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Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Secret Life in Hut Six One woman's experiences at Bletchley Park by Mair Russell Jones

Mair, a young Welsh girl from a small village, wondered what she had got herself into! She felt privileged to be chosen to do important and secret work for the war effort, but she had landlords from hell, and she didn't understand her 'Enigma' machine or the reams of codes with which she had to cope. She was also a long way from her widowed father, her sister and her boyfriend.

This is a fascinating book about Bletchley Park and the Second World War. The real-life heroine was a clever and engaging young woman who studied at Mt Harmon in London during the lead-up to the war and ministered to the people in the devastatingly poor East End of London.  Here she saw some of the aftermath of one of Oswald Mosley's terrible riots and she came to understand some of the sufferings of the Jewish people.

She then decided to study German and history at Cardiff University, and fell in love with a young pacifist with fierce convictions.  Here she experienced terrifying bombing raids and the death of her best friend.  This brought the war home to her, so when she was offered the chance to do secret work for the Foreign Office, she leapt at it.

The main problem with this interesting book is that the story takes a long time to actually get to Bletchley Park, and not that much of it is set in Bletchley Park.  However,  I enjoyed reading about an unsung war heroine, and life in Great Britain during the war.  The writing was a little bit dry at times, but this book is definitely a 'keeper' for history or biography lovers.


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