Today I spend the day exploring the secret world of Bletchley Park (www.bletchleypark.org.uk), the world's first large-scale code breaking centre. Time very well spent.
The work carried out at Bletchley Park during WWII was that of decoding encrypted German messages. Initially they were messages encoded with the 3-rotor variant of the Enigma machine, then the 4-rotor variant, and later the Lorenz.
This is a 4-rotor variant of the Enigma machine.
This a Lorenz SZ42 machine.
This is the mansion at the Bletchley Park were all the activity started during WWII. As the job of deciphering messages grew so did the number of people working on that task and therefore the work expanded to other buildings constructed nearby. I started my visit with a guided tour of Bletchley Park and that tour start hear in the mansion.
Here our tour guide explains the Bombe machine. The Bombe machine was used to help decode German messages encoded with the Enigma. This machine iterated through the many possible combination of rotor settings on the Enigma and until the initial setting was found. Many such machines were in use to decode the many messages sent by the German each day during the war. The Bombe was named by the 3 Polish scientists who first invented it and they borrowed the name from some ice cream of the time.
This is the Rebuilt 1944 Colossus Mk 2 Computer. The Colossus was used to decode messages encoded with the more complex German Lorenz cipher. See www.codesandciphers.org.uk for more details.
These are some of the extra buildings, called huts, used to house all the people working at Bletchley Park.
This hut is currently used to house a Diplomatic Wireless Device exhibit. I had a long chat with the fellow running this place. He told me he knew what it was like for the Israelis these days, as he was a young boy living in London during the Bombing by the Germans. His parents eventually moved away from the city to the Bletchley Park area where it was safer and he's been here ever since and still living in the same house.
This is a reconstruction of one of the huts.
The was the gate into Bletchley Park that the couriers used during WWII to deliver the encoded German messages which they picked up at various wireless stations throughout England that were used to received them.
This is a memorial to the 3 Polish Scientists who did a lot of the initial work to break the Enigma's code.
This is a 1/5 scale model of a MkVII U-boat used in the Enigma film. A film about the Allies successful efforts to recovery an instruction manual that told the Germans how to set up their Enigma machines each day. Information that was vital to the code breaking efforts.
There are several other exhibits at Bletchley Park that are not directly related to the goings on here during WWII.
A Harrier aircraft.
A Jeep from WWII was in a garage with many other old vehicles.
Old cinema equipment. Many of it is still in working order. I sat through a couple old films. One was a 1960 news real and the other a 1940 news real.
The above equipment and much more along with a theatre was housed in the building on the left. In the center is a museum containing a ton of memorabilia and artifacts from Winston Churchill's life. I had a nice long chat with the old fellow running this exhibit. He's been to Canada several times, including Calgary. His stop in Calgary was to visit the Paliser Hotel because Winston Churchill stayed there once before the war. He said he was also at the opening of the new Churchill museum in London, along with the Queen (that's the one I visited a couple weeks ago).
As you may have noticed, my posting for the last couple days were a bit late. That's because I'm having trouble finding good internet connections in rural England. The hotels I'm staying at have WIFI services from new start-up companies and they don't work that great. Also, Internet cafes are hard to find, fortunately I only have a few days to go before I'm back in Canada.