Other Jobs Part II


Code Breakers

A very important job in the war was intercepting messages. These were sent in code and deciphering the codes was difficult work. Service women were involved in code breaking at Bletchley Park. They would listen to German radio messages and pass them to the code breakers, some of the code breakers were also members of the services. The codes were complicated and it could take weeks to decipher them.  It was secret work and those that worked at Bletchley were not allowed to talk about their work, even after the war for a long time.

The Enigma machine was a Nazi computer which transmitted German war messages. The sender of the message had a machine as did the receiver of the message. In Britain the messages translated as gibberish but when an Enigma machine was captured and taken to Bletchley Park the code breakers were able to try and translate the intercepted messages. Only the top mathematicians and scientists were employed as code breakers; therefore lots of very clever women worked at Bletchley.

Bletchley Park
The Enigma Machine
Germans using the Enigma
The Bletchley computer


Entertainments National Service Association

In the war people were very sad because of the bombing, rationing and separation of families and loved ones. The government thought entertainment was very important to keep the people's spirits up, so they spent £14m to set up the Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA).

The ENSA was made up of singers, dancers, actors, actresses and comedians. The entertainers gave up their time to give live performances to civilians and the military. They also broadcasted on BBC radio, people tuned into the "The Forces Programme" and "The Home Service" to hear their favourite entertainers.

The entertainers would even visit the service men at the front lines to give open air performances to the men despite the risk of falling bombs. The women singers were very important as it lifted the spirits of the servicemen. The two famous female singers were Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields, Vera Lynn was known as the "Forces Sweetheart" and Gracie Fields was known simply as "Our Gracie".


Gracie Fields
Vera Lynn


....and finally a slideshow with music from Gracie Fields