Queen Honours The Codebreaking World War Heroes

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The Queen unveiled a memorial in Bletchley Park honouring those who played a great role in ending WWII

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh visited Bletchley Park to pay tribute to the codebreakers whose vital work played a major part in turning the tide during World War Two.

Several veterans of the government’s secret Code and Cipher School were presented to the royal couple at the Milton Keynes site where the Enigma Code was cracked. The installation is also the site where the Colossus machine, the world’s first programmable computer was developed.

Memorial To The Backroom Men And Women

Queen Elizabeth II unveiled an eight foot memorial featuring the words “We also served” as a permanent tribute to the backroom workers, such as Alan Turing, who managed to crack the ciphers of Hitler’s command and control signals, to reveal wartime troops and equipment movements.

Expressing the gratitude that the British people extend towards the men and women of Bletchley Park, the Queen said, “We can be proud of the legacy of Bletchley, proud that Colossus was the first computer and that the British people, supported by our friends and allies, rose to the challenge.”

Cracking the Enigma Code, and the later development of the codebreaking Turing Bombe Machine, has been hailed as shortening the war by at least two years but government secrecy meant that the work was not officially recognised until the 1980s.

During the tour, a couple who met, and later married, while on duty at Bletchley were presented to the Queen and Prince Philip. Oliver and Sheila Lawn worked in separate parts of the site but met through a shared love for Scottish country dancing. The pair then started to meet in their spare time but could not talk about the work they were doing even though they both worked there.

Sheila Lawn, now 88, said that this vow of secrecy was kept until the government revealed the work done at the establishment and books started to appear during the 80s.

After meeting the royal couple, Lawn said, “It was a very great honour and I’m very pleased that it happened because it’s the culmination of a great deal of recent effort to save this place, it having been forgotten for all these years.”

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