Stop worrying and learn to love the bombe

A replica of one of the Turing Bombes, the machines which helped to decrypt German signals traffic during the Second World War, has gone on display at Bletchley Park. Aside from the (to be expected) bumf about this being one of the two most important machines in British history (the other being the Spitfire, apparently), the best bit of this report is the reminiscence of Ruth Bourne. Bourne was a junior Wren clerk who worked with the Bombes at Bletchley, and who, like almost all of her colleagues, kept their wartime activities secret from everyone until the 1970s.

…she finally felt at liberty thirty years after the end of the war to reveal to her family the part she had played in Hitler’s downfall. “I said to my husband, ‘I broke German codes during the war.’ He said ‘Really?’ and that was the end of the subject.”

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