Talk:Bletchley Park

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troubling claims[edit]

There are rather a lot of errors in some recent edits. I have corrected some of these, but am merely suspicious about others (such as the tunnel claims). Someone with direct knowledge of Bletchley should review some of the statements made. As of this date, this is an unsatisfactory article due to the (possibly) erronious content which remains.

ww 13:56, 1 May 2004 (UTC)

ww -- could you point out the statements about which you have suspicions (perhaps copying them to this talk page)? Even if they turn out to be completely accurate, it would be good to have sources... — Matt 09:55, 2 May 2004 (UTC)
Matt, Wilco. As below, noted with **xyz** -- from article.
Bletchley Park has been credited variously with shortening the war by two years (possible due its contributions during the Battle of the Atlantic, but distinctly controversial), with **ending the bombing of Pearl Harbour** (impossible) by sending information of the **location of Yamamoto the head of the Japanese Combined Fleet ** (quite a dubious claim as the information which led to his death came from breaks into JN-25 largely by USN cryptanalysts). **Montgomery would often talk of how the code-breaking efforts of Bletchley Park enabled him to 'know what the Jerries [Germans] are having for breakfast'.**
Strongly suspect none of these stand up apart from the Battle of the Atlantic where the contribution of BP was critical; it's arguable it legthened the war because otherwise the Germans would have won! The main identifiable other credits to BP are the sea battles of Matapan and the north Cape. Chris R 23:24, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
The Government Code and Cypher School (GC & CS), the intelligence bureau responsible for interception and decryption of foreign transmissions amongst other things, moved into the Park in 1939. The radio station that was constructed in the park for its use was given the codename "Station X", a term often erroneously applied to the code-breaking efforts at Bletchley as a whole. Station X was soon moved south to Whaddon Hall, to divert attention from the Bletchley site itself. **To further the disguise of Bletchley Park, it was built to appear as a hospital from above to deter bombing by German planes. However, a bomb was dropped next to the despatch riders' entrance, shifting the whole of Hut 4 (the Naval Intelligence hut) two metres on its base.** The bomb was thought to have been intended for Bletchley railway station.
Hate the heading "Before Station X" as I've never seen any serious reference to BP as "Station X" until the TV series of that name (UK). Where does the stuff about the X coming from the Roman numeral come from? I always assumed it was related to the "Y" stations (intercept stations) that collected the encrypted messages and passed them to BP, but I've no confirmation for that. I've not heard the hospital story before (what would you do to make a complex like BP look like a hospital from the air) and the "however" is a non-sequitur - the bomb did not hit because of the failure of the hospital disguise. Chris R 23:24, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
Now deleted the Station X reference in the introduction as unnecesarily prominent, and the Roman numerla X piece, since Bletchley Park's own website says "the Park was given the cover name Station X, being the tenth of a large number of sites acquired by MI6 for its wartime operations", contradicting any link to the radio station. Does anyone have any evidence taht anyone called it Station X, pronounced as letter X, before the Chanel Four documentary? If it were a numeral it would be called "Station Ten". I suspect that Channel 4 seized on it a snappy name for its series. Also changed the references to Y Stations which implied that the BP radio station carried out direct signal intercepts (the job of the Y Stations) - no evidence for that. Why are these particular Y Stations mentioned? --Cyclopaedic 11:27, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
I've readded a bold "Station X" into the lead section, simply because it's now a popular term for BP, and it's customary to list synonyms there. I don't know how popular it was before Channel 4, though, and I don't disagree with your edit. I don't know about mentioning particular Y stations, but a paragraph or so describing BP's relationship with the Y service would be a good thing to have. — Matt Crypto 11:42, 27 August 2006 (UTC)
**The codebreakers would enter the park by coach or train, and it is rumoured that there was a series of inter-connecting tunnels and chambers below Bletchley Park that allowed workers to get in secretly. It is also rumoured that one tunnel, which started in the Park grounds and emerged in the local pub, was for the use of Winston Churchill. It is also said that Eisenhower and Churchill had a meeting in one of the rumoured chambers.**
You can't enter BP by train, although the station is next door. I suspect most workers arrived on foot or bicycles, although many were billeted some distance away. The tunnels staff sounds like rubbish to me. Why would Churchill need his own tunnel? Chris R 23:24, 22 January 2006 (UTC)
I know, and have learned, absolutely nothing about the history of the place prior to Leon. All of this in the article may be spot on, but ???
ww 17:06, 2 May 2004 (UTC)

Re “Station X” Welchman (1982, Hut 6 page 160) writes “Bletchley Park (known in the intelligence world as Station X)”; but he could have got that from postwar writings. He says (page 11) it was B.P. to the inhabitants. Re Pearl Harbour etc, while the decrypts probably didn’t refer specifically to Pearl, Tiltman and other British (and Dutch?) cryptanalysts were working on Japanese codes including JN-25; it wasn’t an American monopoly. And on the shortening of the war by (?) which seems credible; if the European war had lasted much longer, would the allies have dropped an Atomic bomb on Germany? Hugo999 01:22, 8 July 2007 (UTC)

status of Colossus as first xxx computer, esp in re Zuse[edit]

Because of the importance of Bletchley Park for the field of Computer Science someone should correct the statement where it sais the Collossos was the world's first programmable computer. That information is incorrect - the earlier success of Konrad Zuse in building a fully electronic computer (Z1, Z2, Z3) were largeley ignored in Nazi Germany. I think that information is especially interesting in relation to Batchley Park, because Germany apparently had access to superior technology for cryptography at the time - luckily didn't realize it!

