Students have a cracking time at Bletchley Park

21 September 2023

Bletchley Park, the code breaking centre that helped the Allies to victory in the Second World War, recently worked its secretive magic on a group of students from the University of Buckingham.

The visit was organised by the Friends of the University and, for the first time, the trip included members of the Friends as well as students from Japan and Brazil and India.

The outing was suggested by Daniel da Silveira, an MSc Marketing student who was surprised after talking to British contemporaries that they seemed indifferent to such a rich history.

Marilyn Fairclough and Daniel da Silveira at Bletchley Park

Marilyn Fairclough and Daniel da Silveira

Daniel said:

‘I was shocked at how little English students know about their history or have any interest in it. I googled and discovered and found out that this week was Heritage Week and there were a lot of free tickets.’

During World War II, the estate housed the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers – most importantly the German Enigma and Lorenz ciphers. The GC&CS team of codebreakers included Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman and Hugh Alexander. The nature of the work at Bletchley remained secret until many years after the war.

Students at Bletchley Park

Keisyu Takase, Keito Otaka, and Merei Yoshikawa

High on the visitors’ agenda was a walk round the huts where the most secret work was carried out. These have been restored over the years and it’s now possible to get a real feel for the work that went on in them.

Daniel added: ‘Going into the huts I really felt how it was for them all crammed together, and I was conscious in the corridors that I was walking was where they had walked.’

Merei Yoshkawa (BA English Literature) said: ‘It was interesting to get a different perspective on the war from the winning side’

Marilyn Fairclough, secretary of the Friends of the University of Buckingham, said: ‘We are definitely going to repeat the trip next year.’

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