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The Bletchley Park Podcast

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The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.

The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.
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Location:

United Kingdom

Description:

The historic site of secret British codebreaking during WW2 & the birthplace of modern computing. Stories from the codebreakers, staff & volunteers, audio from events & lectures, and news on the progress of the development of Bletchley Park.

Language:

English


Episodes

E69 - From Cooks to Codebreakers

2/12/2018
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February 2018 Is Bletchley Park about codes, machines or people? Of those, the most fascinating stories come from the people who did this incredible job, and then kept it absolutely secret, for at least another 30 years. Their memories are precious and it’s crucial that we capture as many as we can, so that future generations can read and listen to their first-hand accounts of not only their amazing achievements, but what life was like during those defining years. A new exhibition in the...

Duration:00:57:36

E68 - Turning Points

1/10/2018
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January 2018 January is a good time to take stock and look at the year ahead. 75 years ago, it was January 1943 and, after a dark and difficult year, things were starting to look up. By this time, Hut 8 had broken back into the naval Enigma codenamed Shark, after a devastating ten-month blackout. The daring raid on a sinking submarine which cost the lives of two brave sailors became a huge turning point in the Battle of the Atlantic. Elsewhere, five gruelling months drew to a close with...

Duration:00:49:29

E67 - In Their Words Part 2

12/29/2017
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December 2017 Bletchley Park’s Oral History project has been running for six years, interviewing more than 400 veterans so far. These personal testimonies capture the unique and precious memories of people who worked at Bletchley Park and its outstations. Not only are these interviews a great source of historical facts, adding to what we know about the work carried out by the Government Code and Cypher School during World War Two, they’re also a treasure trove of lesser-known details about...

Duration:00:52:37

Its significance resonates down to today

3/16/2016
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March 2016 Dr David A Hatch, NSA Historian, explains the huge historic significance of the letter sent by General Dwight D Eisenhower, the five-star general in the United States Army during World War Two who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, to the Chief of MI6, Stuart Menzies, at the end of the war, thanking him for the intelligence produced by Bletchley Park. In it, Eisenhower says “The intelligence … has saved thousands of British and American lives.” The...

Duration:00:02:36

E44 - Bombe Girls

3/10/2016
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March 2016 In this month’s brand new episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, Bombe Girls, meet some of the trailblazing women who were assigned to Special Duties X or posted to HMS Pembroke 5 when they joined the Wrens (Women’s Royal Naval Service or WRNS). These women found themselves at Bletchley Park - or, in many cases - at one of its huge, industrial outstations on the fringes of London - operating state of the art machines created to speed up the process of finding the daily Enigma...

Duration:00:58:51

Extra - E48 - Bletchley's Foreign Relations with Tony Comer Part 1

3/2/2016
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March 2016 In November 2015, the GCHQ Departmental Historian made a rare public appearance as part of the Bletchley Park Presents lecture series. Tony gave a talk titled International Partnerships - Bletchley's Foreign Relations. In this first part of his talk he examined how foreign partnerships became an integral part of British signals intelligence shortly before World War Two. Although parts of the story are told, the meeting with the Poles in Warsaw in July 1939, and the arrival of...

Duration:00:29:14

E43 - The Special Relationship

2/9/2016
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February 2016 75 years ago, a tentative meeting was held late at night, aided by sherry, in the office of Alastair Denniston, then Head of the Government Code and Cypher School. It was to prove an important turning point in the history of both the UK and the US. That night, as intelligence secrets were shared, the Special Relationship was founded. That alliance continues to be crucial to both nations today. To celebrate this anniversary, the Directors of GCHQ and the NSA visited Bletchley...

Duration:00:59:42

E42 - It Happened Here

1/10/2016
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January 2016 Throughout 2016, the Bletchley Park Podcast will tell stories of the Codebreakers’ successes and agonies - all of which they kept completely secret. This month, it’s not German and it’s not Enigma. With help from Bletchley Park’s Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon, we look into the high level Italian ciphers being broken by Bletchley Park, which impacted significantly on the war in North Africa. There was a continuing dance of difficulty between the codebreaking operation in...

Duration:00:57:21

Celebrating family pride

12/29/2015
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December 2015 Veterans’ families encouraged to join community and buy a brick Pride burns bright in relatives of the men and women whose secret work at Bletchley Park and its outstations helped shorten World War Two. The Bletchley Park Trust is in touch with more than 1,500 Veterans of the clandestine codebreaking organisation, the Government Code and Cypher School. Many more are no longer with us. Now, for the first time, the Trust is reaching out to its Veterans’ families to join a...

Duration:00:03:31

The Petard Pinch

12/17/2015
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December 2015 A story full of heroism and tragedy is now told at Bletchley Park in a new mini exhibition. The Petard Pinch was the seizure of vital codebooks from a sinking U-Boat in which two young men drowned. But they didn’t die in vain - the intelligence treasures they captured were extremely valuable. They allowed the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park to break back into the naval Enigma network Shark, after a devastating ten month blackout. Image: Petard Crew 1942 ©The Petard Association...