I am not so sure about this. Wikipedia says that Colossus was the first programmable electronic computer, whereas the Zuse machines were based on telephone relays and were therefore electrical, not electronic. -- Heron 16:21, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Heron, You are correct. The article claims (or at least claimed when I last reviewed carefully) that Colossus was the first 1) electronic, 2) programmable 3) digital computer. Vannevar Bush's analog computers were neither electronic nor digital, but pre-dated Colossus. The ABC machine was electronic but not programmable, and pre-dated Colossus. The Zuse and Stibitz (Bell Labs) relay machines were not electronic and were (variably) programmable, but pre-dated Colossus. Babbage's Analytical Engine design was digital and programmable but not electronic, and well pre-dated Colossus. It is the combination of points that is the unique priority for Colossus. ww 20:44, 21 Jul 2004 (UTC)
Thank you, ww. Our article "History_of_computing_hardware" has more details, for anyone who wants to follow this up. -- Heron 08:03, 22 Jul 2004 (UTC)
A later note. After reviewing Colossus material in great detail (to far more depth than we have in our article), I would not describe Colossus as "programmable", at least in anything like the sense we now think of the word.
For one, there was no program, in the sense of an algorithm, with transfers of control, especially conditional transfers. The commonly-reported line about Colossus having some conditional testing is true only in a very limited sense; at the end of each pass of the tape loop, it could compare the contents of counters with pre-set values (in switches), and would print or not print the totals in the counters if they exceeded the preset values.
All Colossus could do, really, was read paper tape, perform certain plug-selected binary operations on one or more of the bits of each frame read from the tape (usually only 2 channels out of 5 were looked at), and depending on the output of that binary function, increment counters. That's all. It was really incredibly specialized to the job of doing statistical analyses on the key/cipher stream of the Tunny cipher.
The novelty of Colossus lies in the technology, more than the architecture: it was certainly the first large-scale electronic digital device, and thereby had a great influence on post-WWII computer development in the UK (since many of the leading lights in that field, such as Newman and Turing, were intimately associated with Colossus). Noel (talk) 04:11, 1 Mar 2005 (UTC)
One other thing: It's saying "citation needed" for the claim that the crypto research at Bletchley was comparable to the Manhattan Project in impact. This is prima facie evident. Without the crypto research at Bletchley, there would have been no Manhattan Project. Furthermore, Turing's work is the foundation of all modern computer science.
I do think it needs a citation — at least IMHO (for whatever that's worth!) it's not really prima facie evident. It's not at all clear to me why Ultra was necessary for the Manhatten Project to have succeeded, for example. Also, Turing's work may indeed be the foundation of compsci, but it's not the crypto work he did at Bletchley. From what I've been reading recently, Turing's contribution to Colossus has been much overstated. It would seem he had little, if any, involvement in Colossus. — Matt Crypto 17:38, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

hut, hut, hike[edit]

Matt, I can't pretend to remember the Hut numbering, but the one I seem to remember is Hut Six. It's the title of Welchman's book, after all. That implies that Six was responsible for Naval Engima, not as the list is now Army and AirForce variants. Since you've clearly gotten this from a list, could there have been a list - brain - fingers obscuration. Appropriate for the crypto corner, eh?, but confusing to the non-cryptiac.

So, Six or not Six, that is ... never mind... ww 14:57, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Welchman's own book says (pp. 58) that Hut 6 "decoded .. mostly army and air force traffic", and Hut 8 did "decodes of the German navy's Enigma traffic". So I'm not sure what led you to your idea above that Welchman worked on naval Enigma. Noel (talk) 23:20, 2 Jan 2005 (UTC)
The list was amalgamated from a couple of online sources (one was http://www.codesandciphers.org.uk/bletchleypark/tour4.htm). It seems that huts 6 and 3 were paired and dealt with army and air force traffic; 6 did the codebreaking while 3 housed the intelligence analysts. Similarly Huts 8 and 4 were paired for Naval Enigma. — Matt 22:57, 3 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Rumours[edit]

I've moved the following rumours here for now:

The code breakers would enter the park by coach or train, and it is rumoured that there was a series of inter-connecting tunnels and chambers below Bletchley Park that allowed workers to get in secretly. It is also rumoured that one tunnel, which started in the Park grounds and emerged in the local pub, was for the use of Winston Churchill. It is also said that Eisenhower and Churchill had a meeting in one of the rumoured chambers.

