On 15 August 1939, the Government Code & Cypher School (GC&CS) moved to it’s top secret war site, Bletchley Park, with the cover story that those working here ‘are part of the aerial defence of London’.
To mark the 80th anniversary of their arrival, we are sharing a transcript of the ‘Move of Service Sections to War Site, 15 August 1939’, sent to all GC&CS staff on 2nd August 1939, detailing how they were to get to Bletchley Park, how they could claim travel expenses, and the importance of secrecy.
Staff were advised to take sufficient personal luggage for 15 days. 19 days later, on 3 September 1939, Britain and Germany were at war. Over the next five years, Bletchley Park would grow from a workforce of a few hundred specialist to an intelligence factory employing over 9,000 men and women, working in shifts around the clock to provide vital intelligence for the Allies.
This is a transcript of a document held in The National Archives, reference HW 62/21/25. (Link to external website.)
MOVE OF SERVICE SECTIONS TO WAR SITE 15TH AUGUST, 1939
In order to carry out communication tests the war site will be manned a.m. 15th August by those detailed in G.C. & C. S. 1st Wave who are not on leave at the time.
All documents required at the war site are to be packed by 5.30 p.m. on 14th August. They will be moved during that night. As many as possible are to be placed in small cupboards and filing cabinets which can be locked. Arrangements for labelling will be promulgated later. Stationery has already been sent down. Sufficient personal luggage should be taken for 15 days.
Those going by train should obtain a single ticket of the appropriate class to Bletchley. On arrival they should place their luggage in the cloak room from whence it will be collected after the allocation of billets etc. They should proceed on foot from the station to the war site enquiring if necessary for Bletchley Park, which is on the up (West) side of the railway. On leaving the station turn right up the hill and proceed through the second lodge gates. Suitable trains from Euston are the 8.37 a.m., and the 9.30 a.m. An advance for railway tickets can be obtained from Mr. Travis.
Those proceeding by car should arrive by 10 a.m. Cars should not be left in front of the war site but can be parked in the place provided. Car owners will be expected to assist in distribution of staff to billets especially on the first night when everyone will have luggage.
An extract from the regulations for care allowances and compensation rates is attached for reference.
You will therefore retain one third only of your compensation allowance up to a maximum of 5/- per day, the remainder will be refunded to the Billeting Officer.
There will be no rail or car allowances for those who do not make use of the billets provided, except for those living in the vicinity who will be out of pocket by the change of office.
Expense claims should be made at the end of 14 days on forms provided by Mr. Travis.
All hotel bills other than extras, i.e. drinks, tips, etc. will be paid and you will be provided with lunch at the war site itself.
The address for official correspondence and private letters will be Room 47 Foreign Office and the official telephone No. Whitehall 7947.
The staff are warned against any conversations regarding the work with other members of the staff whilst in their billets. If occasion should arise as to what you are doing the answer should be that you are part of the aerial defence of London.
The existing arrangements for the attendance of a skeleton staff on Saturday afternoons and Sundays shall continue whilst at the war site unless the situation deteriorates.
This test is to be treated with the utmost secrecy by all members of this departments.
Gas masks are to be taken.
2nd August, 1939