What should you take with you on a tip to Bletchley Park, wartime home of British codebreakers?
Shipmates from four Royal Naval Association branches in Area 5 figured they should get into the mood with a collection of crosswords and various other puzzles…
The 32 visitors, from Stowmarket, Ipswich, Colchester and Beccles branches, picked a perfect summer’s day for the trip, and split into groups when they arrived in order to go at their own pace (or in some cases work out where the bar was – that particular puzzle was solved in no time at all.)
The mansion and lake proved a perfect setting for the tour (though they forget their beach towels for a bit of fun lakeside), and everyone was kept entertained throughout the day.
In the Visitor Centre were the decoding machines - all incredibly complicated (for the gunners in particular, according to our source), and in the mansion was Commander Denniston's office and library, exactly as they were in World War 2.
Of particular interest was Hut 11 and 11a, showing the challenge of solving the Enigma and the creation of the Bombe machines, which were mostly operated by Wrens.
Also high on the list was Hut 8, which was the German naval Enigma codebreaking hut and where Alan Turing had his office. Shipmates found it incredible to think that those who worked there never told family and friends of the work they were undertaking.
Having accounted for all hands, everyone re-embarked on the "Pusser’s" bus and headed back to Stowmarket RNA's HQ1 for a lovely evening meal and a few wets.
The evening saw the holding of defaulters for two shipmates who were absent at the bar when the group phot was taken. Having listened to their calls for clemency, the Coxswain's punishment was for the two to sing "I'm a Teapot" to everyone present – with, of course, accompanying actions.
“This brought the house down, and the look on the faces of non-RNA members of HQ1 was priceless,” said S/M Pete Chivers, Public Relations Officer for Stowmarket branch.
“A great day out, and one that proves that branches, big and small, can together really enjoy themselves. Here's to the next run ashore."
Our image shows shipmates (minus defaulters) safely back at Stowmarket after their trip to Bletchley Park