Does anyone have a source for these rumours? I haven't come across them after reading a number of BP books, so I'm not even sure these are notable enough to include, but I'm willing to be proved wrong! — Matt 20:23, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The rumours of tunnels for Churchill were alive in 1982; we spent many hours searching for them in Block B, without success, but with some likely places - the drying room in the basement appeared to have a blocked off area, and a vertical blocked tunnel close to the GCHQ building facing part of Block B.

Link error?[edit]

Comment only: on the list of people associated with Bletchley Park: I think you've linked Hugh Alexander to the wrong chap: the Hugh Alexander at Bletchley was C. H. O'D. Alexander, an outstanding English chess player, later - among other things - chess correspondent of the Sunday Times (in which capacity he once sent me a nice letter).

Brian Palmer 137.195.14.158 14:23, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Thanks for spotting that. I've whipped up a short entry on C.H. O'D. Alexander, although it doesn't include any of his achievements in chess. — Matt Crypto 15:48, 28 September 2005 (UTC)

Hut 1[edit]

According to the caption for the picture of Hut 1, "Hut 1 was the first hut to be constructed". I am surprised by this. Surely the first hut to be constructed would logically have been Hut 76, or Hut 4931? :-p --El Pollo Diablo (Talk) 12:14, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

More People Stubs[edit]

I have added stubs for Frank Birch, Hugh Foss, and Josh Cooper (cryptographer). Hope someone can add the BP details of JC! And that no-one deletes Hugh Foss, as happened to someone else's earlier article on him in 2005. PS re Categories, should Foss etc be shown as Category:Cryptographers or Category:British Cryptographer(s)??

The reference to Kilindi needs to direct to a new page I will write sometime on the FECB = Far East Combined Bureau, which moved from Hong Kong to Singapore to Colombo/Ceylon to Kilindini. And there is a reference in Action this Day (page 142/144/531) re Hugh Foss to him being in the Japanese Naval Section in “Hut 7” at B.P. To add Hut 7 to the Huts in main B.P. article?

(Not sure who wrote above) I added Hut 7 and more people but no stubs. One of the challenges is who to list. If a source lists someone in an article, who am I to not add them? -- DGamey 01:02, 30 October 2007 (UTC)

The Reunion[edit]

Radio 4's "The Reunion" broadcast on the 6th and 11th April 2008 brought together five people who were codebreakers at Bletchley Park. If you're quick you can catch it on the "listen again" website here before it expires on Sunday morning 13th April when the next programme is broadcast. There was some useful stuff on there that could be quoted in the article - such as how the first book published on the subject was wrong, and quotations from Churchill. If I can find my minidisk recorder I'll plug it into the PC to record it but time is short and I've not found it yet. Richerman (talk) 13:31, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Available as an mp3 here. SeveroTC 15:51, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
That's lovely, but even better would be a printed transcript. I've searched for such a document, but so far without success. --Anticipation of a New Lover's Arrival, The 16:10, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Ah, I didn't realise there would be an mp3. A transcript would be nice but you can quote from the mp3 and use the cite episode template from Wikipedia:Citation templates Richerman (talk) 18:54, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
I recorded it from the BBC Listen Again - I'm not sure about the legality but it certainly gives us more time to listen to it and pick out useful bits for this article. SeveroTC 19:47, 13 April 2008 (UTC)
Probably not strictly legal but as long as it's only for your personal use and you don't redistribute the recording nobody's going to care. Richerman (talk) 23:32, 13 April 2008 (UTC)

Bletchley Park faces bleak future[edit]

Despite past donations Bletckley still struggles financially for the reason given in this ZD Net article. Bletchley Park faces bleak future I don't know how best to work it into this article, so I'll leave it here for anyone who understands the situation better.--Aspro (talk) 17:00, 16 May 2008 (UTC)

Bletchley Park, The aftermath.[edit]

In my view Bletchley Park existed yet is bedevilled by the history of the contemporary times. 'When did Bletchley Park know about the "Final solution"?' is a question that recurs. The answer seems to be that the Germans passed lists of the names of those slaughtered, encrypted, and Blethcley park was aware of these lists from fairly early on. What they meant was open to question, as was the extremely vexing question of what could be done if everyone's worst nightmares were recognised. Were the orders stemming from the Wannsea conference promulgated via ENIGMA, and were they intercepted?

At the end of the war copies of the ENIGMA machine were given to commonwealth countries as an unbreakable system. MI6 wanted Bletchley Park raised to the ground and any memories sowed with salt (hence the continuing rumours of Turing's suicide - did you ever hear such nonsense as the tale that he is supposed to have coated an apple with cyanide and put it into his fruit bowl?) This destruction included Colossus. However, since the whole point of giving these machines to other countries was because the codes could be broken, clearly MI6/GCHQ must have built a replacement.

