Bletchley Park Veterans"

– A Request from Jonathan Byrne

        Roll of Honour Administrator

 

I am working for the Bletchley Park Trust to consolidate the Roll of Honour of Signals Intelligence veterans of WWII held by the Bletchley Park Museum.

Over 10,000 men and women were employed in the interception, deciphering, decoding, translation, analysis and reporting of enemy telecommunications at Bletchley and other locations in Britain and overseas. Their achievements remained a secret until the 1970s, since when many books have told the story and Bletchley Park has become a thriving museum.

 

Many official records were destroyed at the end of the War, and what we know of many people who worked in signals intelligence comes from the stories that they have told us over the past twenty years. I am writing to ask if you can help me to ensure that as many as possible of the veterans, alive or dead, receive the recognition denied for so long.

You may have relatives or family friends who spoke of secret work during the War, but have never felt able to share the full details. Many veterans are modest about what they did, thinking it was not as important as what others were doing. All their stories are very important and are of interest to historians as well as relevant to the database and Roll of Honour.

If you know someone, whether from the School or otherwise,  who should be on my database, I should be very pleased to hear from you. They are entitled to two commemorative badges, one from the Bletchley Park Trust, and another from GCHQ. They have to be applied for separately, as follows:

Bletchley Park:  http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/contact/veterans.rhtm

GCHQ:                 http://www.gchq.gov.uk/history/commemoration.html

The GCHQ page at the above link gives details of who is eligible for their badge, and I am using these criteria for inclusion on my database. I should point out that, unfortunately, these badges cannot be awarded posthumously.

I know that many veterans remain reluctant to talk about what they did, as they continue to take their original commitment to secrecy very seriously. They could perhaps be made aware of the wording on the GCHQ form: “You may consider anything that happened before VJ Day as unclassified”. 

You can see the current Roll of Honour at: http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/hist/history/RollofHonour.rhtm 

This is very much a work in progress and I am building on the work done over several years by volunteers. The entries in the Roll of Honour are being updated to achieve a consistent presentation of information, and I am intending to included a more detailed summary of where and when people served and what they did. I shall also update the explanatory notes.

If you have any information that may help me in this task, please do not hesitate to get in touch. My work email address is: jbyrne@bletchleypark.org.uk and my telephone number is 01908 272685. If you would like any further information or clarification, again, please contact me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this.

Jonathan Byrne

Roll of Honour Administrator, Bletchley Park