The Queen sets code-breaking challenge
Written by Sue Gee   
Sunday, 17 July 2011

Queen Elizabeth II has made her first ever visit to Bletchley Park, the home of the UK's World War II code-breaking efforts, and to mark the occasion has issued a code cracking challenge to school children.

 

Bletchley Park, in Buckinghamshire, UK, received a royal visit on July 15 at which Queen Elizabeth II dedicated a memorial to the men and women who served at this site and its Outstations during World War II.  

Her Majesty The Queen dedicates the new memorial

(Photo reproduced courtesy of Milton Keynes Today, from a slideshow Her Majesty's Visit to Bletchley Park)

 

A video of her visit can also be seen below (includes a short ad which we cannot remove):

        

 

It was The Queen's first ever visit to home and workplace of the men and women whose code-breaking efforts were a vital contribution to the allied war effort. The Royal Party was shown some of the restoration projects which have taken place at Bletchley Park to rebuild the machines which assisted with the wartime decryption of enemy codes. These included the Turing Bombe, an electromechanical device devised by Alan Turing to help decipher encrypted signals, and Colossus, the world's first electronic computer.

 

bombe-3-rotor

Turing Bombe

 

To mark the occasion The Queen has issued a code cracking challenge to school children. There are six messages to be decoded using the Code Book provided. There is also a seventh message just for those aged between 13 and 16 living in the UK. One correct entry selected at random by the deadline of August 18 will receive a small prize.

 

queenscode

 

Visit The Queen's Code Book Challenge for details of this competition and to download the Code Book (pdf format).

 

Further reading:

Cryptography and codes

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