Type above to decrypt our story...


































This album presents some recent acquisitions to our Archive collection, kindly donated by Bletchley Park Veterans and their families. After the end of World War Two, much of the evidence of codebreaking at Bletchley Park was destroyed. The documents that survive in our Archive give a rare and important glimpse into a story we are still uncovering. Our collection continues to grow through donations of new material – from photographs to diaries, letters and official records. The information they hold about our Veterans is added to our Roll of Honour, and the documents themselves researched, catalogued, digitised and carefully stored to preserve these unique insights for the future.


This album was first published on 15 June 2020.

A group of staff at Eastcote Outstation in 1945 includes Robert Cooper Adamson. Adamson, a GPO (General Post Office) technician, installed and maintained Bombe machines at Eastcote from September 1942 to August 1945. He also worked at the Post Office Research Establishment at Dollis Hill, assembling sensing equipment. The other men in the photograph are unknown. If you can help to identify them, please let us know at [email protected]

Bletchley Park Veteran Rena Stewart (on the right, with her colleague Jeanne Tucker) recently donated digital scans of several photographs from her time in Germany in 1946. A German linguist, Stewart worked in Bletchley Park’s Hut 3 from 1944 to 1945. At the end of the war in Europe, she was posted to Bad Nenndorf, near Hanover in Germany, to continue her work as a translator. There, she and a colleague were tasked with translating Hitler’s will.

Veteran John James Doherty passed this cryptic poem to his children. He did not explain the significance of the letters in red, but left this handwritten note: “Lines written at BP during a solitary evening shift after the surrender of Germany in May 1945. Redundancy: the F.O. had just issued an instruction that certain temp C.S. were to be declared redundant but need not leave their posts until they were declared “finally redundant”. Alarm and Desp. [despondency]: during the War it had been a punishable offence to cause A. and D.”

This photograph of Elizabeth Louise Varnham (Bletchley Park Blocks D & E), accompanies a donation of a series of 22 letters she wrote to her fiancé, John Frame, from October to December 1945. The two met in 1944 in Kent while Elizabeth was visiting her family. John, a barrage balloon operator, had been attached to the RAF’s Balloon Command as they attempted to counter the threat from the German ‘doodlebugs’, or V-1 flying bombs. They married on 12 June 1946.

Lancelot Patrick Wilkinson, known as Patrick, was one of Bletchley Park’s early wartime recruits. His memoir – a digital copy of which is now in the Bletchley Park archives – records that he was first approached in the summer of 1938 to do ‘confidential work for the Foreign Office in the event of war’. Wilkinson was summoned to BP only two weeks after war broke out and assigned to Naval Section as a cryptanalyst specialising in Italian naval codes. In 1943 he was temporarily posted to Algiers and Malta with a group of BP Codebreakers including Wren Sydney Eason. Already engaged, but keeping it under wraps, the two married in 1944.

This airgraph was sent by Daisy Paterson, mother of BP Veteran Anne Runciman Paterson, to her husband, David Paterson Senior, on 30 April 1943. David, who had been injured in WW1, was working in the jute industry at Gondalpara Mill in Bengal. Sadly, he died from complications of his injuries during WW2. “Darling, I’m afraid I’ve been a bit slow in writing and I offer my humblest apologies. I’ve always been to write every week (sic) but I’ve really had a busy time lately. I had Grace Paterson from CB here for a week then on top of that I had the best man at the wedding and his girlfriend here for the Glasgow holidays and with all this rationing business it’s awfully difficult to provide a change of meals … Still receiving parcels all right, send back towels or bed sheets (large) anything in the linen line if you can. XXX”

A recent donation from the family of Veteran Alan Michell includes this scan of a handwritten version of poet Henry Reed’s ‘Naming of Parts’. Signed and dated 1942, Reed dedicates it to Michell – the two had met and become friends while working at Bletchley Park on Japanese codebreaking. ‘Naming of Parts’ is one of three poems concerned with basic army training in Reed’s best-known collection, ‘Lessons of the War’, published in 1946.

A group including Bletchley Park staff sit outside a house in Bletchley in a photograph donated by the family of Veteran Joan Lees. The people in the photograph are named on the reverse.

This 1945 photograph shows a group of WAAFs (Women’s Auxilliary Air Force) probably at RAF Church Green, where Air Force personnel working at Bletchley Park were accommodated. Second from the right in the back row is Kathleen Hales, who was a Teleprinter Operator in the Communications Centre. She said of the Church Green camp, ”It wasn’t very comfortable there. We were in huts 30 to a hut! As they were built in wintertime it was so cold. There were times when we passed the coal store and it was almost empty! We were tough and survived.”

This photograph, showing WAAF Jean Hunter (second from right) in c. 1943, was part of a larger donation of material relating to Jean’s WW2 service history. It included her wartime service records, recruitment and release documentation, and telegrams sent to her husband, Bill, as she travelled to join him in Canada after the end of the war in Europe.

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