What Women Achieved

Many of the top code breakers at Bletchley Park were women.

Joan Clark, who was once engaged to Alan Turing (OBE), worked on cracking the German Enigma and Japanese Navalattaché codes. She also worked with Chief Cryptographer John Tiltman on the Railway Enigma code.

In the early days of World War II, Mavis Batey and Margaret Rock were the main assistants to lead codebreaker Dilly Knox. Mavis and Margaret were responsible for the hardest codes – ones that other codebreakers at Bletchley Park were unable to decipher. Mavis Batey went on to crack the Naval Enigma Code and three of the German machine cyphers (Alan Turing broke one).

“ Mavis Batey broke three of the German machine cyphers; Alan Turing broke one! ”

Michael Smith

What recognition did women get for the work undertaken at Bletchley Park?

'Women don't really get the recognition they deserve. People think that they were all just doing mundane work. It isn't true. And even when the work was mundane work, and a lot of it was routine, tiresome and never quite knowing what the end product was .......even that was an important part of the whole process of winning the war'

Teaching Point: Have women received as much recognition for their codebreaking achievements as men? Why do you think this is the case?