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Alongside the codebreaking material and social history documents in Bletchley Park’s archive are a handful of sketches, artworks and hand-drawn notes. Some were created during the War, some drawn by Veterans afterwards, and some by artists who have been inspired by Bletchley Park and its stories. Some are too fragile to place on permanent display while others don’t easily fit into our existing exhibitions. In our 2019 temporary exhibition ‘The Illustration Game: Sketches from the Archives’, we have had the opportunity to display a number of these fascinating treasures.


This Collections uncovered album was first published on 24 May 2019.

Bletchley 1945, Night Watch by Phyllis Dalton, MBE | Phyllis Barton (née Dalton) served at Bletchley Park from June 1944 to 1945. She sketched this picture of a Wren hurrying off to Night Watch while she was billeted at Crawley Grange. As a Bombe Operator, she found Night Watch rather long and dull.

Photograph of Phyllis Dalton |

Phyllis Barton (née Dalton) was a Bombe Operator serving in Hut 11A at Bletchley Park. After the War, she became an Academy Award winning costume designer with films including Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and The Princess Bride.

Of her time at Bletchley Park, she recalled:

“We did realise that the end result made sense to someone in intelligence even if it did not make sense to us. I was also vaguely aware that they may have not been able to use all of the information obtained from our work in order not to make the enemy aware. We were small cogs in a large organisation and we were very young.”

Memories of Gayhurst Manor: Checking Machines by Helen Rance | Helen Rance (née Thomson) was based at one of Bletchley Park’s outstations, Gayhurst Manor, from 1943 to 1945. As a Bombe Operator, she worked on both Bombe and Checking Machines. She sent this drawing to Bletchley Park’s archive in 1993. No photographs of the wartime operation at Gayhurst Manor have survived, so her sketches are a valuable reference to how the Outstation was laid out and functioned.

Memories of Gayhurst Manor: Bombes by Helen Rance | Helen Rance (née Thomson) operated both Bombes and Checking Machines at Gayhurst Manor until she was transferred to Bletchley Park in 1945. In a letter to the Archivist, she revealed: “When a job came up on our Bombe some of us put a little mark on the hat bands inside our hats.”

Shenley Road Military Camp by G. H. Gander | This impression of the Army accommodation built adjacent to Bletchley Park in 1944 is one of very few images we have of Shenley Road Military Camp. The pen-and-ink sketch is actually a greeting card, one of several in our collection which show local scenes of Bletchley, Fenny Stratford and the surrounding area.

Programme for ‘The Late Christopher Bean’ | Shenley Road Military Camp had an active social aspect – the Drama Group regularly put on performances. This programme was from a performance held 10-12 October 1944 in the next-door Assembly Hall on Wilton Avenue.

What Did You Do In the War, Mummy? | This drawing by Doreen Luke (née Spencer) shows her work at Bletchley Park’s Autoroom in Block E. She was a Wireless Operator and Morse Slip Reader. This latter highly-skilled job required members of the WAAF (Women’s Auxiliary Air Force) to read a strip of Morse code, printed out as a wavy line, whilst simultaneously touch-typing the message into plain text. Accuracy in both Morse and typing, as well as excellent focus, were crucial as the smallest mistakes might have significant consequences.

Photograph of LACW Doreen Spencer (left) and LACW Barbara Springall | Doreen Luke (née Spencer) stayed in touch with her friend Barbara Day (née Springall) throughout her life. The two had met through work, both members of the WAAF. The shoulder badges which Doreen Luke illustrated in her sketch ‘What Did You Do in the War, Mummy’ can be seen clearly in this photograph, showing that both women were Signals Operators. In her memoir about her work at Bletchley Park, Doreen Luke said:

Girls of Hut 4 | Penelope Bishop served in Hut 4, Naval Section and drew a series of sketches of her colleagues. These were kept by one of the group and later donated to Bletchley Park’s archive. Many of the women met up later in life and wrote a memoir. Of their time at BP, they wrote:

Miss Farrell visits the Admiralty | This sketch by Penelope Bishop of her Hut 4 colleague Adrienne Farrell represents a real-life event. Adrienne Farrell later recalled:

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