In the News: Lost Bletchley Park Christmas Card Found

A Christmas card sent to one of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park has been discovered. 

The card reads ‘Wishing you a very happy Christmas & New Year, Evelyn Sinclair’, it was sent to workers at Bletchley Park in 1938 by the wife of the head of MI6, Admiral Hugh Sinclair, known as ‘C’.

The card is not at all festive, it is a photograph of what was euphemistically known as ‘Captain Ridley’s shooting party’ that had taken place in September. This was a gathering of around 150 codebreakers and spies to discuss what seemed imminent – the conflict that was World War Two. The photograph was known to be in existence, however, it wasn’t known until this item was unearthed that it was sent along with a Christmas message. It is attached to blue writing paper on which the address of the Sinclairs’ home, 3 Carlisle Mansions [Westminster], is printed. 

Bletchley Park Christmas Card

The Christmas missive belonged to Bletchley Park codebreaker Joan Wingfield, whose task was deciphering Italian Naval codes. She had spent some time in Italy in the 1930s and was a cryptographer. Her war work was not discussed at home and it is thanks to her daughter that the Christmas card has come to light. She believes that the card must have been special to her mother as she was not one for saving sentimental items. 

Wingfield met her husband at the Bletchley Park facility and was recommended for the post of codebreaker by her uncle, the spy Claude Henderson, whose own copy of the photograph was saved without the Christmas wishes from Evelyn Sinclair. Codebreakers, such as Joan Wingfield, are estimated to have shortened the war by two years and saved thousands of lives.

Historians are excited about the discovery as very little is known about certain aspects of Bletchley Park as the people who worked there were naturally reticent to talk. Which does imply that they were perfect candidates for the job!

If you’d like to read about another codebreaker, Alan Turing, click here. 


17 thoughts on “In the News: Lost Bletchley Park Christmas Card Found

      1. I don’t normally watch dramas – but I found it quite gripping and because it is based on a true story that is still quite a mystery I found it quite enthralling.


      2. I would recommend it for the story is fascinating in many ways. One of my colleagues is a friend of Ruth’s so it has been of great interest to hear about the situation her family have had to come to terms with.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. We saw her on The One Show so it was within our radar, but I’ve not been paying a lot of attention to TV as been punishing myself with #Blogmas!!! I’m on a 16 day streak – I can hardly believe it!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Possibly. Although the authority of the head of MI6’s wife to do that could be open to question. Essentially, it’s a seemingly inoccuous photograph of a garden party, however, those attending were spies and codebreakers who would work on a special project as the world headed into World War Two.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I find this stuff fascinating! I really want to visit Bletchley Park, it would be really interesting to learn more about what happened there. I just can’t imagine what it must have been like to live through those times.

    Liked by 1 person

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