Jean Valentine and the Bombe

Bletchley Park veteran Jean Valentine demonstrates the Turing/Welchman Bombe

In 2013, Bletchley Park veteran Jean Valentine featured in a short 5-minute video where she gives a demonstration of the machine she worked on during the Second World War.

In a memoir published on her Bletchley Park Roll of Honour Page, Jean recalls:

I joined the WRNS in 1943 in a fit of pique because my application to join the WAAF as an MT driver had been turned down! How wise they were and how stupid I was to think that my little height and leg reach would have been of any useful purpose for driving anything but a saloon car!”

Bletchley Park was not put off by Jean’s stature, even though Bombe operators were supposed to be above a certain height. In the video, Jean explains the simple solution she used to give her a bit more reach.

Jean Rooke (née Valentine) 2015

Jean Valentine (later Rooke) spent time working on the Bombe machines in Hut 11a at Bletchley Park and Adstock, a small outstation located 3 miles south-east of Buckingham. Over 2,000 personnel – mostly women – worked in shifts in Hut 11a, whereas about 60 worked at Adstock.

Later in the war, Jean attended a course on Japanese codes and cyphers before departing for overseas service in Colombo (the capital of Sri Lanka), where she met and married Clive Rooke.

Read more about the Enigma-busting Bombe machine here.

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