Since the early 1970’s, the real truth of how thousands of young men and women made a major contribution to our role, and our victory in the Second World War commenced a slow and filtered visibility into our national consciousness. Husbands or wives, who had never discussed their work even with their spouses over decades, finally were relieved of the burden of the Secrets Act, and from their lips came the real story of the Code-Breakers of Bletchley Park. In films such as Enigma, where Dougray Scott and Kate Winslet stand-in for the hundreds who actually did the mind-numbingly patient work of manually decrypting the ‘unbreakable’ German signals, only part of the truth was revealed.
I discovered, through reading a book entitled ‘The Secret Life of Bletchley Park’, that the Navy knew, for example when the battleship Bismarck broke out into the Atlantic, where she was almost as fast as the German Naval Staff knew, so fast were the decrypts obtained by the code-breakers. The Navy had to fly reconnaissance aircraft to spot ‘by chance’ where the Bismarck cruised, so as to cover the incredible, the most vital secret of the entire war, that the German naval communications had been so thoroughly penetrated. The warships of ‘Force H’, summoned by direct order from Churchill, were guided to the spot where Bismarck made her last stand by decrypted signals, and the final attack by torpedoes was the culmination of one of the most successful ‘intelligence camouflage’ operations ever envisaged. When Kenneth More starred alongside Dana Wynter in ‘Sink the Bismarck!’, all the movements of the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen were stated to be from either observers on land or ship, and future courses were plotted on ‘assumptions’ as well as ‘knowledge of how a naval force would progress’ in real life.
Truth is sometimes much stranger than fiction! We had it all in 1945, and we simply threw it all into the garbage dumps!
I read that Bletchley Park is to be given £4.6 million by the Lottery. That is so wrong; it should be £46 million!
X-posted from A Tangled Web