Duration:00:03:47

E41 - Best Ever Year

12/9/2015
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December 2015 Bletchley Park has had its best ever year. In the whole of 2014, 196,000 people came to discover the secret world of World War Two codebreaking and this year, with nearly a month still to go, the figure stands at more than 280,000 thousand. New exhibitions which opened this year included The Road to Bletchley Park, about codebreaking during World War One, and the little-known story of one of World War Two’s forgotten heroes, Gordon Welchman. Among the treasures which went on...

Duration:00:59:24

Extra - E47 - How computers were used against Hitler

12/4/2015
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December 2015 Professor Jack Copeland, Director of the Turing Archive for the History of Computing, celebrated another forgotten hero of Bletchley Park, Max Newman, as part of the Bletchley Park Presents lecture series. His August talk ‘How Computers Were Used Against Hitler’, was a huge success. Professor Copeland explored the story of little-recognised Codebreaker Max Newman, whose work was fundamental to the construction of the first electronic computer, Colossus. The section he founded...

Duration:00:41:40

Extra - E46 - Last chance to see That is All You Need to Know

11/24/2015
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November 2015 Time is running out to see That is All You Need to Know, an original play which shines a light on the Home of the Codebreakers. Created by theatre company, Idle Motion, the work pulls together three different strands of Bletchley Park’s history; Alan Turing and his team breaking the Enigma code during World War Two, Gordon Welchman writing his ground-breaking book, The Hut Six Story, in the 1970s and the campaign to save the site for posterity in the 1990s. That is All You...

Duration:00:10:11

Did Churchill know Coventry was about to be bombed?

11/12/2015
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November 2015 In the throes of war, difficult decisions have to be made. Prime Minister Winston Churchill was fully aware that Bletchley Park was breaking German codes, and even received regular digests of the intelligence gleaned, known as Hut 3 Headlines. However, a myth was born in the mid-1970s that remains in circulation even now. The theory was that messages decoded by Bletchley Park warned Churchill that the Luftwaffe was heading for Coventry on 14 November 1940, and that he allowed...

Duration:00:04:35

E40 - The Coventry Myth

11/10/2015
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November 2015 Hindsight can be cruel. The conspiracy theory that Churchill allowed Coventry to be bombed beyond recognition, killing hundreds of civilians, in order to protect the Ultra secret - that Bletchley Park was breaking German codes - is a myth. In this episode we bring you memories of the devastating air raid on Coventry, which took place 75 years ago, on 14 November 1940. Hear from Sir Arthur Bonsall, who worked in the German Air Section, debunking the myth. And Bletchley Park’s...

Duration:00:59:41

When she speaks of Bletchley, a light comes into her eyes

11/6/2015
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November 2015 Sarah Harding’s mother remembers Bletchley Park as a happy place. Dorothy Harding, nee Thompson, worked as a Morse slip reader in the Communications Centre from 1943 to the end of the war. Many years later, Sarah directed the hit ITV drama, The Bletchley Circle, about four fictional women who worked at the Government Code and Cypher School during World War Two and, some ten years later, regrouped in secret to solve mysteries including murder. Now Sarah is joining a worldwide...

Duration:00:01:18

Extra - E45 - Anthony and Michael de Grey - Cementing Family Ties

10/24/2015
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October 2015 The Bletchley Park Trust is reaching out to Veterans’ families, to create a worldwide community of people with a special link to this unique piece of British history. The Trust is inviting relatives of the Codebreakers to cement their family ties with the breath-taking achievements of the Bletchley Park operation during World War Two. Their names and the importance of what they did was once shrouded in secrecy, but can now be celebrated in perpetuity. For the next six months...

Duration:00:29:11

E39 - Forgotten Genius

10/9/2015
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October 2015 In Forgotten Genius, the October 2015 episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast, we take you to the opening of a brand new, fascinating exhibition about Gordon Welchman, Bletchley Park’s Architect of Ultra Intelligence. Hear from Welchman’s granddaughter, Jennifer, who flew in specially to be at the launch and from his Hut 6 colleague, Jimmy Thirsk, who at the age of 101 is one of the last few of his kind left. Also featured is the grandson of a man who was involved in Codebreaking...

Duration:00:59:11

Last chance to see The Imitation Game, The Exhibition

10/2/2015
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October 2015 You’ve seen the Oscar winning film, now visit the set and get a rare insight into how the story of genius Codebreaker Alan Turing was brought to life. Benedict Cumberbatch said Filming at Bletchley Park was amazing. It was a very important part of the film. In the Ballroom and Billiard Rooms of the Mansion, this atmospheric exhibition is all about the making of The Imitation Game, in the very room where the bar scenes were filmed. Among the many behind the scenes gems are secret...

Duration:00:03:16

Extra - E44 - Commander Dennistons Granddaughters

9/30/2015
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September 2015 On 29 July Bletchley Park’s Royal Patron, HRH The Duke of Kent, officially opened the major new exhibition, The Road to Bletchley Park, telling the story of codebreaking during World War One. Many of those World War One Codebreakers went on to work at Bletchley Park during World War Two. Among them was Alastair Denniston the first operational head of the Government Code and Cypher School. The August episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast featured an edited version of an...

Duration:00:19:00

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