The History of Espionage – part 3: Bletchley Park

We visited the legendary “Home of the Codebreakers”, where Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman and an assorted cast broke the German Enigma code machine during WWII. This is another of our intrepid out and about recordings. Hopefully what it loses in sound quality it makes up in atmosphere.

Some images of Otto during our visit to Bletchley Park, meeting enactors and having a bit of a dance (that’s not the actual Winston Churchill BTW). 

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An Enigma Machine

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A rebuilt, working version of a Bombe. This was the machine that decoded the Enigma codes. The first version was built by Polish cryptographers and it was developed by Alan Turing. It is considered to be one of the first true computers. 

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A Typex machine. These machines essentially replicated Enigma machines and allowed the code breakers to crack the codes.

If you think this is an interesting topic, I would really recommend watching The Imitation Game. It is a great film about Alan Turing and his work at Bletchley Park, Otto loved it. It really explores the way he was persecuted after the war for being gay, which led to him taking his own life. You can find out a lot about Bletchley Park by visiting their excellent website: https://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/ 

I took some pictures of the Top Secret pack we were given. There’s the Official Secrets Act that we mention in the podcast. The other two are code-breaking challenges, which are quite fun. I am going to get Otto to do them and we will post his attempted solutions.

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Research

Books
For kids
Brennan, Herbie. The Spy's Handbook. Faber & Faber, 2003.
Boughy, Lynn and Earnest, Peter. Harry Potter and the Art of Spying. Wise Ink, 2014.
Lloyd Jones, Rob. The Story of Spying. Usborne, 2007.
Narayan, Natasha. Spies, Secret Agents and Spooks of London. Watling Street, 2003.
For adults
Hastings, Max. The Secret War - Spies, Codes and Guerillas. Harper Collins, 2015.
Keegan, John. Intelligence in War - Knowledge of the Enemy from Napoleon to Al-Qaeda. Pimlico, 2004.
Weir, Alison. Elizabeth, the Queen. Vintage, 2009.
Films
Enigma IMDB
The Imitation Game IMDB
TV
Bletchley Park: Code-breaking's forgotten genius BBC iPlayer

 

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