Memories of

Miss Sweetland


Bletchley Park

June 1943 - Nov 1945

Further to our conversation on Monday 20/9/99, I enclose the three snapshots I have of the hut I slept in at the Shenley Road Military Camp and some of the A.T.S. who also served at Bletchley Park. Also some sketches of the camp and the surrounding areas.
I was transferred to Bletchley in June 1943 until November 1945. I worked in Hut 5, part of the Japanese Section. Later our section was moved to Block F.
At first I was billeted in Bedford and travelled by train each day. On the evening shift 4pm to midnight we were driven back by coach.
In October / November1943 the military camp was completed. The women's camp and the men's camps were separated by the coal /coke dump (from which we filled our coal hods to keep our fires in the hut going). There were sentries posted at the entrances to both camps. We were allowed to walk through the men's camp and the men through ours - but not allowed to loiter!
It was a short walk from the camp to the park via a footpath around part of the perimeter fence surrounding the park. For cyclists, the path was too narrow and they went by road.
My job in the park was to copy groups of letters on to large sheets of squared paper in different coloured inks according to a code letter at the top of the teleprinter copies. Of course we had pens with nibs and one for each colour, red, blue, brown, black, yellow, magenta, green and purple.
These sheets were collected by the code-breakers in the room next door in charge, I think, by a young captain - Chris Wiles. My boss was a civilian - Mr Alfred Tams. Other clerks in the hut were mainly male military personnel - men invalided from active service, others too old for active service, with clerical backgrounds - salesmen, bank clerks, etc.
It was an odd experience, working at the park as a clerk under almost civilian terms, but under military rules at camp! On the day shift on alternate weeks, we were confined to barracks on a Tuesday evening. Huts had to be cleaned and polished, bedding and kit laid out for inspection by officers and attendance at a lecture afterwards.
Fortunately we were spared other tasks such as cleaning the wash-houses, etc or messing duties because general duty staff were allocated to the camp for these. We had a wonderful cook at first who served up excellent meals. I much preferred camp life to being in a billet.
Four other friends were sergeants and were in a different part of the camp. Dorothy Sergeant and Elizabeth Bayliss (later Thompson) were in my section in Hut 5 at Bletchley Park. Elsie Hart (later Griffin) worked with Maurice Wiles, and I think Marjorie Dibben was in the same office as Elsie. (In 1947 after we had all finished our service in the A.T.S., we went on holiday together).
In November 1945 I was transferred to the Pay corps at Nottingham. My last few weeks at Bletchley Park were spent tearing messages etc, into small pieces for destruction later! Some weeks after transferring to Nottingham, I was joined by Elsie. Elizabeth remained in the service and as a civilian went to GCHQ, Cheltenham. We all kept in touch for some time but eventually lost touch.
I hope the photos and sketches will be of some use. If there is any other information you require, I will do my best to help, although it is 56 years since I was a young girl at Bletchley, aged twenty!

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