Evergreen - - Spring 2016 -

MADAM: I was very in­ter­ested in “From the Deputy Editor’s Desk” ( Au­tumn 2015) about Bletch­ley Park. How­ever, I was sur­prised that no men­tion was made of the group of Post Of­fice En­gi­neers who built Colos­sus ( the first elec­tronic dig­i­tal com­puter). My late brother- in- law was one of those young men. Alan Gibbs worked at the GPO in Birm­ing­ham, with oth­ers ser­vic­ing the teleprint­ers, some­times play­ing tricks on the girls who op­er­ated them. My sis­ter was one of those girls.

Dur­ing the war Alan was sent to Dol­lis Hill in Lon­don, where, I pre­sume, he had some spe­cial train­ing with the other boys who were there. He and the oth­ers were then sent to Bletch­ley Park where he had to sign the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act. This meant he was not able to tell us about the work that was go­ing on there, al­though he was still a civil­ian. We had some nasty re­marks made to us by the neigh­bours be­cause Alan was not in uni­form, but no ex­pla­na­tions were able to be given. Even­tu­ally the “Pow­ers that be” de­cided to is­sue those young men with RAF uni­forms. Alan be­came a sergeant. Un­for­tu­nately, the neigh­bours had died by the time Alan was able to talk about his work at Bletch­ley.

When Bletch­ley Park was opened to the pub­lic, Alan was among those who were in­vited to the open­ing and he was able to meet up with some of those with whom he had worked dur­ing those try­ing times.

My late sis­ter, Alan’s widow, was taken to Bletch­ley by her son and when he told the guide that his father was one of the en­gi­neers who built Colos­sus,

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