Saturday 18 July 2015

Bardot, Bombe and Barbie

A jam packed boating day today, we did a lock, one whole lock and it was only about 6" deep or should I say high as we went up for the first time since Stoke Bruerne.

Nice to see Sickle again, seen first at The Braunston Vintage Boat Show.

Me being Bridget Bardot.
Much later after mooring up and lunch we got out the four Bromptons which in itself is a small feat, three in the cupboard meant for two and from next to the bed!  

Finally ready with cameras and tea money...

we set off on our trip? Any Guesses to where?

"The Mansion"

Yes, Bletchley Park.  For my new Reader in NZ, this was the hub of the British code breaking during WW2.  So secret was it that none of us knew of its existence until about forty years after the war finished.  Now many books have been written and films made but David & I have wanted to visit here for about 20 years or so.  

Inside The Mansion is a pretty good mock up using the props from the most recent film The Imitation Game;

The bar where Keira and Benedict had their Eureka moment...

Alan Turing's nephew had an "Extra's" role in the bar scene.

The real life huts are still here, they are stark, cold in winter and hot in summer, furnished with dreadful stoves that smoked like mad went out and provided little heat. The work was intense, non stop and went on for eight hour shifts.

Airless rooms, curtains drawn for secrecy.

Mock up of messages intercepted to be deciphered. 

There were testimonies on the audio guide from the then young women who were recruited with different skills, maybe German speakers but civilians who came to work here for years, now I know they weren't being shot at but still it was gutsy work and the people involved really didn't know what part they played in the great scheme of things.  

Higher up in the organisation worked WRENS later when bigger and faster machines were developed to go through all the possibilities of the messages.  Now that is the nub of what I understand, it limited I know, but its not really surprising really as the British had recruited the best mathematical brains from the universities in the country plus crossword nuts and the like, at it's height over eight thousand people were employed there and at other places dotted around.  They all did keep the secrets of Bletchley as it was never bombed and more to the point the Germans never knew even knew their Enigma machines had been cracked.

1940's bikes in the bike sheds, we used one of the old bike sheds for our bikes.

The Bombe machine, this was the incredible machine developed by Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, this meant that there was the real possibility of reading the encoded messages each day before the Germans changed their code settings again every 24 hours.  Sometimes they did and sometimes they didn't.

Early wooden huts were added to by these brick buildings

 So looking at this early machine above, you can see the three wheels which were turned by the operator.  The German military added to it lots of plug-ins which can be seen behind the bottom flap.

This later machine had been further modified by the adding of two more wheels.  But the team, the huge team at Bletchley Park and other places beat it.

Another great star was Tommy Flowers.  HERE  

Lesley doing the actions and Joe telling an extremely rude joke after Barbie Queuing for us all.

"Le Gang"

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