E97 – Early Days
“Gas masks are to be taken.” So ends what seems a rather mundane government memo dated the 2nd of August 1939. It importance becomes apparent when you discover this was the Move Order sent to the staff of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS).
As Hitler threatened Poland it seemed another war in Europe was inevitable, so it was decided the staff of GC&CS should move to their War Station in the Buckinghamshire countryside. With hindsight we now know that over the next six long years, Bletchley Park would become a codebreaking factory, but what were those Early Days really like?
In this “It Happened Here” episode, our host, Erica Munro & Bletchley Park’s Research Officer Dr Thomas Cheetham take us back to August 1939 and through documents held in the archives tell the story of the arrival of GC&CS at Bletchley and dispel a few myths along the way.
Special thanks to Mr Ben Thomson for voicing our archival documents.
In memoriam, Jane Fawcett MBE (1921–2016) FO Civilian Hut 6
Image courtesy Judie Hodsdon