Triumphs and tribulations - Codebreaking in World War One

The Road to Bletchley Park - exhibition extended

The groundbreaking exhibition about codebreaking during World War One, The Road to Bletchley Park, has been extended to tell stories of the impact this pioneering work had on the war at sea, on land and in the air. The exhibition, which is sponsored by BAE Systems and Ultra Electronics, also touches on the tribulations of effectively sharing intelligence without revealing its source.

Phase one of The Road to Bletchley Park explores some of the people involved in WW1 codebreaking who went on to be crucial to the successes of the Government Code and Cypher School during World War Two.

Now the second phase, which extends the exhibition in Block C at Bletchley Park, explores stories including the largest naval battle of WW1 and the secret telegram which brought the USA into the conflict.

Interactive, multimedia storytelling is used to tell stories including how Direction Finding helped track the movements of German airships. A specially commissioned animated video shows how this new technology helped protect Britain from attack, using as an example the elimination of Zeppelin L21, which had dropped more than 14,000kg of bombs on Britain during ten raids.

As the centenary of the Battle of Jutland on 31 May approaches, the second phase of the interactive, multimedia exhibition also examines how intelligence provided by Room 40 allowed the Royal Navy a four-hour head start on the Germans. Both sides suffered heavy losses, and both claimed victory. This story touches on the difficulty of effectively communicating the intelligence gleaned by Codebreakers in Room 40 whilst at the same time protecting the source.

Friends of Bletchley Park will be the first to see phase two of The Road to Bletchley Park, at an exclusive preview on Thursday 19 May. Join now to attend.

The exhibition opens to all visitors on Friday 20 May.

Image: HMS Thunderer, Royal Oak, Iron Duke and Superb during the Battle of Jutland, courtesy of the National Museum of the Royal Navy