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The Geek Atlas by John Graham-Cumming

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040

Bletchley Park, Bletchley, England

gkat_040.pdf51° 59 47.44 N, 0° 44 33.94 W

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ULTRA

Draw a straight line between the British universities of Oxford and Cambridge, and halfway between the two you’ll find the grand house at Bletchley Park. Back in 1939, Bletchley Park was close to the intersection of the Oxford-to-Cambridge railway line and the main west coast railway leading out of London. It was the perfect spot to bring together the brightest code-breaking minds in the country.

The brains that worked at Bletchley were recruited for their skill at mathematics, crossword puzzles, bridge, and languages. They worked throughout the Second World War in total secrecy, and at the end of the war their work was hidden and destroyed to prevent discovery. It was not until the 1970s that the secret work of Bletchley Park was revealed, and its role in the Allied triumph in the Second World War was understood.

The code breakers at Bletchley Park had succeeded in breaking the code used for almost all Nazi German communications: the Enigma (see sidebar). The information gathered from this successful code-breaking was so sensitive that it required a new designation and become known as ULTRA (for Ultra ...

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