Our Century

Codebreaker's widow

Joan Gill, Gornal
Born 1929

Joan Gill

Proud widow of a codebreaker at Bletchley Park where British experts cracked Hitler's Enigma code. Joan Gill visited Bletchley Park for the first time in March, 1999, on a Star Readers trip.

"Harry worked at Bletchley Park during the war. It was top secret and they called it Station X. He never wanted the secrets to come out. When my daughter borrowed a library book about it he was furious that somebody had talked .

"Under the Official Secrets Act you were told never to say anything about it. Harry never did.

He was brilliant in everything he did. We had been waiting for something like the recognition they got on the television series, Station X which was shown in 1999.

"My Harry was serving with the RAF during the war. He saw a notice advertising a mysterious job. It didn't say what it was because it was secret. It just said that only those with the highest intelligence need apply. He went to get an interview and they sent him here, to Bletchley.

"We met after the war. He came to work as an accountant at the firm in Birmingham where I worked. I was only 19 and he was 36 but we fell in love and were soon married.

"What did he do at Bletchley? I really don't know. He would never talk about his role here, not to anyone. Not even to me.

"When that Peter Wright book, Spycatcher, came out Harry was furious. On the day it came on the television he frightened us all. He shot up in his chair and said: the traitor!' - to think he could do that! I could have done that but no, we kept silent'."