Up to the 1970s Australia & New Zealand used (British) Typex not Enigma machines. And while Stalin knew about Enigma decrypts, he did not know about the decrypting of Fish (Tunny) ciphers according to Tony Sale's page Hugo999 (talk) 11:37, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

It is a matter of record that Bletchley Park didn't cackle, but Philby, Blunt et al sang like birds, and they had access to the intercepts. As far as Stalin was concerned, Bletchley Park was an open book.

The UK govt. were and are still, paranoid (not too strong a word) about the average bloke off the street being able to use a code which govt. cannot read. Secret service fixation about the mathematical approaches to encryption (mostly demanding the extraction of very large primes) meant that they concluded the situation could be controlled by restricting access to the necessary computing power, which lead to establishment demands that the number of computers in the UK should be heavily restricted and placed in locations where they could be properly policed. Hence the statement that the number of computers needed in the UK were 4 and they should be in nuclear power (perhaps more properly called fissile material extraction plants) stations.

Other questions occur. Were the Labour government told about Bletchley Park when they came to power in 1945, or was that another of the secrets that the Civil Service felt were too important to be entrusted to a Socialist Government?

Where the British Army directed to Belsen as quickly as possible, or was the need to keep our success in code breaking secret still, even at that late stage, considered to be paramount?

Clearly Stalin wanted a second front. Equally clearly he would have been happy if it's success had been limited while drawing in as many German troops as possible. At Arnhem the Germans had placed a Panzer division close by our target, supposedly for 'R & R'. Why was there no information about the location of this division relayed by ENIGMA as usual and intercepted, as one might have expected? Or was it that 'Boy' Browning had this information and it was this that lead to the instant demise of his army career and undiluted hatred from his American opposite numbers? Did Stalin allow German spies to glean the information about the intended attack which had been relayed to him by his selection of highly placed spies in the UK?

Drg40 (talk) 09:59, 25 July 2008 (UTC)

Non-sequiturs, etc.[edit]

As one who doesn't know about this subject, some of the sentences seem to come out of the blue, and could use some prefacing or explanation:

second paragraph: "The main Manor house is also available for functions and is licensed for ceremonies. A good part of the fees for hiring the facilities are paid to the fund, and is another way that support can be given to the Trust." What fund? What Trust?
Under early history, second paragraph: "The first government visitors to Bletchley Park described themselves as Captain Ridley's shooting party." What does this refer to?

Help in clarifying would be welcome. - Special-T (talk) 13:30, 7 November 2008 (UTC)

What did Stalin know?[edit]

Can anyone add info. about Stalin's spy/spies at BP?

Is is true that Stalin was given intelligence information from BP, under a cover-story, but that he knew, through spying, the real intelligence source (that 3 and 4 wheel Enigma cypher has been broken, by using Bombes and so on)?

But is it also true that the Collosii were destroyed in 1945 because Britain did not want Stalin to know that the much stronger twelve-wheel German high-command cypher had been broken at BP, which was useful in the Cold War? Jdudding (talk) 14:14, 2 September 2009 (UTC)

It is certainly the case that Stalin was aware of Bletchley Park and Ultra. The Soviet Spy John Cairncross worked as a translator at BP for a year, and other members of the Cambridge 5 spyring had access to Ultra reports. Regarding clandestine sharing of Ultra, it is certainly true that Churchill personally provided Stalin information, with ultra as the undisclosed source, regarding Barbarossa and Operation Blue to the Soviets, which were promptly ignored. I don't know about the destruction of the Colossi. --95.151.250.94 (talk) 14:08, 27 March 2013 (UTC)

Bombing[edit]

The article states

"The only direct action that the site experienced was when three bombs, thought to have been intended for Bletchley railway station, were dropped on 20 November 1940 – 21 November 1940. One bomb exploded next to the dispatch riders' entrance, shifting the whole of Hut 4 (the Naval Intelligence hut) two feet on its base. As the huts stood on brick pillars, workmen just winched it back into position whilst work continued inside."

But the Bletchley park site itself states that it is believed the bombs were just being randomly dumped by a German bomber heading home. As the statement above doesn't site evidence, shouldn't it be removed?

213.120.222.100 (talk) 15:38, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I would take out the bit about direct action maybe, as the German army never cottoned on to Bletchley Park's existance for the duration of the war, so direct action is a bit of a fallacy. The "thought to have been intended" bit I would maybe leave in, and insert a {{who}} tag next to it to prompt someone to cite where they got that from. -- roleplayer 16:12, 4 September 2009 (UTC)

I can contribute to the story of the bombing of Bletchley Park, having been there in 1940. I was a member of the German Air Section which occupied half of Hut 4, with the German Naval Section in the other half, until the end of 1940. One bomb fell near Hut 4, but did not damage it in any way. The only damage it caused was to a small hut to the west of Hut 4. I went to have a look at the bomb site on the following day and saw that the small hut was leaning slightly in the direction of the Mansion. I understood that this small hut was used by the Bletchley Park typing pool. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 91.125.223.48 (talk) 14:42, 7 September 2009 (UTC)

Col J. Tiltman[edit]

There are 2 refences in this article to a J Tiltman, the first to Col. J. Tiltman, and the second to John Tiltman. The first reference says there is no wikipedia entry to Col. J. Tiltman, the second references a page about John Tiltman - including his work at Bletchley. I am sure both references are actually to the same man ( just from reading the 2 pages, not from any personal knowledge ). I do not know how to correct this, so can I suggest the link for Col. J. Tiltman is made the same as the link for John Tiltman?

