Bletchley Park, the British Spy Center of the Second World War, has released rare silent footage of the MI6 staff members from the code-breaking facility.
A newly released piece of footage of off-duty secret British communications staffers, from the MI6 at Whaddon Hall, has been donated to the Bletchley Park Trust. This film is only known wartime footage of any site linked to Bletchley Park.
What appears to be a home movie reel shows young people playing soccer and cricket, sunbathing, smiling and making faces. The subtitles reveal one man asking "What... what time is our party?"
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However, they were far from young carefree British. These were off-duty secret British communications staffers, linked to code-breakers who decrypted German ciphers and helped the Allies win the Second World War.
Bletchley Park described the clip:
"The silent film is believed to be a compilation of footage recorded between 1939 and 1945, showing members of MI6 Section VIII, at Whaddon Hall, Buckinghamshire. This was a most secret site where Ultra intelligence produced by the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park would be sent and then passed on to Allied commanders in the field."
Those figures in the film include Brigadier Richard Gambier-Parry, Head of SIS Section VIII, based at Whaddon Hall 1939-1945 and Bob Hornby, first Engineer, in charge of workshops and Ewart Holden, Stores officer.
In a statement David Kenyon, Research Historian at Bletchley Park said "No other film footage of a site intimately connected with Bletchley Park exists."
While the footage doesn't reveal any sensitive information Kenyon pointed out that "If it fell into the wrong hands, it would have given little away."
He said, “But for us today, it is an astonishing discovery and important record of one of the most secret and valuable aspects of Bletchley Park’s work.”