Bletchley Park WW2 archive heading online

Bletchley Park

Bletchley Park, Britain's code-breaking headquarters during World War II, will be making more than a million documents available to the public online.

The project is expected to take up to five years to complete and will be carried out at the Milton Keynes base by the Bletchley Park Trust with the assistance of HP, which will be providing the software to transfer the documentation onto the web.

HP will also be providing training and technical support, according to Simon Greenish, director of Bletchley Park Trust.

"I think there will be a lot of interest in it," Greenish told IT PRO. "What will be of particular interest is the card index, which comprises of literally thousands of thousands of cards with summaries of the messages on them. I think that is something new and researchers will be interested in that, I'm quite sure of that."

He explained that not much is known about a significant portion of the documentation stored in the archive.

"There is literally rooms full of it and it's not until we've actually gone through it all that we will understand exactly what we have got," Greenish added.

Bletchley Park has been operating as a museum since 1994, but much of the extensive archive is inaccessible to the public. Once the project is completed, some of the documents will be available to view for free, while others will need to be paid for.

During the war, codebreakers at the site looked to crack German messages sent through the Enigma machine.

The process was extremely difficult in the early days of World War II, given the very slim chances of figuring out what the enciphered letters were, but genius mathematician and computing legend Alan Turing developed an idea that led to the creation of the Bombe an electro-mechanical machine that cut the odds drastically.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.