Bletchley Park veterans return for special reunion

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On Sunday, 3 September, 17 Veterans who worked for Bletchley Park during World War Two, returned to the wartime site for a very special Veterans’ Reunion.

Aged between 97 to 103, the Veterans enjoyed an exclusive afternoon tea in the Mansion, spending rare time together reconnecting with new and old friends and reminiscing on their wartime experiences.

Bletchley Park was the wartime home of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), modern day GCHQ, tasked with decrypting and decoding enemy messages to provide vital intelligence that aided the Allied war effort.

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Growing from a workforce of around 150 in 1939, Bletchley Park employed almost 9,000 women and men at its peak in 1945, with thousands more working at outstations and associated sites in the UK and overseas.

Bletchley Park Veterans gathered for a group photo outside the MansionBletchley Park Veterans gathered for a group photo outside the Mansion
Bletchley Park Veterans gathered for a group photo outside the Mansion

Today Bletchley Park is a vibrant, independent museum and heritage attraction, revealing the inspiring stories of GC&CS’s workforce and their impact on World War Two in immersive exhibitions and displays in original wartime buildings.

Reunions for Veterans have been held on site since the early 1990s, but this year’s was only the second on site since the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year’s reunion coincides with the tenth anniversary of Bletchley Park’s online Roll of Honour, which lists the names of over 13,000 people who were working for GC&CS during World War Two.

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Transcripts of some of the over 500 interviews conducted by the Bletchley Park Oral History Project can also be found on the online Bletchley Park Roll of Honour, helping to bring to life stories of what it was like to work here.

Bletchley Park Veteran Charlotte ‘Betty’ Webb MBE, aged 100, said:

“It’s wonderful to meetup in person with old friends and new. We share a common bond, even if we didn’t meet here during the war. I call Bletchley Park my ‘second home’. It’s great to be back.”

Iain Standen, CEO of Bletchley Park Trust said:

“The Veterans’ Reunion is one of the highlights of our year. It’s a chance to say thank you to all those who worked for Bletchley Park during World War Two and give them a chance to reconnect with each other. Hosting so many centenarians this year, as we also celebrated ten years of the Bletchley Park Roll of Honour, was extra special.”

A podcast episode on this year’s reunion will be available later this month. Listen to episodes on previous Veterans’ Reunions on the Bletchley Park podcast page.

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