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Elite at Bletchley Park: Ann Mitchell (1922-2020)


Mathematician and Codebreaker

Elite at Bletchley Park: Ann Mitchell (1922-2020)

Another sad loss was the death, on 11th May 2020, of Ann Mitchell, who was a mathematician and codebreaker at Bletchley Park. She was closely involved in the breaking of the German Enigma ciphers. Among her key tasks was the programming of Alan Turing’s Bombe machines. In a world of male mathematician in Hut 6, Ann could not even divulge her job to her parents. It was in the ‘machine room’, close to the Enigma machines, that Mitchell devised the instructions for the Bombes – demanding and complex work, undertaken in close liaison with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force and the Women’s Royal Naval Service. Once told that Maths was not ‘a ladylike subject’ by a teacher, Ann Mitchell later worked for a wartime member of MI5; she became a social scientist and marriage guidance councillor after World War Two, with a range of books to her credit.

RadioUser has carried a number of articles about the wartime codebreaking activities at Bletchley Park, and continues to publish a series about Spies and Radio at the moment (see the August 2020 issue).

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(Source: Obituary: The Guardian, 13 June 2020: 7)

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