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Welcome to Bletchley Park

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MrShaw's picture
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I read with interest recently that Bletchley Park is publishing its World War II archive online. With the assistance of Hewlett Packard volunteers are tasked with transferring all of the documents into Electronic format, the first stage of which is estimated to take 3 years.

The lands that Bletchley Park resides upon have been around for sometime, and were mentioned as far back as 1086 in The Doomsday Book. Bletchley Park itself was renamed sometime after 1877 by the owner of the time, Samuel Lipscomb Seckham. In 1877 a gentleman by the name of Sameul Leon purchased the land and extended the Farm House into a Mansion.

In 1938, one year before the breakout of World War II, Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair purchased the land out of his own pocket after attempts to convince the Government to do so. The first Government visitors called themselves "Captain Ridley's Shooting Party" to disguise the true purpose of their visit.

On the 15th of August 1939 GCHQ, known at the time as GC&CS relocated to Bletchley Park. This included the Military, Naval and Air sections. MI6 was located on the Top floor of the building and a nearby school was purchased for the Diplomatic and Commercial sections.

Within the water tower of the mansion a Wireless room was set up, named Station X, which in tern was used to reference all the code breaking activities within the site.

During the war thousands of people processed coded messages that had been produced by the German Enigma and Fish Cyphers. This information was key in the successes of the Allies during the War, including The Battle of the Atlantic, Battle of Cape Matapan and Battle of North Cape.

Beyond the actual code breaking, Bletchley produced one of the arguably the most important developments of modern time, The Colossus Computers. These machines were the world's first programmable, digital, electronic, computing devices. By the end of the war there were ten Colossus machines in operation. After the war the Machines and their blueprints were detroyed in the name of secrecy, however a working replica was built in 2007.

One of the most famous and most influential characters to have worked at Bletchley Park is Alan Turing, OBE FRS. Turing was a Mathematician, Logician, Cryptanalyst and Computer Scientist. He is credited with developing Computer Science, providing a formal theory of Algorithm's and having a significant role in the development of the modern day computer. His work at Bletchley Park was instrumental in the code breaking efforts, and it is suggested that without him, many of the campaigns of the Allies, including misinformation would not have been successful, and many more lives would have been lost.

Documents currently held at Bletchley Park have the potential to reveal secrets that have never been discussed in public before and reveal to the general population that may cause some surprises. there is a lot of information that will need to be reassembled to into a fashion that will allow those interest be able to read easily, as it is stored on index cards, communication transcripts, memoranda and maps.

Revelations such as photos of Adolf Hitler shortly after an assassination attempt, documents questioning the neutrality of Sweden, Spain and Switzerland during the war, diamond deals between Spain and German friendly countries such as Japan and the double agent Garbo.

Having been interested in Bletchley Park and all its activities since first discovering it's existence 20 years ago while researching the first computer, I am looking forward to the information that is revealed over the coming years. Makes me feel like a big kid again, about to delve once more into a secret world.

timedesign's picture
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yeah, it's facinating. i'll

yeah, it's facinating. i'll be keeping tabs.