If I have misunderstood the document, and Col. J. Tiltman is a different person to John Tiltman then please make this clear in the text. Holland jon (talk) 19:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

photo of submarine model[edit]

The caption of the submarine model says it is 1:40 scale. A German submarine of that era was maybe 80 meters long (see German submarine U-110 (1940)). A 1:40 scale model would be a little less than 2 meters long. The one in the photo looks at least 10 meters long, so it can't be anything close to 1:40 scale. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 00:20, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

I removed the "1:40" claim, since nothing supports it, and it's not really important. - Special-T (talk) 01:00, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done That's the best solution. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:10, 27 November 2011 (UTC)

"Cryptographic Attacks" category?[edit]

An editor seems pretty insistent this article be included in Category:Cryptographic attacks, which seems inappropriate. Bletchley Park is as much a crypto attack as is the NSA or CIA. Examples of the articles included in the category:

  • Adaptive chosen-ciphertext attack
  • Adversary (cryptography)
  • Attack model
  • Banburismus
  • Birthday attack
  • Bit-flipping attack
  • Black bag operation
  • Black-bag cryptanalysis
  • Boomerang attack
  • Brute-force attack
  • Chosen-ciphertext attack
  • Chosen-plaintext attack
  • Ciphertext-only attack
  • Clock drift

Inclusion of Bletchley Park in this category makes no sense to me. Anyone have any thoughts on the matter? Thanks! — UncleBubba T @ C ) 22:42, 12 December 2011 (UTC)

New Pages[edit]

New pages added for Hut 3 & Hut 4; they were redirects to Bletchley Park. Any other "Hut" articles warranted? Hugo999 (talk) 11:34, 25 April 2013 (UTC)

Communicating the results of the broken communications[edit]

These points may not be entirely on-topic in the article, but it's certainly significant in the general topic of war-time coded communications, perhaps in the "See also" section:

  • When Bletchley Park (and its satellite operations) decoded a message, how did they deliver the decoded information to the people who needed to know what it said? Were the messages delivered by courier? Transmitted using a British code?
  • What sort of codes did the UK use during the war? Their efforts to break enemy codes are significant, but what were they doing to communicate their own secrets?
    • I found the answer to the second question myself: they used Typex, a more-secure variant of Enigma, and sometimes one-time pads. —Steve98052 (talk) 11:07, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Steve98052 (talk) 11:00, 20 June 2013 (UTC)

Intelligence Service Knox[edit]

Intelligence Service Knox currently links to Dilly Knox. I am preparing to add some information about ISK to this page but Knox died very soon after ISK was established, with Peter Twinn becoming head, so a full treatment seems inappropriate there. ISK already has several links from biography pages. Unless anyone has a better idea or beats me to it, I'll probably create a page for Intelligence Service Knox (notable for disseminating over 100,000 decrypted German Military Intelligence transcripts) and redirect links (including the Knox link from this page) to that page. RobertBurrellDonkin (talk) 20:12, 31 July 2013 (UTC)

For balance, shouldn't there also be a page for ISOS for Oliver Strachey's outfit?--TedColes (talk) 15:43, 1 August 2013 (UTC)

Several huts have their own pages. So yes, in my opinion, a page for ISOS make sense too. RobertBurrellDonkin (talk) 20:50, 2 August 2013 (UTC)

Photo: Listening stations[edit]

The communications radio receiver on the left with the two big semi-circular dials on its front panel is clearly a post-war (American) Hallicrafters design -- probably a model S-85. It was manufactured by Hallicrafters near Chicago USA from about 1954 or 1955 until the mid-1960s. Clearly, it did not exist during WW2.

I'd have expected to see a WW2-vintage UK-manufactured radio receiver at Bletchley Park -- maybe one manufactured by Marconi, Pye, or Plessey. Russbellew (talk) 08:00, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

National HRO shortwave communications receiver.png
The standard receiver for Y sevice interception posts was the National HRO (an american design). SV1XV (talk) 08:45, 19 September 2013 (UTC)
Thanks. (Cool photo.) The National HRO receiver was, though an older design, a much better receiver than the Hallicrafters S-85 in the photo. The HRO was a (I think) dual-conversion superhet (the S-85 was single-conversion), had more stable local oscillators, a linear frequency display, and included a selectable-bandpass crystal filter (the S-85 had none). http://www.radioblvd.com/National%20HRO.htm confirms the use of the HRO in Y-Stations and details HRO history.
Nom the HRO was single conversion, the other oscillator was the BFO. SV1XV (talk) 10:42, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

