turing's Office, Bletchley Park, codebreaking, WW2

Statue of Alan Turing, made in slate. (This is situated in the main building, where most of the Enigma machines are displayed.)

Alan Turing Statue, Bletchey Park

Bletchley Park, Other Code Breaking

It wasn’t merely European languages that were decoded during WW2. Japanese codes were also broken. One of the decoders taught himself Japanese in weeks to help do so.

These two exhibits refer to the efforts in Japanese.

Index Cards for Japanese words:-

Index Cards Japanese, Bletchley Park, codebreaking ,WW2

Captured Japanese flag:-

Japanese Flag, Bletchley Park

This irreverent cartoon referring to BP (Bumph Palace; aka Bletchley Park) is about all the paperwork etc involved in the war effort:-

Bumph Palace Exhibit, Bletchley Park

Encryption Machines, Bletchley Park

Most of the endeavours at Bletchley Park were devoted to the decipherment of messages encrypted by machine – most famously the Enigma; but others were more imprortant to crack

An Enigma machine:-

An Enigma Machine, Bletchley Park

Enigma machine with explanation:-

enigma machine, WW2, Bletchley Park, codebreaking

A cabinet of Enigmas:-

enigma machines, Bletchley Park, WW2 ,codebreaking

A Cabinet of Enigma Machines at Bletchley Park

Remains of a Hungarian Enigma machine dug up from the earth somewhere in Europe:-

Remains of Hungarian Enigma Machine

4 Rotor Enigma machine:-

3 Rotor Enigma Machine, Bletchley Park

Enigma + diagram:-

Enigma Machine + Disagram, Bletchley Park

Hagelin Encryption Machine, Italian Naval cypher machine. Plus a German hand cypher sheet:-

Hagelin Encryption Machine, Bletchley Park

The enigma was cumbersome to use, requiring three operators, the typist, the noter down and the telegraphist – and required a similar number of personnel at the receiving end.

The Germans began to produce more complicated machines – with more encryption rotors and a faster transmission system.

Lorenz T 32 Encryption Machine. Amazingly Bill Tutte managed to work out how this machine worked only from the form of the messages it encrypted:-

Lorenz T 32 Encryption Machine, Bletchley Park

Siemens & Halske T52 Cypher Machine. Messages were typed in and encrypted automatically then transmitted by teleprinter to be decoded by the reverse machine at the other end. (The use of ordinary teleprinter letter encoding in this system was a weakness that the decoders were able to exploit):-

Siemens & Halske T52 Cypher Machine

Mansion Interior, Bletchley Park

One of the rooms here had an exhibition devoted to Bill Tutte, whose mathematical expertise helped to crack the fiendish Lorenz cypher (called Tunny by the codebreakers.) Tutte managed to describe how the Lorenz encryption machine worked without ever having seen an example of one.

The mansion is really lovely inside.

Entrance hall:-

Bletchley Park Mansion entrance


Bletchley Park Mansion Library 1

Mansion Library, Bletchley Park, codebreaking, WW2

Bletchley Park Mansion Library 4

Ornamental plastered ceiling:-

Bletchley Park Mansion room & ceiling

Another ornate ceiling:-

Bletchley Park, Mansion ornate ceiling

Bletchley Park, Mansion glass ceiling

One of the rooms has some lovely wood panelling:-

Bletchley Park, Mansion wood Panelling

Tiling on wall:-

Tiling in Mansion, Bletchley Park

Windows onto park:-

Windows, Bletchley Park Mansion

Great War Exhibits at Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes (very near) is famous for the codebreaking efforts of its occupants during World War 2.

As a museum though it is so much more. It is one of the best I have ever visited. We spent nearly the whole day there.

And it is not devoted merely to the breaking of the Enigma (and related) WW2 codes.

The recommended route through on our (Covid distanced) trip took us first into the section covering Bletchley Park’s Great War predecessor – the famous Admiralty Room 40.

An amusing exhibit was this one of a magazine Room 40’s denizens produced for themselves to document their activities:-

Alice Magazine, Bletchley Park

Room 40’s workers were the “brightest and best”:-

The Right People

This exhibit lists the members of Room 40 who went on to the Government Code and Cypher School, Bletchley Park’s predecessor:-

Intelligence Roll, Room 40

I also liked the cover of this book on the Battle of Jutland:-

Jutland Book Cover, Bletchley Park

These document the German Naval bombardment of Scarborough:-

Great War German Attack on Scarborough

Scarborough Attack Memorabilia, Bletchley Park

The German Raid on Scarborough

Room 40’s greatest achievement was the decoding of the Zimmerman Telegram:-

Zimmerman Telegram

Its contents, with its invitation to Mexico to invade the US and promise to reward it with US territory, were the major reason the US entered the war against Germany.

Decoded Zimmerman Telegram

Art Deco Style at Bletchley Park

A lot of the buildings used during the Second World War in Britain had elements of deco style. Not surprisingly, the era had not really passed when the war began.

So it wasn’t entirely unexpected that when I rolled up at the car park at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, home of the WW2 British code-breaking effort, last September, the first buildings I saw were in that flat-roofed, Critall-windowed mode.

Buildings by car park. These are the sorts of things you see at former WW2 airfields:-

Wartime Buildings? Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, External Building

This submarine model beside the road from the car park to Bletchley Park presumably commemorates the code-breakers’ role in winning the Atlantic war:-

Submarine Model, Bletchley Park

This is a more modern building in that wartime style but I don’t think it’s part of Bletchley Park:-

External Building, Bletchley Park

These modernised ones were all inside the Bletchley Park museum site:-

Bletchley Park Building

Modernised Building, Bletchley Park

Modernised Wartime Buildings, Bletchley Park,

One of the internal exhibits was this photograph of the impeccably Art Deco Hollerith Factory where the calculating machines known as Bombes, which tried out the variations of the intercepted Enigma messages to get a code match were manufactured:-

Art Deco Hollerith Factory Photograph, Bletchley Park,

Hollerith building and interior:-

Hollerith Factory and Interior

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