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Bletchley Park is the home of British codebreaking and a birthplace of modern information technology. It played a major role in World War Two, producing secret intelligence which had a direct and profound influence on the outcome of the conflict. The site is now a museum and heritage attraction, open daily. The Bletchley Park Podcast brings you fascinating stories from Veterans, staff and volunteers on the significance and continued relevance of this site today.
 
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show series
 
October 2021 On the 21st of October 1941, four of Bletchley Park’s Codebreakers sent a plea for more staff and resources in a now notorious letter to the Prime Minister. Demand for Bletchley Park’s work was increasing, and the organisation was facing a crisis. Churchill was won over, adding the note ‘Action This Day’ to the document. But perhaps th…
 
September 2021 After Britain’s failure at Dunkirk and the Fall of France, the Germans seemed unstoppable. An invasion of Britain by Germany seemed the next logical step. In 1940, Britain and Bletchley Park prepared for war on the Home Front. As the German air campaign brought air combat with the Battle of Britain and bombs by night during the Blitz…
 
August 2021 Hindsight and the lifting of decades of secrecy, allows us to know that by 1945 Bletchley Park had become a ‘codebreaking factory’ supplying war winning intelligence to the Allies ultimate victory. But what was it like for the 185 members of staff on Monday the 4th of September 1939? And … who were they? Supported by the UK government’s…
 
July 2021 In late 2020 we asked on social media for any questions our listeners wanted the podcast team to answer. We had so many that we needed to record a second episode that originally we had planned for January 2021. Unfortunately due to COVID restrictions this wasn’t possible … but now, we are back. In this episode, Exhibitions Manager Erica M…
 
June 2021 Eighty years ago in June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union in what Hitler hoped would be a lightning campaign to destroy Bolshevism and provide ‘living space’ for his empire in the east. The result was four years of brutal conflict which shaped the world we live in today. What did the codebreakers at Bletchley Park know about th…
 
June 2021 By late May 1940 the Germans have arrived at the French coast, cutting the Allied forces in two. Their risky invasion plan ‘Fall Gelb’ (or ‘Case Yellow’) has paid off. For the Allies, things will only get worse - an evacuation of the British forces from Dunkirk, the capture of Paris and the ultimate humiliation at Compiègne. It also marke…
 
June 2021 In May 1940, the much-anticipated German attack on France brings the Phoney War to an end. The French have the largest land army in the world, the Maginot Line giving them hundreds of miles of defences and they know the route the Germans will take. But in the space of only a few weeks, the entire strategic course of World War Two is turne…
 
April 2021 Patricia Johnston’s idyllic childhood in Rangoon came to an abrupt end on the 7th of December 1941, with the attack on Pearl Harbour. In early 1942 with the Japanese invasion getting ever closer she was flown out with her siblings and arrived in India, without her parents. After settling her two brothers in boarding school Patricia’s war…
 
April 2021 Bletchley Park’s latest temporary exhibition is called ‘Never Alone’ and asks ‘what happens when everything is connected?’ Based on an exhibition developed and designed by the National Science and Media Museum, ‘Never Alone’ explores the popularity and power of smart devices. There are now more devices connected to the internet than peop…
 
April 2021 Our Veterans who served in one of the three women’s auxiliary services during World War Two are always proud of their particular branch and WAAF Daphne Canning is no exception. When Oral History Officer Jonathan Byrne interviewed her in 2017 she was still proud to have worn her ‘Sparks’ badge; the insignia of a Royal Air Force Wireless O…
 
March 2021 In our last Oral History Special we brought you the first part of a 2017 interview with former WREN, Mary Sherrard. From 1942 until the end of the war, Mary served at Bletchley Park and then at the Eastcote Bombe Outstation. This helped shaped the rest of her life because it was at Eastcote where she met her future husband John. After or…
 
