22nd Oct 2018 – Last Thursday a group of Y10 and Y9 students visited Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes as part of the Computer Science curriculum. The students were able to explore the original huts where Alan Turing and his team of code breakers decrypted messages from the German army.  They also participated in a workshop that developed their knowledge and understanding of cipher codes and encryption.  Here they describe their experiences …

The visit to Bletchley Park was a very educational and historic experience as I was able to learn about the Park’s involvement in the Second World War. I especially enjoyed learning about the Enigma machine used by the German army to encrypt messages, and was amazed that it can produce nearly 159 quintillion possible encryptions for one letter. What’s even more amazing is that a group of British code breakers at Bletchley Park were able to crack the code!  Somersby Holmes 10F

I enjoyed the visit to Bletchley Park and found some of the facts I learnt very surprising. The most surprising fact was that although Alan Turing is probably the most famous code breaker and the name most people know, there was in fact another code beaker whose work had a big impact on the war. This was a female code breaker called Mavis Batey who deciphered a message which led to the British Navy learning that the Italian Naval Fleet – at the time German allies – knew of their location and were planning an attack. The British Navy were able to surprise the Italian Navy by attacking first which led to their surrender. Many believe that this shortened the war effort by two years and saved many lives across Europe.  Kaci Morrissey 10J

I learnt that code breakers at Bletchley Park built the world’s first computer known as the Bombe machine. This machine was designed to reveal the Enigma machine settings used by German soldiers to encode messages they wanted to send. This was important as knowing the settings would allow the code breakers at Bletchley Park to quickly decrypt messages that could be used by British Intelligence. What is also interesting is no one was allowed to know the existence of Bletchley Park and everyone who worked there had to sign the secrets act. It wasn’t until the information was no longer subject to the Official Secrets Act in the mid-1970s that some of the former employees shared their stories with their friends and families.  Mia Mason 9S