The woman of Bletchley Park have a unique story to tell. Although critical to the success of the project to break the German and Japanese codes in the Second World War, their contribution has been consistently overlooked and undervalued. Through unprecedented access to surviving veterans, this boo reveals how life at 'The Park' and its outstations was far removed from the glamorous existence usually portrayed. The women speak vividly of their lives in the 1930s, why they were selected to work in Britain's most secret organisation, and the challenges of re-entry into civilian life. Forbidden to talk about their vital war work, they often found it hard to adjust to the expectations of both their immediate families and society as whole.
By spending time with these fascinating female secret-keepers who are still alive today, Tessa Dunlop captures their extraordinary journeys into an adult world of war, secrecy, love and loss. Through the voices of the women themselves, this is a portrait of life at Bletchley Park beyond the celebrated code-breakers. The Bletchley Girls is the story of the women behind Britain's ability to consistently outsmart the enemy.
Review by Sarah Rainey (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/).- The girl on the scarlet bicycle was a familiar sight to the residents of Fenny Stratford, Buckinghamshire, in the early Forties. Every day she would sail past the terraced houses on the high street. Her commute was tough – three miles, mostly uphill – but she was young, just 19, and everyone she passed remarked on her smile. She lodged with the Dickenses, a lorry driver and his wife, but she wasn’t from those parts. Was she a runaway, they wondered; perhaps a secretary with a job or a boyfriend in the next village?
Rozanne Colchester was, in fact, a “Bletchleyette”. From 1942 to 1945, she was one of around 8,000 women drafted in from around the country to work at Bletchley Park, home of the Second World War codebreakers and training ground of Alan Turing, father of the modern computer. Colchester (then Medhurst) worked in one of Bletchley’s wooden huts, where she decoded messages sent between enemy fighter pilots. Like everyone at “The Park”, she was sworn to secrecy about her work. “You were told that if you talked about it, you could be shot,” she recalls. “It was all terribly exciting.”
The secrecy shrouding the activities at Bletchley lingered for years after the war. It wasn’t until the mid-Seventies that public discussion of the work there became possible – and not until 2009 that the British government awarded honours to its personnel. Recognition of their efforts has been unquestionably slow. Yet, for the Bletchleyettes, it remains almost non-existent....(see more at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/)