I was a good boy yesterday. A good boy but not a very good boy. I have said that I will write 500 words a day for my book The Bridge House. Yesterday I wrote 440.
I wonder if any of you recognise this building on the left. When I knew it in the early 1970's it was not well known at all. Now it has international fame. During World War Two it was the most closely kept secret in the country, Winston Churchill called it his ULTRA SECRET. It is, of course, Bletchley Park's mansion at the heart of the secret decoding of
Hitler's Enigma machine and its messages.
For three years I lived in Bletchley Park, not in the mansion which was in the 1970's the training school for Post Office Telephones, but in this building. In my day it was Milton Keynes College of Education, a satellite teacher training college of Oxford University.
Today my former bedroom is part of a museum showing the wartime work of Bomber Command. My Uncle Billy, who dominates the chapter I am working on was part of Bomber Command.
The story is moving slowly from Billy to his younger brother, my father, Kenneth.
As soon as he was 18 years old Kenneth volunteered and was signed into The Royal Air Force. He went through basic training then qualified as a signalman.
Dad, who is now 91 years old, tells how he was called to the base adjutant's office and offered three assignments. He could select which ever he wished.
The first was to train as an officer but to do that he would have to change from being in the RAF Volunteer Reserve to make the Air Force his career for life. Dad was not keen on that. He was then told he could go to work in Bletchley Park.
"What's at Bletchley Park ?" He asked.
"Can not tell you, it is top secret. You will find out when you get there."
"What is the third option ?"
"We need a signalman at Cairo in Eygpt."
If you were nineteen year old, if you were my Dad, which would you have chosen ?
No contest !
So Dad never went to Bletchley Park. He forgot all about it until I went there in 1971 to train as a teacher.
A I write The Bridge House I am going to let my author's imagination take my Dad to Bletchley Park before he is sent to Egypt. I will use my own knowledge of Bletchley Park to write the story.
After spending a year in Egypt my father was then sent to Palestine as part of The British
Mandate setting up a new country, Israel. There he had an important job managing signals for the RAF base in Jerusalem.
I wonder, I just wonder........ Did my Dad perhaps go to Bletchley Park after all ? If he did he would have been told never to speak about it and my Dad would have respected that. He would never have told anyone he was there.
Was my Dad actually a spy ?
If not a spy did he co-ordinate secret activities in Egypt and then Palestine ? From what I know of his career in The RAF that would make perfect sense.
As I write The Bridge House that si exactly what he will be doing. Doing in the story and perhaps what he did in real life.
My Dad the spy ?
Perhaps his time in Bletchley Park in those final days of World War Two were much more of an adventure than my own in a boring teacher training college.