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Wed, 18 Dec 2019
Stanmore Outstation

The week before Christmas 1944 brought an unwelcome surprise to Stanmore Outstation. At 04:30, a V1 bomb fell around 120 yards from the working block. Staff worked around the clock, so the 160 Wrens and 20 RAF mechanics on duty at the time felt the whole building shake and the doors and windows blow out. A high blast wall around the block took most of the impact, so there were no casualties and only superficial damage.

Stanmore was one of six Outstations built as Bletchley Park’s Enigma codebreaking operation scaled up from 1941 onwards. The Outstations housed growing numbers of Bombe machines, with their operators and mechanics. Distributing the Bombe machines across many sites ensured that work could continue even if one Outstation was hit or destroyed. Stanmore, a purpose-built site approximately 35 miles from Bletchley Park, began work in November 1942.

Stanmore Outstation
1 / 10Dee Church (née Doris Allen) drew this diagram of one of the large, multi-bayed single-storey blocks erected at Stanmore. As well as Bombe machines, each bay contained a small office for the Wren in charge and space for checking machines. These buildings were surrounded by blast walls which provided both protection from air attack, but also additional secrecy and security. The entrances were guarded by a small contingent of Royal Marines Police.