Charting Churchill: Hut 8, Bletchley Park

Hut 8, Bletchley Park 2014 by Leslie Hossack

Hut 8, Bletchley Park 2014

© Leslie Hossack

In 1941, Prime Minister Winston Churchill received a letter requesting more resources for top-secret Bletchley Park where hundreds were now working on breaking the German code Enigma. Churchill immediately directed his Chief of Staff, General Ismay, as follows: “ACTION THIS DAY Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me that this has been done.”

The first break in the naval Enigma code came in 1941. Information decrypted in Hut 8, shown above, helped reduce losses caused by German U-Boats when convoys from North America were bringing supplies to Great Britain, as she stood alone in Europe against Hitler. The staff of Hut 8, working under Alan Turing and Hugh Alexander, played a significant role in the development of machines to help with the decryption process. This eventually led to the creation of the first computers.

The United States did not enter the war until the end of 1941. During that grave year, Churchill made a number of remarkable speeches. As Edward R. Murrow said: “Now the hour had come for him to mobilize the English language, and send it into battle, a spearhead of hope for Britain and the world.” To see a list of Churchill’s speeches, please visit The Churchill Centre. Two of his speeches from 1941 are highlighted here.

Never Give In, Never, Never, Never – 29 October 1941, Harrow School “… the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”

“Some Chicken; Some Neck” – 30 December 1941, Canadian Parliament “When I warned them that Britain would fight on alone whatever they did, their generals told their Prime Minister and his divided Cabinet, ‘In three weeks England will have her neck wrung like a chicken.’ Some chicken; some neck.”

To learn more about events of 1941, please visit the BBC World War II Timeline. This BBC summary, prepared by Bruce Robinson, was last updated in 2011.

The image featured above is part of the limited edition collector’s portfolio created by Leslie Hossack to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of Sir Winston Churchill. She presents locations that chart Churchill’s personal and political life, from his birth at Blenheim Palace in 1874 until his death in London in 1965. THE CHURCHILL PHOTOGRAPHS are part of Hossack’s larger body of work that explores Nazi architecture in Berlin, Stalinist structures in Moscow, contested sites in Jerusalem, a Cold War bunker in Ottawa, NATO’s Headquarter Camp in Kosovo, and buildings linked to the Japanese Canadian internment during World War II.

To view more photographs, please visit Leslie’s website.

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