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Sun, 1 Sep 2019
Early Days

On 18 September 1938, the first GC&CS and SIS personnel arrived at Bletchley Park in order to ensure that they were ready if war were to break out over Czechoslovakia. Staying for 22 days, this short deployment involved the Army, Navy and Air Force Sections and Chief Cryptanalyst Alfred Dillwyn ‘Dilly’ Knox’s Research Section.

By the time war broke out on 1 September 1939, GC&CS were well prepared. Staff had already begun to evacuate from their London offices to Bletchley Park, and some of the insufficiencies which had occurred during the 1938 mobilisation had already been addressed.

Early Days
1 / 10Francis Harry Hinsley, known as Harry, was only 20 years old and completing his degree at St John’s College, Cambridge, when he was recruited to Bletchley Park in 1939. This letter is from Martin Charlesworth, President of St John’s from 1937, who acted as an agent recruiting suitable people for Bletchley Park. Charlesworth himself had been earmarked for Bletchley Park, but preferred to remain in his position at St John’s. Here he persuades Hinsley by intriguingly stating that he believes Hinsley would like the work and that it would be very useful.