"You must not mention this conversation to any living person"
Veteran Wren (Women’s Royal Naval Service) Bombe Operator, Audrey Wind, recalls how she was plucked from “filthy cleaning jobs” in basic training and recruited to do a “very, very secret” job.
She says “Half a dozen of us were told to report up to the castle and one by one we were taken into a room. In the middle was a WRN officer. She said ‘We want you to do something that is very, very secret. We can’t tell you what it is but when you leave this room you must not mention this conversation to any living person.’”
Audrey was posted to Eastcote, an outstation of Bletchley Park, where she operated Bombe machines. She says “The pressure was enormous. It took me a long time after the war to get over it and I’m sure it did for everyone. It was terribly stressful.”
The shared secret of what went on at Bletchley Park is the common bond between the characters in the hit ITV drama, The Bletchley Circle.
Long before the veil of secrecy was lifted, while working as a school secretary, Audrey was spotted by a colleague, the school Headmaster, Oliver Berthoud, as a fellow alumnus of Bletchley Park. She says “It was wonderful to be able to talk to someone about it.” Colleagues who spotted their secret conversations became suspicious that they were having an illicit affair. Audrey is emphatic “We most certainly were not.”
You can hear more from Audrey in the January episode of the Bletchley Park Podcast.