One more question: If this is a LISTENING station, why is a telegraph key needed? Worse, why is it plugged into the headphones jack of the Hallicrafters S-85 receiver? Russbellew (talk) 08:50, 19 September 2013 (UTC)

Overt promo in Intro[edit]

From the opening paragraph: "New attractions are becoming available regularly. Up to date details can be found ......" at an external link. Sounds inappropriately like an ad to me, especially upfront in the lede. If there are no objections, I'll tone it down and move the link elsewhere. jxm (talk) 02:05, 7 February 2014 (UTC)

Massive change without discussion[edit]

User EEng has cut out about one third of this article without discussion on these pages. Change on this scale seems to me to be worthy of explanation and more evident consensus. --TedColes (talk) 05:40, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Most of my changes simply reorganized existing material without substantive change, but where there is substantive change explanation is given in my edit summaries. The article was highly repetitive and overdetailed -- a lead containing stuff such as
The site is now controlled by the Bletchley Park Trust. One of its tenants is a company called the Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre (BPSIC), which provides rental income for the Trust by providing office space and services to innovative, early stage companies.
and material elsewhere such as
Sustained breaking of an enemy's ciphers can be a very fragile business. (Inappropriate tone)
Pigeons at War – tells the heroic role that pigeons played during periods of war (Heroic pigeons???)
Sue Black and others have used Twitter and other social media to raise the profile and funding for Bletchley Park. (Noble indeed, but does this increase the reader's understanding of B.P.?)
were obvious red flags, as were the soporific details such as the number of slates in the Turing statue, the timeline of director turnovers, mention of foundations not awarding grants, the town plebescite endorsing the intention to give money (without, apparently, actually doing so) and other stuff leaving the general reader puzzled as to significance. Plus there were three or four separate mentions that the whole game would have been up had the enemy suspected what was going on.
I'm happy to discuss, of course. What particular changes are you concerned about? EEng (talk) 11:44, 3 April 2014 (UTC)

Action this day[edit]

Ted, I wonder if you can explain why the particular shortage, complained of to Churchill by Turing et al., matters in narrating action-this-day. In other words, what does [1]

Six weeks later, having failed to get sufficient typing and unskilled staff to achieve the productivity that was possible, Turing, Welchman, Alexander and Milner-Barry wrote directly to Churchill. His response was "Action this day make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done."

add to the reader's experience of the subject, relative to

Six weeks later, on receiving a plea from Turing, Welchman, Alexander and Milner-Barry that red tape was hampering recruitment, Churchill directed, "Action this day make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done."

(other than being 25% longer, of course). This may seem like a minor point, but I strongly believe that surplus detail adding to neither the reader's understanding nor his interest seriously weigh down an article. It's the death of a thousand dull cuts.

For that matter I'm not sure why the full roster of petitioners matters either. Why not

Six weeks later, on receiving a plea from Turing and others that red tape was hampering recruitment, Churchill directed, "Action this day make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this had been done."

Certainly I believe in credit-where-due but there's plenty of credit due all these men for many reasons, and I think they wouldn't mind not being enumerated in this particular incident. EEng (talk) 15:11, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

The sources do not say that it was "red tape" that hampered the recruitment of typing and unskilled staff. Indeed, there is a hint that Commander Denniston may have been responsible for giving insufficient priority to this. He was later "moved sideways" away from Bletchley and Edward Travis became the effective head. My wording also makes the point that the success of the four letter-writers (and others) in decrypting enemy radio traffic meant that there was a vast increase in capability to provide critical military intelligence in a timescale that made it operationally useful. Delay, for any reason such as a shortage of unskilled and typing staff, would have made the intelligence less useful and possibly cost lives. Let's bear in mind WP:CIV. --TedColes (talk) 16:33, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I think red tape accurately and succinctly communicates the situation you describe, especially given that in a prior version you yourself wrote

Attempts to rectify this situation working through official channels did not work

which it seems to me is the very essence of (extreme) red tape. If you like we can say instead official indifference or unresponsiveness, but I don't see how that better informs the reader.

I also don't see how your wording makes the point you mention re success in decrypting and the importance of that success. Obviously a request for more resources will try to convince the recipient that such will help the writers to better do what they've been tasked to do. To spell out that their desire was "to achieve the productivity that was possible" would be completely superflous -- of course that was the goal. And surely no reader needs to be told that better productivity / faster decrypting / etc. meant the entire difference between valuable intelligence and useless retrospective. Your wording doesn't mention any of that stuff anyway.

Further (as I've said before) I also don't see why it matters what specific type of resource was lacking -- the important points are: (a) the codebreakers felt that they could not do the best job possible without more resources; (b) Churchill unhesitatingly granted them carte blanche, showing the importance he attached to their work and the breadth of his authority in making such decisions. What doesn't matter is just what it was that was lacking -- typists? paperclips? light bulbs? Some of these elements could be incorporated to enliven the narrative e.g. some kind of "for want of a nail"-type angle -- "Look, Prime Minister, you've gathered all these first-class minds here but we can't get anything done because we have to do our own bloody TYPING!" -- if sources lay something like that out.

