Canadian Signals Intelligence veteran honoured
News article - 22 Sep 2016
A 93-year-old Canadian woman has received the Bletchley Park Commemorative Badge in honour of her work in Signals Intelligence during the Second World War.
Becky White, nee Brimacombe, served in the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS) from 1943-1945, mostly at Number 1 Station HMCS Bytown, later known as HMCS Gloucester, south of Ottawa.
Becky and her Wren colleagues intercepted communications from U-Boats which were patrolling the North Atlantic in order to attack Allied shipping.
She recalled working on the base complete with a ship’s mast, flags, and parade grounds, in particular the "DF Shack" (the Radio Direction Finding building) which was in the middle of a cow pasture.
Becky was presented with her badge by a representative of the British High Commission in a ceremony in front of her proud family, including husband of 72 years Arthur, their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Bletchley Park Commemorative Badge
GCHQ inaugurated a commemorative badge in 2009 for veterans of Signals Intelligence from the Second World War. They had received no recognition at the end of the war in 1945 because of the need to maintain secrecy around the work they had done. Also few qualified for campaign medals because their work had rarely taken place overseas.
GCHQ thought that formal recognition of those still surviving was an appropriate gesture. We also commissioned a monument at Bletchley Park, unveiled by HM The Queen, and a Roll of Honour, with a bound volume at Bletchley Park and an online version.
Signals Intelligence in the Second World War was integrated between Allied nations. The award recognises all service related to Allied Signals Intelligence, not just at Bletchley Park but also at its outstations, the ‘Y’ stations, Special Communications Units and Special Liaison Units.
To date we have issued 3,353 badges, and 628 of them – just under 20% - have been sent overseas. Some of these represent people who emigrated from the UK post-War, but the 359 awarded in Australia and the 119 to Canadians include significant numbers of people who served in Australian and Canadian units.