Teams of 12-18 year-olds compete for CyberCenturion 2016 title

Cyber Security Challenge
29 April 2016

On Tuesday 26th April the 2016 CyberCenturion National Final competition took place at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Following months of gruelling qualifying rounds, ten teams from across the UK and Overseas Territories descended onto the Museum to take part in a face-to-face cyber challenge event.

Click here to find out who won.

First Cyber Centurion Competition Winners get a piece of Colossus

Cyber Security Challenge U.K
22 April 2015

The UK’s first Cyber Centurion National Finals Competition looked at perfectly at home in the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. The inaugural winners were a team of young cyber enthusiasts from King Edward VI Grammar School (KEGS), Chelmsford in Essex.

copyright 2015 Cyber Security Challenge

The KEGS team competed against seven other teams on 17 April 2015, with each team taking on the role of cyber-experts at a fictional video games company under attack by rival businesses trying to steal valuable industry information. Their task was to protect sensitive customer data and valuable intellectual property against theft by malicious hackers.

The contestants, all aged between 12-18 years old battled it out at under the watchful eyes of world-leading cyber experts from Northrop Grumman, Fujitsu, the National Museum of Computing, the U.S. Air Force Association’s CyberPatriot programme and more.

The awards ceremony was held in the Colossus gallery at the National Museum of Computing – a scene made even more significant by the fact that each winning contestant received the fantastic prize of a framed Colossus valve and roll of tape. The winning team’s teacher won a framed original Colossus Blueprint.  I can tell you that there was a bit of envy from the adults in the audience for these specially made and unique prizes.

“Promoting education in STEM and building the talent pool in cyber is a core focus for Northrop Grumman and CyberCenturion has provided a fantastic opportunity for young people interested in the world of cyber security to get their first real experience of the scenarios and challenges that professionals have to grapple with on a daily basis,” said Andrew Tyler, chief executive, Northrop Grumman Europe.

What is CyberCenturion and how can I get involved?

CyberCenturion is the U.K.’s first team-based cyber security contest specifically designed to attract 12-18 year olds. Delivered in partnership with Cyber Security Challenge U.K., the competition aims to engage talented young people with an interest in cyber as a way to address the national skills gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and encourage careers in cyber security.

To find out more about CyberCenturion click here.

Deciphering the legacy of women codebreakers in World War II Inspire 2015
20 January 2015

In the lead up to the Inspire 2015 in June Silicon Republic, Europe’s leading technology and innovation news service, is running a series of interviews with the event’s speakers.

I had the pleasure of sharing my story with the lovely Claire O’Connell (@claireoconnell) for Friday’s article –‘Deciphering the legacy of women codebreakers in World War II’. #inspirefest2015

Deciphering the legacy of women codebreakers in WW2

Decoding the past at Bletchley Park – an interview

J.Lynn Stapleton's interview with Kerry Howard at
16 December 2014

Bletchley Park ResearchHappy New Year.

I am excited about new adventures in 2015 but I thought I would share once last item from 2014.

In December 2014 I had the pleasure of answering questions about Bletchley Park for J.Lynn Stapleton (@ceridwyn2), which featured on her website I feel quite nostalgic when I read the resulting interview, as it’s a wonderful reminder of my first visits to Bletchley Park.

As with all these such requests they sometimes lead to more conversations. In 2014 I made many new friends through our common interest in Bletchley Park and I am looking forward to building on those friendships and meeting new people in 2015.

Thanks for taking the time to read Bletchley Park Research and getting in touch. You make the process of sharing my research online so very enjoyable.

Warmest Wishes


Building Christopher for Alan Turing

How Designers Recreated Alan Turing’s Code-Breaking Computer for Imitation Game by Angela Watercutter, Wired
21 November 2014
(C) John Jackson

copyright John Jackson

Alan Turing’s Bombe machine ‘Christopher’  is a key cast member in The Imitation Game.

Wired’s article breaks down how production designer Maria Djurkovic researched and designed Christopher taking the Turing/Welchman Bombe Rebuild machine at Bletchley Park as the basis for the design.

Djurkovic designed Christopher with red cabling flowing into the front of the machine, adding to the illusion it is a living entity with nerves and blood pumping through veins.

“It’s not just Christopher, it’s every single aspect of the film.” says Djurkovic.

The Bombe machine prop is on display at Bletchley Park in The Imitation Game Exhibition.

Who Was The Real Joan Clarke?

The Imitation Game: Who Was The Real Joan Clarke? by Mary-Ann Russon, International Business Times UK
14 November 2014

On the day The Imitation Game was released in the UK to much media attention Mary-Ann Russon from the International Business Times UK takes a look over Alan Turing’s shoulder and shines a well-deserved light on the real Joan Clarke.

Women Codebreakers at Bletchley Park Margaret Rock, Mavis Lever & Joan Clarke

Women Codebreakers at Bletchley Park
Margaret Rock, Mavis Lever & Joan Clarke

You can read more about Joan and the other women codebreakers here.