Am I missing something? EEng (talk) 22:21, 14 April 2014 (UTC) P.S. What do you mean about WP:CIV? <bump>EEng (talk) 17:40, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

Debutantes v's Debs[edit]

Hi there,

The only question that needs to be asked regarding this is: Is the average reader aware that the term "deb" is an abbreviation of "debutante"? If they are, then there is no need for a bracketed expansion. If they aren't, then it's an easter egg, and there needs to be a bracketed expansion.

Personally, I've never heard this abbreviation before. Is it more common in the UK? InternetMeme (talk) 06:12, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

(edit conflict) What puzzles me is that you're worried about debs but unfazed by boffins -- what my great-grandmother called "Straining at gnats and swallowing horses." Anyway, articles don't explicitly gloss nontechnical words just because some readers might not be familiar with them -- that would be almost all words outside Basic. Readers who don't want to look up an occasional word should read the Simple English Wikipedia. EEng (talk) 06:55, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
What are you talking about? The word "boffins" isn't abbreviated anywhere in the article. I think it's clear that you don't understand what I'm talking about here. InternetMeme (talk) 07:09, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
No, deb is not an abbreviation any more than phone is. I think it's clear that you don't understand what you're talking about either. EEng (talk) 14:05, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
It is common in Britain. See for example Chapter 12 of Anne de Courcy's 2007 book "Debs at War: 1939-1945" which is specifically about those who served at Bletchley Park. --TedColes (talk) 06:51, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I've just had an idea: Why is the word linked in the first place?

  1. Normally, words on Wikipedia are left unlinked unless they're considered to be unfamiliar.
  2. If a word is left linked, this means that people generally consider it to be unfamiliar.
  3. If the word "debutante" itself is considered unfamiliar, how would you expect readers to know that "debs" is an abbreviation for it?

There are two possibilities:

  1. The word is so familar that most people know that a "deb" is a "debutante". In this case, we should remove the wikilink, as we shouldn't be linking familar terms.
  2. The word is unfamilar enough that it needs to be wikilinked. In this case, people aren't likely to know that a "deb" is a "debutante", and we need a bracketed expansion.

InternetMeme (talk) 07:09, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

I was wondering when you'd notice that inconsistency in your own logic -- you've been complaining (in edit summaries and elsewhere) about this being an easteregg, but here you go on about bracketing or whatever. Again, we don't give explicit glosses (what you call "bracketed expansion") for nontechnical English words in general usage -- it looks and reads stupid -- and that's true even where an identifiable chunk of readers might be more or less likely to be familiar with them e.g. if a UK-subject article mentions a car's boot we don't usually add (trunk) (though in an article on electronics we might explain that vacuum tube and valve mean the same thing).
However, in a case like boot-trunk if there's an appropriate WP article or Wiktionary entry I think it's fine to link to that. And please, that's not an easteregg -- an easteregg arises when the facial text misleads the reader about where the link goes, or where there's no reasonable way, from the facial text, that any reader could surmise (rightly or wrongly) where the link goes (e.g. links saying things like see this article to learn more, linking to some discussion the reader would have no clue about in advance). If the reader doesn't happen to know what a word in the facial text means that criterion isn't met -- he will naturally click the link and be taken to exactly what he expects: an appropriate explanation. EEng (talk) 07:56, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
There is inconsistency in some reasoning that you have misattributed as my logic, but it's nothing to do with me. At any rate, since the term "debs" is familiar enough that people will know it means "debutantes", we no longer need the wikilink.
InternetMeme (talk) 08:12, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Yes, but some people may want to know more about debutantes so as to gain a clearer picture of what it is about them that would make them available for and fitted to these wartime jobs, so I suggest we put it back. TedColes, I take it you don't disagree? EEng (talk) 08:56, 20 April 2014 (UTC) P.S. Mr. Memory, I take it linking boffin is OK with you?
What is your purpose in deigning to refer to TedColes by his username, but to forego my username in favour of "Mr. Memory"?
InternetMeme (talk) 09:33, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Less by deign than by accident -- must have been my autocorrect. Anyway, based on your response, and on TedColes' recent edit,, there appear to no further arguments for omitting the links. EEng (talk) 13:49, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
There's no way an autocorrect could do that. What is the real reason for referring to me as "Mr. Memory"? InternetMeme (talk) 14:37, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
If you don't get the reference, see Taxi_Driver#"You talkin' to me?"
You preoccupation with this point is beginning to get weird -- see image at right. Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. EEng (talk) 15:13, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
It's not weird at all. It's bad manners to make up names for people, and it's even worse manners to lie about it afterwards and blame it on autocorrect. You should have just apologized. Also, you still haven't provided any justification for using a piped link. InternetMeme (talk) 15:40, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── As brought out above it appears you are under the misapprehension that debs is an abbreviation. It's not. Several lines of reasoning have been given for why the link is appropriate and helpful. I wonder if you can just defer on this. EEng (talk) 16:30, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

