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Podcast 55: Unique and Precious Memories

Tue, 14 Feb 2017
We celebrate the precious memories being gathered in Bletchley Park’s Oral History Project

Jean Kotchie was a Royal Navy Wren who worked on the noisy, smelly Bombe machines which helped speed up the daily race against time to find the Enigma settings on hundreds of networks, so that messages could be deciphered in enough time to make the intelligence operationally pin-sharp. Hers is a story of oil stains, monotony and exhaustion in the rural outreaches of the home counties; hardly what she had in mind when joining the Navy to do her bit for the war effort. It wasn’t all fun for Jean, and she looks back on a dark chapter in her young life to help future generations understand what happened.

Also in this episode, the baton of celebration is passing down the generations as more and more families of Codebreakers visit Bletchley Park to absorb the atmosphere and learn more about what their ancestors achieved.

One such proud family is the Hinsleys, whose parents met there during World War Two. On 7 June 1940, Harry Hinsley warned the Admiralty that German battle cruisers were about to emerge from the Baltic. His advice was ignored, and the next day the Scharnhorst sank the carrier HMS Glorious. This was but one moment in a highly distinguished career at Bletchley Park and beyond, including becoming the author of the official history of British Intelligence during World War Two.

Image: ©mcfontaine

Unique and Precious Memories