Members and guests visited the once highly secret Bletchey Park near Milton Keynes on Wednesday last.
We hear a great deal about the contribution our valiant airmen made during the Battle of Britain – and rightly so, but the work undertaken at Bletchey Park was estimated to shorten WW11 by two to four years and yet it was so highly secret that no one was allowed to reveal the wonderful work undertaken there until quite recently.
At the start of WW11 some of the best Mathematicians and scientists from our key universities were brought together at Bletchey Park and had the huge task of cracking the cypher messages, generated by the German Enigma machine, and sent to their troops , aircraft and shipping, including the uboats attacking the convoys coming from America.
Amongst the most famous of these mathematicians were Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman. The mathematical task to carry this out on a large scale was enormous, so Alan Turing was famous for his conceiving of the " Bombe" machine which was pivotal in cracking coded messages which enabled the Allies to defeat the Nazis in many crucial engagements, including the Battle of the Atlantic. Gordon Welchman developed this capability to become an industrial scale.
Alan Turing went to work at first at the National Physical Laboratory after the war where he designed the ACE computer and subsequently at Manchester University in the Max Newman's computing Laboratory, where he helped develop the Manchester mark1 computer.He also conceived of the "AlanTuring test" for artificial Intelligence.
Gordon Welchman went to the United States to MIT and continued to work in the area of message interception and code braking.
So highly successful was Bletchey Park that high secrecy was maintained for years after the war and was the forerunner of GCHQ.