Outstations - A Brief History
|Very little information has survived regarding the other outstations. Not surprisingly, there are few photographs - other than portraiture. However, based on records held at Bletchley Park, it has been possible to produce a chronology of the main events in the development of the Outstations.
Each of the locations was known, for security reasons, by its initial letter. So, for example, Eastcote was known as 'OSE' and Gayhurst as 'OSG'.
The section was run by Squadron Leader Jones, who was one of the three staff who were involved in the commisioning of the first Bombe machine ('Victory'), based in half of Hut 1 at Bletchley.
By VE day (8th May 1945), Jones' section employed 263 men (mostly RAF) and 1676 women (all WRNS). 211 bombe machines of various types were operational and 36,002 jobs had been completed. The section was 'wound-up' at the end of 1945.
14 March 1940 - 'Victory' commences operation in Hut 1 at Bletchley.
8 August 1940 - Machine 2, 'Agnus' (nicknamed 'Aggie') operational.
Early 1941 - 'Victory' returned to factory for fitting of diagonal plug-board.
March 1941 - Wavendon (OSW) opened and 'Victory' re-installed at the outstation.
Wavendon Manor (The Machines were based in a building similar to that at Gayhurst which is shown at the top of this page)
Automatic typewriters added to machines to print 'stops'. The first Wrens arrived.
Further premises using stables and outbuildings at Adstock (OSA) also came into operation and the Bletchley unit moved into Hut 11.
The stable block & Outbuildings at Adstock
End 1941 - 6 machines operational at Bletchley, 5 each at Adstock and Wavendon.
March 1942 - 26 machines in operation.
August 1942 - Wynne-Williams 'experimental' machine operated & maintained by GPO engineers starts its run. This was a standard, 3 wheel machine with an additional high speed 4th wheel & became known as 'Cobra' because of the cables between the main machine & the 4th wheel.
September 1942 - Gayhurst (OSG) operational with 5 machines.Gayhurst Manor. The operational block is at the top of this page
November 1942 - Stanmore (OSS) operational. A total of 49 machines were in use, maintained by 49 RAF, 3 RN & 7 Civilian or Reservists. 571 Wrens operated the equipment over 3 watches.
March 1943 - 1st high-speed, 4 wheel, machine installed (named 'Keen', after its developer) at Stanmore. Wynne-Williams machine also installed at Stanmore.
September 1943 - Work commences on the buildings at Eastcote (OSE)
December 1943 - 99 Machines in use.
January 1944 - Wavendon closes & its 14 machines sent to other locations. First machine using Siemens BTM relays installed at Eastcote.
December 1944 - 192 machines operational.
(All Photographs on this page reproduced from After the Battle issue 37 available from Church House, Church Street, London E15 3JA.)