Jean Valentine (bombe operator)

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A mockup of a bombe at Bletchley Park, as operated by Jean Valentine during World War II.

Jean Valentine (born 1924, Scotland) was an operator of the bombe decryption device in Hut 11 at Bletchley Park in England, designed by Alan Turing and others during World War II.[1] She was a member of the "Wrens" (Women's Royal Naval Service, WRNS).[2] She was one of a number of women who worked at Bletchley Park.[3] During this time, she lived in Steeple Claydon in Buckinghamshire. She started working on 15 shillings (75 pence) a week. Along with her co-workers, she remained quiet about her war work until the mid-1970s.

More recently, Jean Valentine has been involved with the reconstruction of the bombe at Bletchley Park Museum,[4] completed in 2006.[5] In 2006, she said: "Unless people come pouring through the doors, a vital piece of history is lost. The more we can educate them, the better."[6] She demonstrates the reconstructed bombe at the Bletchley Park Museum[7][8] and also leads tours there.[9][10][11] She participated in a major reunion at Bletchley Park in 2009.[12][13]

On 24 June 2012, Jean Valentine spoke on her wartime experiences at Bletchley Park and elsewhere as part of a Turing's Worlds event to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Alan Turing, organized by the Department for Continuing Education's Rewley House at Oxford University in cooperation with the British Society for the History of Mathematics (BSHM).[14]

See also


  1. ComputerHeritage. "Operating the Bombe: Jean Valentine's story". YouTube. Retrieved 28 July 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Lewis, Katy (3 June 2009). "Breaking the codes: Former Bletchley Park Wren, Jean Valentine, reveals exactly what went on at the World War II codebreaking centre". Beds, Herts & Bucks. BBC. Retrieved 28 July 2014. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. The Women of Bletchley Park, Finding Ada, 26 July 2009.
  4. What to see at Bletchley Park: Bombe Rebuild Project, Bletchley Park, UK.
  5. Fenton, Ben (7 September 2006). "Bletchley hums again to the Turing Bombe". The Telegraph.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Addley, Esther (7 September 2006). "Back in action at Bletchley Park, the black box that broke the Enigma code". The Guardian.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Jean Valentine explains the bombe on YouTube.
  8. Jean Valentine explains the bombe, CastTV.
  9. BCSWomen trip to Bletchley Park, BCSWomen, UK, 8 May 2008.
  10. "The geese that laid the golden egg — but never cackled" — Winston Churchill, Skirts and Ladders, 26 July 2009.
  11. Feature: Decoding Bletchley Park's history, Gizmag Emerging Technology Magazine.
  12. The Wider View: Nazi codebreaker which shortened the Second World War by two years. The Mail on Sunday, 30 March 2009.
  13. 'Geese' cackle over Enigma: British code breakers reunite to celebrate secret work that helped Allies defeat Nazis, The Star, Toronto, Canada, 25 March 2009.
  14. "Driving Miss Valentine". Diaphania. Blogspot. 6 July 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012. External link in |work= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>