Each year, to mark the arrival of the first Codebreakers at Station X in 1939 we hold our Veterans’ Reunion. This year it was made more poignant as the date fell on the 80th anniversary of the invasion of Poland.
The Reunion is always a very special day for us at Bletchley Park as it gives us the chance to thank our Veterans for their service. For the Veterans it is a chance to meet old friends, reminisce and tell stories of their time here.
This is the eight podcast recorded at a reunion and this year we were lucky enough to sit down with four Veterans to have a chat. Many are accompanied by their families and for them it can be very emotional as for the first time they get to hear in detail what their relation did during World War Two.
Christine Brose set this year’s record for travelling to the reunion, coming with her two sons from Tasmania. She insists she “didn’t do anything important” but at age seventeen in 1941 she ended up working in Hut 8 Naval Section under Hugh Alexander. When Winston Churchill made his one war-time visit to the home of the Codebreakers, it was Alexander who jumped to Christine’s defence.
The army originally wanted Arthur Maddocks to be a Tank Commander but he thinks the study of economic theory at Oxford University probably made him more suited to breaking codes in The Testery. Even though he was only at GC&CS for the last year of the war it would have an effect on the rest of his life as it led to him meeting his wife of 72 years.
Audrey Hodges is proud of her service and she feels she was “doing her bit to protect her country”. After leaving a factory job she hated in Newcastle she ended up in 1941 working for the Foreign Office at Bletchley Park. Her granddaughter Nicole tells us just how cool it is to have a ‘Nan’ who worked as a Codebreaker.
Finally, we join Eric Dodd and four generations of his very proud family. Eric was in the Royal Signals working as a Special Wireless Operator for our Y Service. On D-Day he could understand his German counterparts for the first time as under attack they broke with procedure.
Special thanks to our roving reporter Sarah Langston.
Image: ©Will Amlot for the Bletchley Park Trust 2019