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Books, Arts & Curiosities – How the Telegraph Put One Across Hitler

Finest Hour 101, Winter 1998-99

Page 39

By Michael Smith

Mr. Smith’s new book, Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park (Channel 4 Books) is available for £14.99 post free in UK, from Telegraph Books Direct, 24 Seward St, London EC1V 3GB, tel. (0541) 557222 quoting ref PA557.

The ability to solve The Daily Telegraph crossword in under 12 minutes was used as a recruitment test for wartime code-breakers. Good chess players and those skilled at crossword puzzles were viewed as having the potential to turn their abilities to cracking codes. The Daily Telegraph was asked to organise a crossword competition to help identify potential recruits. After the competition, each of the participants was contacted and asked to undertake “a particular type of work as a contribution to the war effort.” Those who agreed found themselves sent to the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, the home of Britain’s wartime code-breakers.

Bletchley Park had employed several hundred eccentric academics to break the Nazi Enigma codes early in the war, but by the end of 1941 it was desperately trying to expand its operations. The need for fighting men was so great that no one in Whitehall was prepared to release people to work at an obscure Foreign Office department that could not tell anyone what it was doing. Four of the senior code-breakers, Alan Turing, Gordon Welchman, Stuart Milner-Barry and Hugh Alexander, wrote to Winston Churchill, who was obsessed with the code-breakers and had recently visited them, describing them as “the geese that laid the golden eggs but never cackled.”
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Finest Hour 108, Autumn 2000

Page 05


“…I adhere to the school or those who believe that governments cannot make nations rich; that wealth is gathered only by individual exertion and enterprise; that State expenditure is almost always profligate and wasteful. The more freedom enjoyed by the citizen and the less the interference of the State, the higher will be the standard or public well being.”

Randolph Observed

I took the photo at right of Randolph Churchill at our aviation section during the Korean War about two weeks before he was wounded and had to be evacuated. I was a mechanic with the I-Corps aviation section, and flew both as an observer and a technician. Most of our observation flights were behind the lines to report on troop and equipment movements and to call in air and artillery strikes. I was a Staff Sergeant, and was awarded the Air Medal and four oak leaf clusters for my actions as an observer.

Randolph, who was quite a talker and enjoyable to have along, would come by once or so every week to hitch a ride over the front, behind enemy lines. He would always bring along a bottle, scotch usually, to help pave the way for a ride. When I was preparing to shoot this photo he had a fifth in his hand. “Wait,” he said, and held it behind him. Although I read that he accounted for a lot of alcohol, I never saw him drunk. I was flying and did not see him being evacuated, but I was told he was wounded in the shin bone by a bullet or missile.
Don Black, Lakeland, FL
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Datelines – Update: Churchill at Bletchley

Finest Hour 157, Winter 2012-13

Page 11

By Lucy Lester

Give them whatever they need. This was the jist of an an ActionThis Day memo by Churchill about the work of the now famous code-breakers at Bletchley Park during the Second World War. (See our “Churchill and Intelligence” issue, FH 149, Winter 2010-11.) Winston Churchill’s unstinting support of the secret work carried out by over 8000 people played a major part in their success in cracking the German coded messages and shortening World War II.

Visitors to Bletchley Park these days come to a sign saying “Churchill Room.” As they enter, almost everyone gasps. To their  amazement, this very large room is filled to capacity with Churchill memorabilia.

The gentleman who usually greets them here is a smiling Ulsterman, Jack Darrah, who with his late wife Rita amassed this collection over forty years. “This is my private collection and it is just a hobby,” Jack modestly says. “Please ask me any questions.”
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On the Churchill Trail

Finest Hour 106, Spring 2000

Page 28


Hitting the High Spots or “Churchill’s England.”

DURING Winston Churchill’s first visit to America, he wrote to his brother Jack: “A great, crude, strong, young people are the Americans…Some day Jack when you are older you must come out here.” That letter and others were on display for my family and me to see on a visit last January to the Churchill Archives Centre at Churchill College Cambridge. Allen Packwood, Exhibitions Officer and Archivist at the Centre, gave us a tour of the “inner sanctum” of the archives plus an up-close look at several of the many thousands of Churchill papers housed there.

Since we were visiting from the United States, Allen had selected for us items with an American connection. We saw a draft of Churchill’s address to Congress in December 1941, with his handwritten changes scribbled between the lines; his famous what-if essay “If Lee had not won the Battle of Gettysburg” (FH 103); wedding photos of Winston and Clementine; Churchill’s official photo album from the Teheran Conference; and much more. One of the most fascinating items was a letter from Truman to Churchill written in October 1947, in which Truman refers to the “ungrateful” Russians and says, “Your Fulton, Mo. speech becomes more nearly a prophecy every day.”
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Churchill’s England 2006: The Twelfth Churchill Tour



“THE RANDOLPH IN OXFORD has location, location and location. It also costs £20 to park your car! We wandered into the bar at around midnight to find a fair number of dinner-jacketed chaps in expansive mood, champagne and cigars much in evidence. (My Guinness wasn’t too outrageous, but the price of a glass of house Rioja made me decide to skip the champagne….) It turned out said chaps were American members (I tell a lie, some of them were Texan) of The Churchill Centre, on an eight-day pilgrimage to sites associated with the great man. They’d pretty much done the lot, from dinner at Blenheim to visiting the grave of Churchill’s nanny, Mrs. Everest, ‘that most excellent woman.’ So we sat and swapped Churchill quotations, lambasted The Guardian and The Washington Post, and generally reinforced each other’s prejudices in a most agreeable manner.”
—”Laban”  Read Now >

Great-Grandson Speaks at the Annual Churchill Weekend

Randolph Churchill visits Bletchley Park 

MK NEWS (10 July 2009) – Bletchley Park, whose codebreakers were praised for their secret but vital endeavours in Sir Winston Churchill’s famous analogy, hosted its ninth event dedicated to the wartime Prime Minister.
Randolph Churchill

The annual Churchill weekend saw a series of talks, including a short speech by his great-grandson, Randolph Churchill.

The 44-year-old descendant told a packed Ballroom that he was speaking to MK NEWS last week when he found out that a Heritage Lottery Fund grant of nearly £500,000 was to kick-start a transformation of the decaying buildings.

“I must say, it really brought a tear to my eye,” he said.

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Annual Churchill Weekend

Bletchley Park – 3-4 October

Bletchley Park is celebrating the 70th anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s appointment as First Lord of the Admiralty in 1939 with a special Churchill Weekend event on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 October. The Park is proud to host Jack Darrah’s private Churchill Collection of rare and interesting memorabilia, which provides a unique glimpse into the spirit of the man who famously described the workers of Bletchley Park as “The geese that laid the golden eggs – but never cackled.”

During the weekend there will be an additional display in the Mansion telling the story of ‘Churchill the First Lord of The Admiralty’. There will also be a series of lectures, including a special talk by Mr Randolph Churchill (Sir Winston Churchill’s great grandson) and an exhibition of crafted Churchill and Naval related furniture by the internationally renowned furniture maker, Stewart Linford.

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The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.