March 2021 In March 1946, as an ‘Iron Curtain’ was descending across Europe, in post-war London a document was signed that to this day is the basis of the most important and longest intelligence relationship that the UK has. But that Special Relationship with the USA didn’t suddenly begin 75 years ago; it was the culmination of five years of wartim…
 
February 2021 To keep you going during the lockdown, the podcast team will be bringing you a new episode every two weeks. Last year we featured short clips from dozens of our Veterans telling us what they did on VE Day & VJ Day. Now in these Oral History Specials we can bring you the longer versions of those interviews, allowing our Veterans to tel…
 
February 2021 As we did last year we have decided to release extra content again during the current lockdown and so for at least the next couple of months we will be bringing you a new show every two weeks. These will be a mixture of Oral History Specials and also our regular content as and when COVID restrictions allow us. Last year we featured sh…
 
January 2021 As we release this episode Bletchley Park Museum is currently closed as the UK is in a national lockdown to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Our staff and volunteers like so many around the world are in lockdown, self-isolation or working remotely from home. Unfortunately it means the promised second part of our Q&A’s…
 
December 2020 At the end of each year we like to focus on the important work that our Oral History Officer Jonathan Byrne and his team of staff and volunteers carry out. As with so many around the world, COVID-19 has had a huge effect on the work of Jonathan’s team in 2020. In this episode we catch-up with Jonathan for an update on the Oral History…
 
November 2020 For the first time since January 2020 the podcast team were able to be physically in the same room together, even if socially distanced. So to mark this return we decided to ask our listeners on social media for their questions about Bletchley Park. In this, the first of these shows, Exhibitions Manager Erica Munro, Research Historian…
 
October 2020 For over 8 years the podcast has been privileged to receive help and support from the modern day version of the wartime Government Code and Cypher School, GCHQ, both as an organisation and from their Departmental Historian. Previous listeners will know that GCHQ has a new Historian and in Podcast Episode 98, we had the honour of being …
 
September 2020 This is the last of three special episodes to mark what would have been our Annual Veterans Reunion. It was due to COVID-19 restrictions and with huge regret that Bletchley Park Trust had to take the difficult decision not to hold this year’s reunion on-site. But here at the podcast we can still celebrate our Veterans with these spec…
 
September 2020 As we explained in the last show, due to COVID-19 restrictions and with huge regret, Bletchley Park Trust had to take the difficult decision not to host our Annual Veterans Reunion onsite this year. To continue to mark what would have been this year’s reunion, this is the second of three special episodes we will be bringing you this …
 
September 2020 Each year, to mark the arrival of the Codebreakers to their war station in 1939, we hold our Veterans Reunion. This is the highlight of our calendar year, and a really special occasion for all involved. Veterans can meet up with friends old and new and share stories of their vital and once top-secret wartime work. These events have t…
 
August 2020 Nearly 3 months after VE Day, the war against Japan still continued. Its end would be drawn out over 6 weeks between the Potsdam Declaration in July and the final signing of the surrender on-board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September the 2nd. During those weeks the world saw the use of a new weapon, the atom bomb and both Hiroshim…
 
July 2020 As COVID-19 struck we decided to start releasing these extra episodes to give you our listeners something extra each week while you were in lockdown. We are glad we could share so many previously unheard recordings that we just hadn’t been able to before and hopefully these shows have helped you through these extraordinary times, if even …
 
July 2020 Bletchley Park is an independent charity and so we rely on the ticket sales of our visitors for 95% of our operating costs, but another way to support the museum is to become a Friend of Bletchley Park. As a friend of Bletchley Park you not only get our normal free unlimited year-round access to our heritage site and museum, but a range o…
 
July 2020 In this episode we are staying with Dermot Turing & his wider family. First we go back to a very cold day in March 2015 when more than twenty members of Alan Turing’s family gathered at Bletchley Park to pay tribute to their famous ancestor. The Imitation Game had been released only a few months earlier, so to have so many Turing’s in one…
 
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