In that case, it requires a bracketed explanation rather than a wikilink. That would be appropriate and helpful. Wikilinks aren't meant for translation. InternetMeme (talk) 17:03, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
I've found a solution that should work for us all, based on Wikipedia:PIPING#Piping and redirects
the redirect could serve as an alternative name for the target article, meaning an alternative term which is already in the article's lead section.
Also, based on that, I've added the term "deb" to the intro of the "debutante" article. What do you guys think?
InternetMeme (talk) 18:17, 20 April 2014 (UTC)
Time well spent indeed. EEng (talk) 21:42, 20 April 2014 (UTC) P.S. I meant to point out that your link above leads to the MOS guideline on dab pages, not deb pages, making it (frankly) something of an easteregg. But this is Easter so I guess we can let that pass. EEng (talk) 22:10, 20 April 2014 (UTC)

Valerie Glassborow[edit]

Is the visit by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and her family link to Hut 16 of any note: [2]? "Ms Glassborow, who married the duchess' grandfather Peter Middleton, was a civilian staff member at the centre where her twin sister Mary was also employed." Martinevans123 (talk) 18:32, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Man, we're just bumping into each other all the time these days! Hmmm... I'm trying to think of some distasteful analogy I can inject at this point. ... So far... nothing. Darn.
Certainly there's usable material in the piece you link, though I personally don't have the time just now. Shame none of the images are usable. EEng (talk) 18:54, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
Haha, something about enigmatic royals perhaps? or a Cambridge hut? Maybe Royal Turing around? Oh well, never mind. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:10, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
As a hapless youth I was completely at sea for the first 15 minutes of a certain lecture, until I realized that this "Touring machine" the instructor kept talking about had nothing to do (well, not nothing) travelling salesmen. EEng (talk) 19:49, 18 June 2014 (UTC)
EEng, that was Ultra amusing. Have now added a couple of sentences. Martinevans123 (talk) 20:51, 18 June 2014 (UTC)

Comments by an eyewitness[edit]

Cottage Number 2 WAS NOT used by Dilly Knox or Alan Turing as this was the house occupied by the Budd Family from 1940 through to 1950, it was in Cottage Number 3 that Knox and Turing worked with a lot of Wrens and this Cottage became know as 'The Harem' and the girls as 'Dilly's Fillies' It is true the Cottages were converted from a 'Fruit Store and Tack Room' and the Tower in Number 2 was NOT used by Alan Turing as it is NOT a room but the stairs for Number 2 Cottage leading to the upstairs bedrooms, Alan Turing used the upstairs rooms in Number 3 Cottage. During WWII Mrs Budd use to tell the children living in Number 2 Cottage to be 'quiet' as the girls next door were doing very important work and she did not want them disturbed. The reason I have 'Made' these changes is I have tried about 5 times before and NOTHING was carried out to change this mistake, how do I know these facts, my name is Neville J Budd the youngest son of the four children who lived in Number 2 Cottage during WWII, we were the ONLY people who lived in Bletchley Park during this time, every one else was 'Billeted' Out side of the Park, the other members of the Budd family were Robert George Buud (Dad) Emma Rebecca Budd (Mum) Robert George Edwin Budd (Brother Bobby) Jean & Faye Budd my Twin Sisters, check the Wall Hanging in the entrance of the Mansion and you will see all of our names. Comment by Neville 120 -- see [3].

In light of Mr. Budd's comments, and given that the article text says that "Turing, Knox, and Jeffreys did their early work[clarification needed] in Number 3 Cottage", I've changed the image caption from
The stableyard cottages, where Knox, Jeffreys, and Turing made the first British attacks on Enigma. The tower room was used by Turing

As I have stated the TOWER was NOT a ROOM it is the stair way for Number 2 Cottage, Turning only came into our house ONCE to see his mother and she was sleeping in one of the bedrooms downstairs.

to simply
The stableyard cottages.
EEng (talk) 16:41, 11 October 2014 (UTC)
On a recent guided tour of the site, the guide confirmed Mr Budd's recollection. --John Maynard Friedman (talk) 16:57, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Thank you EEng, at last someone listened to what I have been saying for the past year. If you need to contact me please use my email address.

I use the name Anderson in my name, which was my Grand Mothers maiden name, and it is better than Neville J. Budd as and author, to see more information have a look at my book 'Bletchley Park Family' on Createspace and Kindle. NJA-B.


Regards Neville J. Anderson-Budd — Preceding unsigned comment added by Neville 120 (talkcontribs) 18:12, 11 October 2014 (UTC)

Secrecy[edit]

It is often claimed that Bletchley Park remained secret until 1974 and the publication of Winterbotham's memoir. This is, in fact, untrue. There are several instances in which information about BP's work was published before this date. The former BP veteran and post-war librarian, Jimmy Thirsk, details a number of these (which I've checked, and he is right) in his memoir. I have added a sentence to the Post War section to better reflect that fact.95.146.250.4 (talk) 11:05, 22 January 2015 (UTC)