Bletchley Park

1128 Reviews

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Things to do


Date of travel

September, 2016

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There is so much to do and see at Bletchley that I’ve decided to break up my review into separate parts to keep it manageable. All the details and pictures can be found “here.”:

Huts 8 and 4 (now the “restaurant)”: were responsible for dealing with all messages from the German navy, including U-Boats. Information was received in Hut 8 which was headed by Alan Turing, who was later followed by Hugh Alexander and then Pat Mahon. The principles of receiving and dealing with incoming information were similar to those in Hut 6, although the naval messages were more difficult to decipher as the navy Enigma machines used an extra set of wheels to make them even more secure.

Once the Enigma codes had been cracked, the information was passed onto Hut 4 for translation, evaluation and being forwarded to the Admiralty who then passed the information onto the British fleet.

Compared with the rest of the site, there isn’t a much to see in this hut. One room has been set up as Turing’s Office.

A large room has information about PINCHING. At the start of the war, Allied shipping suffered very heavy losses from U-Boat attack. The Royal Navy captured the German U-boat U-110 on May 9, 1941 in the North Atlantic. The U-Boat was badly damaged and its crew surrendered. Just before it sank, three British seamen went aboard to recover an Enigma machine, its cipher keys, and code books. The material was sent to Bletchley Park and the codes allowed messages on U-Boat movements to be read easily for several months. This information also helped them to create Cribs which could be used once the codes ran out. This was given the name Pinching. It depended on the Allied forces learning the location of enemy ships and attempting to overpower them and ‘pinch’ any intelligence information before they were scuttled or sank. There is a film showing Pinching in action.

In a small room at the end of the Hut is an exhibition about the use of pigeons in warfare. Bletchley Park had its own pigeon loft managed by local man Charles Skevington. He trained and prepared pigeons who were parachute dropped to resistance groups working in occupied Europe.

Messages could be attached to the pigeon’s leg before releasing the bird to fly back to Bletchley Park. Many birds were killed, injured or lost and after the war, 32 pigeons were honoured with the Dickin Medal often described as the animal VC. Their certificates hang on the walls.


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