Morse coded memories of the eve of D-Day

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From: Rachel Maister, Priest Lane, Ripon.

I WAS interested to read the account of Gwen Burton about her time at Bletchley Park during the war (The Yorkshire Post, January 6). I was also there in the WAAF doing a similar job described as “Morse Slip-reader”. It had been a long training, first in sending and receiving the Morse code in a course at Blackpool, then assembling and repairing wireless sets at Compton Bassett in Wiltshire and finally learning to touch type at Chiswick in London.

Messages came in from India, Australia and Canada via cable on a tape with a wavy line on it dictating the Morse code, and messages went out on a tape with holes in it. An electrical connection was made through the holes which had been punched by a special typewriter.

A few weeks before the invasion, I was sent down to the ground floor to a small room with two wireless sets. We had to listen for messages on certain frequencies in spite of efforts by the Germans to jam them. The eventual qualification for this was a musical ear since it was very difficult for the Germans to get on the exact frequency, and if one could detect a slight difference in pitch one could still get the message. One presumes the messages were from British agents who were activated before D-Day.