Government to honour Bletchley veterans

Government to honour Bletchley veterans

Summary: The WWII code-breakers are to be given a badge for their innovative cryptographic work, which until recently was still being used by UK intelligence services

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TOPICS: Security
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The government is to give Bletchley Park WWII codebreakers a badge to commemorate their efforts during the war.

The commemorative scheme, which will be open to all military and civilian personnel who served at Bletchley Park and its outstations, will be launched in a ceremony on Thursday.

Simon Greenish, director of Bletchley Park Trust, welcomed the public recognition by the government.

"I think it's wonderful," Greenish told ZDNet UK on Monday. "At long last the government is finally recognising the enormous contribution of the WWII code-breakers."

Greenish said that government had taken 64 years to recognise the efforts at Bletchley because the work there had been so secret, and because the innovations in mathematics and cryptography from Bletchley Park until recently still had a bearing on UK intelligence work.

"The work at Bletchley gave us a significant start in intelligence work throughout the Cold War," said Greenish. "I'm told the maths was so advanced the government was very reluctant until extremely recently to say anything, particularly the work around Colossus."

Colossus is widely held to be the first true electronic digital reprogrammable computer. It was used in WWII to decrypt high-level German communications, but Colossus itself and its designs were destroyed or hidden at the end of the war. 

The badge, which will not be awarded posthumously, will be available to approximately 1,700 people, Greenish added. It was devised by the government, in conjunction with GCHQ.

Bletchley badge
 
This illustration shows the design of the badge, which was devised in conjunction with GCHQ
 

Topic: Security

Tom Espiner

About Tom Espiner

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com. He covers the security beat, writing about everything from hacking and cybercrime to threats and mitigation. He also focuses on open source and emerging technologies, all the while trying to cut through greenwash.

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3 comments
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  • Too little, too late...

    It took 64 years to to this, "and won't be awarded posthumously"...
    Many of these wonderful people have died, and it is only just that their families too should receive a token of recognition of their amazing contribution to our war effort.
    Why is the Government so niggardly? If these people hadn't achieved what they did, we would have had ID cards all along...
    Reflect on that, you crooks.
    N
    su3264@...
  • No Surprise

    In view of this governments attitude to the Ghurkas, this would seem to be entirely normal behaviour :(
    Tezzer-5cae2
  • Well said, Sir!

    I agree entirely, and how little it would cost to honour the work of all these heroes, to whom we owe so much.

    And while Brown is throwing money around like confetti to the banks, foreign car makers, Africa, the Olympics and saving the world, it's time he stumped up the comparatively small support needed to maintain this historic site for future generations, lest we forget.
    Ashby