Michael Smith

Acclaimed author on the role of women at Bletchley Park.

Michael Smith is the author of a number of books about Bletchley Park, including ‘The Secrets of Station X’, which explains precisely how Britain’s wartime codebreakers helped win the war.

His other books on Bletchley include: ‘Britain’s Secret War 1939-45’, which places the work at this location in the wider context of all Britain’s wartime intelligence efforts; ‘The Bletchley Park Codebreakers’, and the number one bestseller ‘Station X: The Codebreakers of Bletchley Park’.

Michael spent ten years in the British Army Intelligence Corps, where he worked on signals intelligence operations similar to those carried out at Bletchley Park.

“ Bletchley Park is the birthplace of modern computing, and women were there from the very start. ”
Michael Smith

“ As the war developed and the quantity of code that needed breaking increased, the rigid thinking of the 1930s about the division of labour between men and women changed, leading to a more liberated view on how to help win the war.”
Michael Smith

What tasks did women undertake at Bletchley Park?

'When the war started, the code breaking was all done by men, very few female codebreakers. But as so many codes had to be broken, you have to move away from that sort of rigid 1940s/1930's attitude to a more liberated way of thinking in which women were given roles that men had previously held for themselves.'

Teaching Point: War can force many changes within society, including to the roles of men and women.
What tasks were women increasingly involved in at Bletchley Park as World War II progressed?