Nearly 10,000 people were working at Bletchley park at the end of WWII. They worked in three shifts of eight hours around the clock. 3,000 per shift, how did they keep that a secret? As far as the rest of the country knew, Bletchley was a hunting lodge, not a government site whose sole mission was to find out what their enemies in WWII were doing. The previous owners were trying to sell the property but the real estate market hadn’t really recovered since the great depression. Then the Government stepped in and did a compulsory acquisition. The Australian Airforce did the same thing to my great grandfather; you don’t actually have a choice about selling or what they pay you, and you don't get it back when they've finished with it either!
Bletchley Park is about an hour north of London, it was chosen as it is near a train line that ran between Oxford and Cambridge. This was important because of the calibre of people they wanted to recruit to work in the Government Code and Cypher School – named Station X as it was the 10th site. So it wasn't the only place like this.
|Everyone had to ride bicycles as there was petrol rationing|
|the motorcyclists brought the messages to Bletchley Park|
|Video on the walls reinacted similar conversations that may have occurred|
|An old Enigma without the plugs|
The staff, who were mostly women, were billeted with local families or they stayed at an Abbey close by.
Pigeons were dropped by plane over enemy territory for double agents to send back information, they would then fly back to Bletchley park. The Germans trained peregrine falcons to attack the British birds, in response the pigeons would free fall when attacked to get away from the falcons. The pigeons went on many missions often sustaining injuries and going back again. The British captured some German pigeons which allowed them to see how the Germans tagged them and did their messages. So they sent their own pigeons to Germany who would then nest with the locals, the Germans would send them to England to get intelligence but the birds would come back to Bletchley. It was probably a bit more involved than that, but you get the idea. They were double agents!
|A guide shows a computerised demonstration on how the Enigma machine worked|
|Interactive touch screens taught us how to decipher codes|
|there were a number of "huts" that were the offices|
|One of the Bombe machines|
|This is what the pigeons were transported in|