Winston Churchill described the code-breakers at Bletchley Park as, ‘the geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled’.
In case you didn’t know, Bletchley Park was a series of top-secret buildings in Buckinghamshire during World War 2; and the first sessions of code-breaking started there in September 1938.
All Prep 7 pupils have been learning about code breaking in Maths lessons. They have found out about the Caesar cypher, pigpen code and Morse code. They have also been researching about Bletchley Park and how the code breakers contributed to the successful outcome to World War II.
The volunteers at Bletchley Park gave our pupils a walking tour of Bletchley Park teaching them about the history of the buildings as well as the fabulous reconstructions of the early computers including Colossus. Pupils stood in the exact place where code breakers had stood when Winston Churchill visited to thank them for their valuable contribution to the war effort. He called Bletchley Park the ‘goose who laid the golden egg’ such was the value of the information they were able to decipher.
Pupils learned about Alan Turing and the Enigma Code. How the Lorenz codes where broken using the Tunny and Colossus. They even saw a Heath Robinson machine at work. The cutting-edge technology of the time is still a wonder definitely worth seeing.
The Enigma Machine
Of course, there had to be some classwork. Pupils were told about the difference between codes and ciphers and then went on to do some code breaking of their own. Perhaps one of the most memorable parts of the day was actually using an Enigma machine and using it to interpret a message which had been sent in code from another Enigma machine. Yes, it was an original Enigma machine!
Many of the pupils have said that they would like to go back so that they can see more of the exhibits as we were only able to scratch the surface in the time available. Also, if we ever need them, we now have a number of budding code breakers ready and waiting!