222 episodes

Bletchley Park is the home of British codebreaking and a birthplace of modern information technology. It played a major role in World War Two, producing secret intelligence which had a direct and profound influence on the outcome of the conflict. The site is now a museum and heritage attraction, open daily.

The Bletchley Park Podcast brings you fascinating stories from Veterans, staff and volunteers on the significance and continued relevance of this site today.

Bletchley Par‪k‬ Bletchley Park

    • History

Bletchley Park is the home of British codebreaking and a birthplace of modern information technology. It played a major role in World War Two, producing secret intelligence which had a direct and profound influence on the outcome of the conflict. The site is now a museum and heritage attraction, open daily.

The Bletchley Park Podcast brings you fascinating stories from Veterans, staff and volunteers on the significance and continued relevance of this site today.

    E121 - Oral History Special No. 5

    E121 - Oral History Special No. 5

    April 2021 
     
    Our Veterans who served in one of the three women’s auxiliary services during World War Two are always proud of their particular branch and WAAF Daphne Canning is no exception. When Oral History Officer Jonathan Byrne interviewed her in 2017 she was still proud to have worn her ‘Sparks’ badge; the insignia of a Royal Air Force Wireless Operator. 
     
    These Oral History Specials allow us to bring you the complete recordings of interviews we have previously featured only as much shorter versions. In this episode, Daphne, who volunteered at 17½, tells us about becoming a Wireless Operator, then later a Morse Slip Reader and also how she survived a being hit by a V1 rocket. 
     
    This interview is really three for the price of one because Daphne also tells us the stories of her father and her husband. All three of them linked not just as family but as Wireless Operators helping the Codebreakers at Bletchley Park.
     
    Image, courtesy of Mrs Daphne Canning. 
     
    #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #WW2, #OralHistory,

    • 58 min
    E120 - Oral History Special No. 4

    E120 - Oral History Special No. 4

    March 2021 
     
    In our last Oral History Special we brought you the first part of a 2017 interview with former WREN, Mary Sherrard. From 1942 until the end of the war, Mary served at Bletchley Park and then at the Eastcote Bombe Outstation. This helped shaped the rest of her life because it was at Eastcote where she met her future husband John. 
     
    After originally servicing Spitfires in 1940, an interview at the Foreign Office sent John to Eastcote and Stanmore to maintain Mary’s Bombe machines. By the time of his demob from the RAF in 1946, he had risen to the rank of Warrant Officer and married his “Scot’s girl”. 
     
    In this second part, Mary talks to Oral History Volunteer Mike Chapman about not only her time at GC&CS but also shares John’s story. We hear about the rest of the war and also their fascinatingly varied post-war lives.
     
    These two episodes are tributes to both Mary (1923-2020) and John (1921-1999).
     
    Image ©Bletchley Park Trust 2021
     
    #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #WW2, #OralHistory,

    • 53 min
    E119 - Forging a Special Relationship

    E119 - Forging a Special Relationship

    March 2021 
     
    In March 1946, as an ‘Iron Curtain’ was descending across Europe, in post-war London a document was signed that to this day is the basis of the most important and longest intelligence relationship that the UK has. But that Special Relationship with the USA didn’t suddenly begin 75 years ago; it was the culmination of five years of wartime collaboration.
     
    In this episode Podcast Producer, Mark Cotton, and our Research Historian, Dr David Kenyon, go back to February 1941 and look at each of the milestones that led up to the signing of the UKUSA Agreement – five years that forged a Special Relationship.
     
    Special thanks to Steven Eric Wilson and Mr Ben Thompson for voicing our archival documents.
     
    Image ©Bletchley Park Trust 2021
     
    #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #WW2, #GCHQ,

    • 1 hr 23 min
    E118 - Oral History Special No. 3

    E118 - Oral History Special No. 3

    February 2021 
     
    To keep you going during the lockdown, the podcast team will be bringing you a new episode every two weeks.
     
    Last year we featured short clips from dozens of our Veterans telling us what they did on VE Day & VJ Day. Now in these Oral History Specials we can bring you the longer versions of those interviews, allowing our Veterans to tell their full story, in their own voices and in their own way. 
     
    Vital to us capturing these interview are a team of brilliant volunteers who visit our Veterans at home to record them. In this episode we join one of those Oral History Volunteers, Mike Chapman, who in 2017 travelled up to the Scottish Borders to interview Mary Sherrard. Mary recorded a fascinating and especially long interview with Mike which we are going to bring you in two parts.  In this first part Mary tells us about joining the Women’s Royal Naval Service and arriving at Bletchley Park in 1942.
     
    Image ©Bletchley Park Trust 2021
     
    #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #WW2, #OralHistory,

    • 51 min
    E117 - Oral History Special No. 2

    E117 - Oral History Special No. 2

    February 2021 
     
    As we did last year we have decided to release extra content again during the current lockdown and so for at least the next couple of months we will be bringing you a new show every two weeks. These will be a mixture of Oral History Specials and also our regular content as and when COVID restrictions allow us. 
     
    Last year we featured short clips from dozens of our Veterans telling us what they did on VE Day & VJ Day. Now in these Oral History Specials we can bring you the longer versions of those interviews, allowing our Veterans to tell their full story, in their own voices and in their own way. 
     
    In early 2020, in what would become one the last interviews carried out just weeks before the pandemic, our Oral History Officer, Jonathan Byrne and his colleague Will Hankey sat down with GC&CS Veteran Tim Edwards. Previously we heard what Tim got up to on the day the war ended in Europe and now we can bring you much more of that interview. Tim’s reminisces about how the discovery of an eyesight problem suddenly stopped his training to be a pilot in the RAF and landed him at Bletchley Park working on German Air Force codes.  
     
    Image ©Bletchley Park Trust 2021
     
    #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #WW2, #OralHistory,

    • 39 min
    E116 - Oral History Special No. 1

    E116 - Oral History Special No. 1

    January 2021 
     
    As we release this episode Bletchley Park Museum is currently closed as the UK is in a national lockdown to help contain the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Our staff and volunteers like so many around the world are in lockdown, self-isolation or working remotely from home. Unfortunately it means the promised second part of our Q&A’s from our listeners is on-hold for now, but once we are safe to do so we will bring you that show.
     
    As we did last year during the first lockdown we will endeavour to continue to bring you new episodes of the podcast. With that in mind we thought back to our VE & VJ Day episodes from last year which included very short clips from dozens of our more than 500 Oral History recordings. So until we can resume our ‘normal service’ it seems the perfect time to shine a light on our Veterans by bringing you the full versions of some of those interviews, in these Oral History Specials.
     
    For the first of these special shows we have selected Sheila Wilson who came to Bletchley Park in 1944 to serve in the Naval Section plotting Allied shipping. A post-war career which included becoming a Psychotherapist has given Sheila a truly deep and at times existential view of her time at GC&CS. This makes her interview, which was recorded in 2015, simply fascinating.

    But first, before lockdown, we sat down with Jonathan Byrne to talk about why collecting the Oral Histories of our Veterans is so vitally important.

    Image ©Bletchley Park Trust 2021

    #BPark, #Bletchleypark, #WW2, #OralHistory,

    • 57 min

Top Podcasts In History

Listeners Also Subscribed To