Four of our five survivors and one other Dunedin veteran spent the day at Bletchley Park together with a few members of the Dunedin Society. During the Second World War, Bletchley Park was the home of the Government Code and Cipher School, where the Germans’ Enigma code was broken. This extraordinary feat remained a secret until the 1970s, when the true drama of the code-breaking became public and the impact on the war could be understood.
The success of the men and women of Bletchley Park had a particular effect on HMS Dunedin in her last months. After May 1941, Bletchley Park was sending de-crypted German Naval messages to the Admiralty sometimes within the hour of receiving them in the original code. This enabled the Admiralty to order its forces to the best effect and to re-route many of the convoys sailing the Atlantic.
HMS Dunedin’s success in capturing the German supply ship, Lothringen, on 15 June 1941, was directly attributable to the intelligence gleaned from the activities of Bletchley Park. Later, in November 1941, Dunedin would be ordered to search for another surface ship in an Enigma-inspired operation that would lead to her demise on 24 November.
For those who attended Bletchley Park on 6 June 2008, it was an opportunity to see and learn exactly how the brilliant people of Bletchley Park silently affected the outcome of the war but also the lives of the men in HMS Dunedin.
For a more detailed look at the operations of Bletchley Park, go to its website at http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/