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Collections uncovered 11

Wed, 28 Nov 2018
Rhymes for the times

Staff at Bletchley Park did not spend all their time defeating enemy codes and ciphers. Outside office hours some composed songs and poetry, for fun or public performance. Patrick Barrington, who worked on German air force and Japanese codes, had written humorous verse for Punch magazine before the war, while Chief Cryptographer Dilly Knox had invented the pentelope verse form. Bletchley Park’s veterans also include the well-known poets Vernon Watkins (Air Section) and Henry Reed (Naval Section). To coincide with the Young Poets Network’s latest writing challenge, inspired by Bletchley Park, we look at some of the poems and song lyrics held in our archives.

Rhymes for the times
1 / 10Much of the humour at Bletchley Park made light of the situations which staff found themselves in. This verse, attributed to cryptanalyst Lancelot Patrick Wilkinson, pokes fun at householders who had been forced to take Bletchley Park staff in to their homes as billetees.