Dr Sue Black on The Imitation Game imitating real life

Dr Sue Black 'The-imitation Game Art Imitating Real Life'
20 November 2014

Dr Sue Black with Bletchley Park Bombe Machine operator Jean Valentine. Reproduced with kind permission of Dr Black.

As the debate surrounding the historical inaccuracies in The Imitation Game continues, Dr. Sue Black shows that you can love the film for its impact while hating it for the factual errors.

Read her intelligent and well-reasoned review in her blog post ‘The Imitation Game – Art Imitating Real Life’

Dr. Sue Black is an inspirational campaigner for women’s roles at Bletchley Park and in Tech today. You can find out more about her at and buy a copy of her book ‘Saving Bletchley Park‘.



Mair Russell Jones Hut 6 codebreaker remembers Turing

Welsh codebreaker Mair Russell-Jones recognised Alan Turing's genius by Robin Turner, Wales Online
16 November 2014

The son of a Welsh woman who worked alongside World War Two codebreaker Alan Turing has spoken of how she “clearly recognised” his superb intellect soon after meeting him at Bletchley Park in World War 2.

German language skills, music training and talent for crosswords were the reasons Mair Russell-Jones was ‘headhunted’ by the Foreign Office for the Government Code & Cypher School operation at Bletchley Park. She worked in Hut 6 where the German Army and Air Force Enigma cyphers were broken.

In this article published in the Welsh Times, Gethin recalls how his mother often talked about Alan Turing and expressed her outrage at the way he was treated.

You can buy Mair’s book (written with her son) My Secret Life in Hut Six in bookstores, including Amazon UK and This is a book definitely on my Christmas list for 2014.

Alan Turing and the Solitaire solution

Enigma genius Alan Turing solved my childhood puzzle - article by Pamela Owen, The Mirror
16 November 2014

As a child Maria Summerscale was baffled by the puzzling board game Solitaire. During evenings with Maria’s parents in 1952 Alan Turing sat on the floor with Maria, watching as she struggled to solve the puzzle.

Maria describes Turing as ‘ a very warm person who ­always took an interest in what I was ­doing..’ He also took an interest in the puzzle and sent Maria a surprise letter explaining the solution and providing a diagram .

Such a kind act shows Turing’s fascination with the challenge of puzzles – regardless of whether the soluction could turn the tide of war or end the frustration of an eight year old child.

A year after sending Maria the letter Alan Turing tragically committed suicide. We will never know just how many other puzzles this brilliant man could have solved had he lived to fulfill his potential.

This is a fascinating article in the Mirror, shining an endearing light on the personality of Alan Turing.

Breaking Enigma was not the hardest codebreaking puzzle

The Telegraph - Breaking the Enigma code was the easiest part of the Nazi puzzle by Michael Smith
15 November 2014

Writer and Bletchley Park expert, Michael Smith talks about The Imitation Game and explores a World War 2 puzzle even greater and more challenging than Enigma – the SZ-40 Lorenz machine.

Michael Smith Author

You can also watch a video explained how the Lorenz was broken by clicking here.

Michael Smith’s book on the female codebreakers, ‘The Debs of Bletchley Park and Other Stories’, will be published by Aurum in January. Can’t wait until then?

Buy his excellent book The Secrets of Station X: How the Bletchley Park codebreakers helped win the war.

Bletchley Park

Women in wartime

Article by Sarah Dawood for The Guardian
8th November 2014 change the women’s roles and increased their career opportunities. But has that change been sustained?  Sarah Dawood discusses Women in wartime – the role of the female public servant.

[I get a mention and a little quote about women in World War 2 codebreaking].

Watching The Imitation Game trailer with an Alan Turing expert

The APeriodical
24 July 2014

James Grime (mathematician, juggler and comedy nerd – but not necessarily in that order) examines The Imitation Game trailer shot by shot and shares his expert view., The Imitation Game, Joan Clarke, Alan Turing

© 2014 The Weinstein Company Inc.

What does he think overall:

It’s not easy to tell much from the trailer, but it looks fantastic. Cumberbatch and Knightley seem to be doing a bang up job in their roles, and it’s a story that I think will be a big hit. Sure there are inaccuracies, but I think that is forgivable in a dramatisation of events. I think the film will actually inspire people to find out more about Turing, Enigma, and the work at Bletchley Park. November here we come!


Well, I for one am very excited about its release. What about you?

Women’s Security Society Case Study

SC Magazine
1 July 2014
Bletchley Park Research

WSS board members at soft launch event, 26th February 2013 copyright WSS

I had the honour of meeting some of the inspirational women of the Women’s Security Society when they asked me to talk about Margaret Rock (codebreaker) at a special lunch held at Bletchley Park. You can also read my post about that event here – Inspirational Women at Bletchley Park.