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Bletchly Park.

My friends,
You may think that my only interests are taking my clothes off, pretty girls, reading and wine. And taking the clothes off pretty girls. Nothing could be further from the truth. I have many and varied interests, and what I`m about to share with you is based on what happened at Bletchly Park in England during World War Two. I was reminded of this when I heard an interview with an old lady on the radio this morning, but we will get to that later.

Bletchly Park was the place where, during the war, the code breaking section of the war office was set up to break the codes of the German Enigma machine which sent scrambled messages around the world. Alan Turing, the man who is widely thought of as the father of the modern day computer worked there, and was the brilliant person who actually broke the code. There is a terrible aside to this story. Alan Turing was homosexual, which was an offence in England at the time. As I said he was a brilliant man and it is thought that his breaking the code actually shortened the war by two years. Several years after the war he was prosecuted for being homosexual, and was given the choice of either going to jail or chemical castration. He chose chemical castration. Not long after that he commited suicide by biting into an apple laced with cyanide. In 2009 the English Prime Minister Gordon Brown gave a public apology for this terrible deed. How can society be so callous and stupid!  But back to my story.

Living in New Zealand in an old folks home in Auckland is a 90 something year old lady named Ursella Frost who was one of the code breakers at Bletchly Park. She worked under Alan Turing and it was she who I heard being interviewed. She is to be presented with a badge from the United Kingdom by our Minister of Defence for her work at Bletchly Park. Why she wasn`t given it after the war I don`t know. She and her husband left England in 1952, went to Australia, but they didn`t like it there because, in her own words, "there were too many sharks!". So they came to New Zealand.

I just find it quite amazing that here on the other side of the world we are celebrating this little old lady who played her part in the war effort many years ago. She is still very bright, speaks clearly, and was very amusing in the interview talking about Turing being "homosexual and he was very nice but you weren`t allowed to be homosexual in those days".

Oh how things have changed; or have they.
deleted deleted 26-30 8 Responses Nov 22, 2012

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It's an amazing story, how so many boffins were brought together and achieved the seemingly impossible. There was an excellent series called Station X which interviewed many of the workers. It was kept secret for many years after the war, partly because we were able to spy on many of the old Eastern Bloc countries that continued to use enigma machines. One of the unsung heroes is Tommy Flowers, a Post Office engineer who used his own money to build some of Turing's early machines.

We hope and dream for the future to be more sympathetic to everyone, but so far we only care for those who are rich, attractive, in power, and so on. We have come a long way but I fear we have not yet even scratched the surface of where we should be/go.

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Turing was a genius and one of those people who could think outside the box.

Its a shame that Churchill had Turings computer the Collosus which was the first proper computer destroyed after the war and Blechly was closed down.

The reason she wasn't awarded anything during or immediately after the war was that the code breaking arm of the services was so secretive its existence wasn't even acknowledged until decades later. And even after that, people's involvement with the code breaking was kept secret, probably for their own good, in part.

It's wonderful someone from that period is still alive to bear witness, not only to the extraordinary work they did, but also to remind us of the callous injustices towards people like Turing (his name has a g, btw).

Thanks for sharing.

No need to thank me. It's all part of the comprehensive service I provide, scouring the world for missing G's. Some day I'll have found them all and immediately turn to dust. That's just how it works. Thanks for the great story about a remarkable woman. I hope you have a beautiful day. :)

Oh I've been told many times there's a g spot that I'm incapable of finding, so I expect to be around a long, long time.

another example of how things have evolved...........slavery, public executions, persecutions for ones religious beliefs and of course the topic of sexual desires and lust, all have changed in the past couple hundred of years. But what a chance to learn first hand of what it was truly like from someone who lived it. I hope her entire life experiences are recorded for future reference.

You don't expect BP codebrakers to be in retirement in NZL, but in the world after WWII where the British Empire was in decline -- I suppose it was the best place to go.

What is so horrific is the morality that presumed what went on in a person's private life impacted on their ability to perform an important and influential public role, which justified intervention by the authorities. And no, despite laws protecting the rights of minorities, we haven't moved on much further: there is still a presumption in the media of a public interest in prying into every corner of a person's private life.
It was an absolute tragedy. Turin saved countless thousands of lives through his work, and he was repaid by being humiliated and driven to suicide by his employers. The least we can do is remember and celebrate his life whenever the opportunity arises.

It's really sad what happened to Alan Turin. Just because he was a homosexual doesn't mean he was a bad guy. I'm pretty sure he was a nice person. I also can't understand why Ursella Frost wasn't presented with a badge sooner (50 years seems a little too late). Also, what exactly is chemical castration?

THAT'S HORRIBLE!!! I can't even imagine that I had no idea that this existed!!!