2nd Marham Scout Group Visit Bletchley Home of the Codebreakers
On the 15th-17th of February, 2nd Marham Scout Group held a Scout Camp just outside of Milton Keynes.
On the 16th, the group descended on Bletchley Park, the home of the Codebreakers, where thousands of personnel decoded Enigma Messages and all other manner of Axis radio traffic during the Second World War.
The visit started off with a live demonstration of the rebuilt BOMBE Machine that lives in block B before learning all about the life of the mathematical genius who broke the code- Alan Turing. Needless to say, the group were impressed by his feat of problem solving, with some of them finding it hard to imagine how he did it without the use of a calculator.
After lunch, the group happened upon the toy museum where all of them were allowed to look at period toys of the time and the leaders were surprised to find that they didn’t once yearn for the modern day equivalents during their time in the building.
Next was a brief stop to the Mansion that dominates the area and the Memorial to the Polish codebreakers who supplied the first code books and their enigma research to the British just after Poland was invaded by Germany. Many of whom lost their lives in doing so.
After a short break for the leaders to recharge their heads and the kids to let off some steam, the group then visited the replica of the first ever computer. Contrary of popular belief, this was not invented during any of the leaders lives!
The day ended with a short visit to the National Museum of Computing where the oldest original computer is housed- “The Witch.” Many of the young people marvelled at the computers within this small museum and found it hard to comprehend that a hard drive disk the size of a household bin could only hold 8mb at a push!
They all enjoyed the demonstrations of the various machines and eventually found the PC section where such classics as PAC MAN and Tetris were introduced to them. We eventually managed to peel them off for a game of man hunt back at the campsite before all of us retired to bed and returned to Marham the following afternoon.
The group would like to thank Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing for being so accommodating during the visit to the site. The Scouts came away with a greater appreciation of the Enigma Challenge and are still talking about it even now.