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Podcast 47: No Sleep on VE Day

Tue, 14 Feb 2017
Special VE Day episode of the Bletchley Park podcast

Cynthia Humble was an intercept operator in the ATS from 1944 and was stationed at Forest Moor in the Yorkshire countryside. There she listened intently to enciphered Morse signals which were whisked off to a place she and her colleagues knew only as Station X.

Her memories of the intense work, the somewhat rationed but sparkling social life and how she and her watch did not sleep a wink on VE Day, despite it falling between gruelling night shifts, are all in this month’s episode.

Bletchley Park’s Oral History project has been running for five years, gathering more than three hundred rich and detailed interviews so far, with Veterans of the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park and its outstations all over the world.

This rich archive is ever growing as the project continues apace. Born into an army family, Cynthia was keen to do her bit for the war effort, so she joined up at the grand old age of seventeen and a half. She went on to make memories which have lasted a lifetime.

We take you to the opening of the second phase of the ground-breaking exhibition about codebreaking during World War One, The Road to Bletchley Park, which has been extended to tell stories of the impact this pioneering work had on the war at sea, on land and in the air. It also touches on the tribulations of effectively sharing intelligence without revealing its source.

Phase one of The Road to Bletchley Park explores some of the people involved in WW1 codebreaking who went on to be crucial to the successes of the Government Code and Cypher School during World War Two.

Now the second phase, which extends the exhibition in the Visitor Centre at Bletchley Park, explores stories including the largest naval battle of WW1 and the secret telegram which brought the USA into the conflict. Podcast producer Mark Cotton took a sneaky first peek alongside the Friends of Bletchley Park, at their exclusive preview evening.

Also, we hear why another night of The Imitation Game has been laid on at the Open Air Cinema in September. The Oscar-winning film starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Codebreaker, mathematician and all-round genius Alan Turing will be shown on the lawn at the uniquely historic site where a lot of the action is set, and key scenes were filmed.

Visit Bletchley Park. It happened here. Book now.

Image: ©Cynthia Humble, nee Grossman

No Sleep on VE Day