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The Duchess of Cambridge has today reopened a WWII codebreaking centre where her grandmother once worked.

The future Queen, 32, reopened to the public a restored Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire.

The Duchess's paternal grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, who married the duchess' grandfather Peter Middleton, was a civilian staff member at the centre where her twin sister Mary was also employed.

Documents dated October 1944 show she was probably a duty officer and worked in Hut 16, now restored Hut 6, where it is thought she chose which intercept stations staff should listen to.

Sir John Scarlett, chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust, who was Chief of MI6 from 2004 to 2009, said: "The work at Bletchley Park made an immense contribution to the victory of Great Britain and our allies in World War Two.

"It was a great honour to welcome the Duchess of Cambridge and to show her where her grandmother worked, especially now that Hut 6, along with other fragile buildings, has been restored to create a permanent and fitting tribute to the thousands of men and women whose work helped to shorten the war."

Bletchley Park was the central site of the United Kingdom's Government Code and Cypher School (GC&C) which, during WWII, regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers.

It is believed that the "Ultra" intelligence produced at Bletchley shortened the war by two to four years, and that without it the outcome of the war would have been uncertain.

The site is now an educational and historical attraction memorializing and celebrating those accomplishments. It cost 8m to restore and was mostly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.


Duchess of Cambridge opens Bletchley Park restored centre

18 June 2014
BBC News


Interesting day: The Duchess 'listens to the enemy' with Bletchley Park's Steve Lumby

Watch video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=qR1BRXxLMY4


The Duchess of Cambridge has reopened a World War Two codebreaking centre, where her grandmother once worked.

The home of the Government Code and Cypher School in Buckinghamshire cost 8m to restore and was mostly funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The duchess also met Lady Marion Body, a former colleague of her paternal grandmother, Valerie Glassborow, who worked in Hut 16.

The project has seen the buildings returned to their WW2 appearance.


The Duchess of Cambridge talks with Bletchley veterans (from the left) Peggy Huntington, Joan Joslin, Iris King and Alma Wightman



The Duchess met crowds of children on her visit to Bletchley Park


The Duchess of Cambridge talks with Bletchley veteran Lady Marion Body, who knew her grandmother, during her visit


Family resemblance: The Duchess of Cambridge bears a resemblance to her grandmother Valerie Glassborow (below) who worked at Bletchley Park during WWII




Sir John Scarlett, chairman of the Bletchley Park Trust, who was Chief of MI6 from 2004 to 2009,said: "The work at Bletchley Park made an immense contribution to the victory of Great Britain and our allies in World War Two.

"It was a great honour to welcome the Duchess of Cambridge and to show her where her grandmother worked, especially now that Hut 6, along with other fragile buildings, has been restored to create a permanent and fitting tribute to the thousands of men and women whose work helped to shorten the war."

Iain Standen, the trust's chief executive, said the duchess had heard "first-hand memories of her grandmother from her Bletchley Park colleagues, demonstrating how veterans' recollections are central to telling this remarkable story".

Ms Glassborow, who married the duchess' grandfather Peter Middleton, was a civilian staff member at the centre where her twin sister Mary was also employed.

Documents dated October 1944 show she was probably a duty officer and worked in Hut 16, now restored Hut 6, where it is thought she chose which intercept stations staff should listen to.

The success of the centre's codebreakers in breaking the German cypher systems Enigma and Lorenz, are credited with shortening the war by two years.

During the tour of the centre, the duchess, dressed in an Alexander McQueen outfit, attempted to intercept radio messages.

Plans for complete restoration began at the end of 2011 when the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the trust a 5m grant and work began in 2012.

Veteran Lady Marion recalls working with the twin sisters on 15 August 1945 when they heard that the war had ended.

The three were on shift when their superior officer told them a signal had been intercepted between Tokyo and Geneva that the Japanese were surrendering.

"We just sat there in complete silence," she said.

"Commander Williams then just told us to get on with our work and we all laughed.

"It's something I could never tell anybody about because we were sworn to secrecy but it was a great moment to feel you were perhaps among the first people who knew the war was at last over."

She was among other former codebreakers meeting the duchess, who will be planting a tree to commemorate the visit.


Images of people are projected on to walls to give a "sense of place", the trust says


A historian has written a soundscape script based on events at the end of 1940 and beginning of 1941



The new Bletchley



Hut 6 - where the mechanisation of codebreaking started - went from being a cottage industry to an industrial process

Hut 3 was where the translation and intelligence work on the messages happened

Hut 11 housed Bombe devices

Block C - once housed a card index system which recorded every message that came into Bletchley Park. It is now a visitor exhibition centre and cafe

Source: Bletchley Park Trust

BBC News - Duchess of Cambridge opens Bletchley Park restored centre
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jun 18th, 2014 at 01:48 PM..