What was life at Bletchley Park really like?
News article - 14 Dec 2017
Cottle arrived at Bletchley in September 1943. He worked in Hut 6 (Block D) on Enigma material, staying on after VE day to work on intercepted Albanian traffic, before a long career at the University of Bristol. He was a man for whom conversation was the essential oil of daily life, both inside and outside the office - and he was an assiduous diarist.
Well aware of Bletchley Park security rules, Cottle usually refers only obliquely to the content of his work - but gives free rein to his opinion of colleagues, landladies, and anyone he bumps into on his days off. We're left in no doubt who he gets on with, and who is a pain. He records amusing scraps of conversation, arguments won and lost, lunch-time diversions, the strains of shift-working, the impact of the newly-arrived US Army contingent, and a host of detail about getting by in wartime conditions. It will strike a chord with anyone who has ever worked in a large organisation.
Cottle's diary has been transcribed and edited by GCHQ retirees Judie and James Hodsdon, with notes and comments on the hundreds of names mentioned. Proceeds from sales go to the Bletchley Park Trust, where Judie is a trustee. It can be ordered online or from bookshops (ISBN 978-1906978440).