St John’s on-the-Hill pupils were the first to be selected to use the Enigma machine which had not been used since World War II when interceptors managed to break German codes, a crucial part in helping to defeat the Nazi regime.
Jonathan Crane, Year 7, was the lucky first person to use the machine, when Year 6 and 7 pupils went on a trip to Bletchley Park for a day of code breaking, before the Easter break. All students got to press at least one key on the machine during an Interception to Intelligence workshop. Pupils were also given a tour around the site and visited the offices used by World War II code breakers, which have been kept just as they were when operational.
In Naval Codebreaking Hut 8, pupils entered Alan Turing’s office, where he toiled for hours to break the German codes. They also got achance to spend time on the set used in The Imitation Game movie.
Alex Pritchard, Head of Mathematics, said: “We really did feel part of history, treading the same corridors as the great minds that cracked the famous Enigma Code. The highlight of the day was the opportunity to use the Enigma machine, just being in the presence of such an iconic piece of machinery was a treat.
“It looked like a complicated typewriter and we were given an explanation on the workings of the machine that could have 158 million million million possible permutations. Everyone left Bletchley Park feeling inspired to make their own footprint on history in years to come.”