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Author Topic: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S  (Read 12265 times)

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Geoff B

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Re: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2012, 20:15:18 »
Thats right Paul he was a genius. Initially Bletchley didnt want to know and he started building it anyway with valves. Him and Alan Turing did a magnificent job with Collosus..

Offline Paul

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Re: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2012, 19:47:36 »
Great Sutff :)

Tommy Flowers never seems to get mentioned a lot :(

Ive worked in the room where he researched it and put it all together at Dollis Hill...

Theres a Road named after Him there now :)
Maybe it's big horse I'm a Londoner. :{

Geoff B

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Re: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2012, 15:49:24 »
My pleasure to help Cliveh.

I have read much about Bletchley Park its a fascinating story and stunning.

Glad to hear your good news. I hope its all pieced together nicely for you now.

Offline cliveh

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Re: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2012, 15:36:50 »
Thanks for adding this excellent info to the thread Geoff B.

Since I started the thread I've visited Jenny and her husband at their home. They made me very welcome and it was fascinating to hear first hand from Jenny about her memories of the Station. Prompted by my post they have been in touch with Bletchley Park and GCHQ and she has now received a commemorative badge and a certificate signed by the Prime Minister from BP and a brooch medal from GCHQ in honour of her wartime service. She has also been granted the Freedom of Bletchley Park.

cliveh

Geoff B

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Re: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2012, 15:16:42 »
The ticker tapes were taken from Knockholt to Bletchley and then connected up to the Collosus. The tweaked a few settings on Collosus  as to what they think the wheel settings were for the message and ran the tape it would print out up to 5000 letters per minute. They then went over the printouts looking for German words and read the message.. If it was wrong tweak some more settings and run it again. German reports had the same format so they could sometimes guess for a weather report it could be no change that got them a few letters and bang they were off decoding the whole message.




I hope that explains what happened to the tapes after leaving Knockholt. There is a picture of the Collosus with the Wrens setting the machine up and the tape on the reel on the Bletchley park website..Here is my picture of it with tapes on the wheels that came from Knockholt. The people at Knockholt would have no idea what they were working on.

Fish code was a Very senior Nazi officials Secret service code.possibly with the deception plan attacking Calais instead of landing in Normandy. Had the Germans taken the bait. They were hoping to get confirmation off of these codes I understand Fish was one route to find out. :)This collosus machine was rebuilt and works even today at Bletchley.

Geoff B

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Re: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2012, 13:53:17 »
Excellent story on Knockholt. The teleprinter traffic was for the German Secret service traffic as well.
Thanks to Knockholt it was like having a man in Hitlers bunker.

Teleprinter code ticker tapes had squares and holes covered in which gave off the letter. It was like a binary code. A painstaking job to type out one mistake could cause the whole message to be wrong or undecoded. The ticker tape can be viewed down the left hand side of Bletchley Park,s website.  Each letter has 6 combinations going across the tape some blank some punched this gave the value of the letter. For this to work the codebreakers had to know the wheelsettings of the machine at the start of the transmissions. The wheels turned around changing the letters and sending out a code. If you typed A in the machine could never be the same on the sent out signal, A could not be A.

There were over 64 million combinations this machine could send out in. An amazing feat for
our codebreakers. The Germans thought it was unbreakable and were careless thats how we got into the codes. They had no idea we could read their messages.


Knockholt, Ft Bridgewoods and Bletchley Park was so secretive it had to be. Only recently has this been declassified and people can talk about this. 

It was as a result the first computer in this country was made. it was called Collosus. Alan Turing a mathematics professor at Bletchley Park worked out what the German teleprinter could and could not do and with the help of help of the Post Office built this computer. The German teleprinter coding machine was called the Tunny. Bletchley Park had not seen one until after the war.
 
Here is a link to Bletchley Park which is an excellent place to visit.The codebreakers are there and take you around explaining it all.

  http://www.bletchleypark.org.uk/content/museum1.rhtm


A link to cross reference Fort Bridgewoods is below as this was the other station in Kent involved in codebreaking linked to Bletchley Park.

http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=1698.msg113707#msg113707 


Regarding the fish names they were codenames for different parts of the German Military codes . for example shark was the german u boat code. So this operator would be listening to that.

add luftwaffe,railways, army,secret service would all have a different fish name allocated. some were colour codes as well,purple. red . etc

It was so secretive people in the same huts didnt know what the next room was working on. recently a reunion at Bletchley a husband and wife were sitting together both didnt know the other had been working in the same place until the reunion.

Offline cliveh

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Re: Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2011, 09:47:21 »
Since I started this thread I've been contacted by a gentleman whose wife worked at the Ivy Farm Station during the war.

She was able to correct my posting saying that the ATS staff did not appear on station until late in the war and that most of the personnel were Civil Service civilians.

She has also taken the trouble to type out some of her memories of her work from over 66 years ago. Her husband is so pleased as prior to this she has never spoken about her war work even to him! They have very kindly given me permission to post these memories on the Forum:




A fascinating insight, I'm sure you'll all agree. Great also to see the pub they used for lunch was the same pub I used in the 1970's & 80's that I mentioned in my first post.

My sincere thanks to Mel Stockdale for getting in touch with me and of course to his wife Jenny for sharing her memories with us.

cliveh

Offline cliveh

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Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound - G.C.W.S
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2011, 08:48:08 »
I've just started reading a book on GCHQ and found, indicated on a map in the preface, this place which grabbed my attention as I used to drink in a pub just a stones throw away back in the 1970's and yet never heard of it's existence until now. There seems to be very little information about the place on the internet but what I've managed to find I've cobbled together below:


Ivy Farm, Knockholt Pound in the village of Knockholt, on the North Downs near Sevenoaks,  was a Government Communications Wireless Station (GCWS) during the Second World War. It was an out-station of Bletchley Park and acted as the Radio Intercept Station for non-morse radio traffic (known as "FISH").

Purchased in May 1942 from the local MP, Sir Waldren Smithers, it was staffed by the ATS housed in the farm house, cottage and nissen huts. It was semi-operational by mid 1942 but not fully complete until later that year.

It also housed the Foreign Office Research and Development Establishment (FORDE) whose main task was the interception of German printer traffic and feeding the results back to Bletchley Park.

During the war it was headed by H C Kenworthy who, was the pre-War Head of the Metropolitan Police Sigint Station at Denmark Hill.

In June 1943 the Station was prepared to install a photo-facsimile intercept position and by 1945 had installed over 40 printer intercept positions.

I believe the Station remained operational until 1952-53 when FISH interception was moved to CSOS, Culmhead.


If anyone has any further information on this Station I'd be pleased to hear about it.

cliveh

 

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