Year 7 Visit Original Home of the Government Code for ACE Day
Building on their knowledge of Bletchley Park and code-breaking, Year 7 visited Britain’s once top secret code-breaking headquarters for their ACE Day experience.
Upon arrival, Year 7 enjoyed a tour of the site led by Graham, a local volunteer with family links to the site. The human stories behind Bletchley’s wartime operations came to life as Graham described Churchill’s visit where the Prime Minister stood on a stone in front of the house and thanked the staff for their contributions to the war effort.
Among the places of interest were memorials to the Polish code-breakers who had cracked Enigma in 1932 and the Polish airmen who had significantly contributed to the success of the Battle of Britain. The tour concluded with an immersive cinematic experience detailing how Bletchley’s efforts succeeded in misleading the occupied forces in France as to where the Allied invasion would take place.
Huts 6 and 8 contained a wealth of information, including interactive displays where boys were challenged to crack codes and use overlays to decrypt messages. Hut 11, with the impressive reconstruction of the bombe machine, was a highlight of the trip. The boys were fascinated to see the machine in action and interact with the displays to further understand how it works.
After an opportunity to look around the site in groups, the boys took part in a code-breaking workshop, where they had a series of problems to solve in order to reveal the secret identity of a spy at Bletchley. Here, the boys did admirably, with a fine display of courage and perseverance.
Throughout the day, conversations were sparked by comments from the Bletchley staff, ranging from military intelligence then and now, to the GB3RS amateur radio station situation on the grounds, where the staff took the boys through the technicalities of broadcasting and listening in to radio frequencies. Bletchley had brought to life the story of the German U-Boat U559, which was boarded by two seamen Grazier and Fasson, who managed to recover the German codes for that month.
All of the Bletchley staff took the time to speak to the boys, answering their questions and building on their knowledge. The boys had a fantastic day.
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