Last year my family visited Bletchley Park along with my 92 year old grandmother who worked there and at Stanmore during the Second World War. It was a truly inspiring and emotional day learning in greater detail of what her job entailed and of the code breaking work that was being carried out at Bletchley at that time.
My grandmother, Granny to me, was in the WRNS (Women’s Royal Naval Service) also known as the Wrens. She was an operator on one of Alan Turing's Bombe machines, working in eight hour shifts as the machines ran 24 hours a day. When we saw, and heard as it was so loud, a replica of the Bombe machine working in the museum at Bletchley it brought back many memories to her. The museum staff kindly removed one of the drums to let her hold it whilst she told a growing audience of her time working on the machines.
I was so inspired by her role and responsibility as a young girl there and wanted to create something to commemorate this. I took the the circles from the drums of the Bombe machine and the colours of the Wren uniform of navy blue and white as the starting point for the design. I then added wren birds which are part of the logo of the WRNS within some of the circles. Each wren contains code including my grandmother’s name in a few of them. Once I was happy with the design I had it printed on to a silk square, 60cm x 60cm, hemmed it and sent it for her birthday. On the day I received a lovely email from her (she’s a whizz on her iPad) saying how touched she was by it. For me though, it was a very small way of saying thank you to her.