9th November 2017 – On Tuesday our Year 10 Computer Science students visited Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes to help develop their knowledge and understanding of cipher codes and encryption. One of the students was Zoe Adams who describes her experiences below.
It was a very interesting trip and personally, having grown up in a family of engineers and computer technology workers, I gained a lot of information that I was able to talk about when I got home. We learned a lot about the Second World War and how Bletchley Park played a very important part in Britain winning the war. Computer scientists and mathematicians would use a machine called Enigma to decode German messages being sent between the German troops. Without this vital intelligence, it would have been difficult for the British army to make strategic and tactical decisions. We were able to handle a real Enigma machine used during the war, and we learned how it worked. The machine encrypts messages and has 15,000,000,000,000,000,000 different combinations of letters it can use! This makes the fact that people at Bletchley Park were able to decode such messages even more awe-inspiring.
Something that also inspired me is the fact that around 75% of the workers at Bletchley Park were female, as most of the men had to join the army and fight in the war. I felt this was extremely empowering as I did not know that women had played such an important part in helping Britain win the war. We were also able to see a replica of the Bombe decrypting machine that was developed and built by Alan Turing and his team to emulate the ability of thirty six enigma machines.
I would highly recommend this trip as it was an opportunity to step back into the history of coding and cyphers, and to find out how this helped Britain during a significantly important period of history.