1. Bletchley Park National Codes Centre To Host Centenary Events

    By Matt Weston on 2008-02-18

    007 Magazine today highlights two more events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of James Bond creator, Ian Fleming.

    Both events will be held at Bletchley Park National Codes Centre.

    “From Bletchley, With Love” will feature a range of activities to celebrate the author’s life and legacy. The full press release follows.

    From Bletchley, With Love – Ian Fleming Birth Centenary, ‘Operation Ruthless’ and the Real James Bonds of Bletchley Park

    On 25 August 2008 Bletchley Park will be celebrating the Centenary of the Birth of Ian Fleming and his famous wartime connection with Bletchley Park with a whole host of Spy and Double Agent Activities, Talks and Exhibitions.

    The ‘Falling Rocks’ RAF Parachute Display Team will be making a spectacular descent into the Park – James Bond style; visitors will be dazzled by the largest display of Aston Martins Bletchley has ever seen and will get the opportunity to be photographed with the Vanquish featured in Die Another Day.

    Amongst lots of other exciting exhibitions will be the original intercepted decrypts from World War Two German Secret Service messages about their ‘spies’ in Britain, some genuine ‘Suitcase’ Spy-Sets used by the real British spies in World War Two and a brand new exhibition featuring the real Double Agents of World War Two.

    Activities for the event will include Spy Workshops and Spy Trails along with James Bond type model speedboats on the Lake. One of the featured Talks will be a fascinating account from Michael Smith, Military Correspondent for the Daily Telegraph and author of ‘Station X’; ‘Emperor’s Codes’; ‘Action This Day’ and ‘The British Spies – the Real James Bonds’, explaining the links between Ian Fleming, Bletchley Park and MI6.

    To support this event and to celebrate the Centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth Bletchley Park Post Office is issuing a superb First Day Cover based on the original Fleming documents detailing “Operation Ruthless” and Royal Mail’s James Bond Stamp Issue, launched on 8 January 2008.

    Ian Fleming and Bletchley Park

    By 1940 the greatest threat to the Allies was U-boat attacks on North Atlantic convoys. If the Allies could discover in advance where U-boat packs were assembling, they could direct convoys away from them. The German Naval Enigma was not being broken, therefore it was essential that current German Naval Enigma material should be captured from their ships.

    On 12 September 1940, Lieutenant Commander Ian Fleming RNVR, Personal Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence, concocted an extraordinary plan to crash-land a captured German plane in the English channel and overpower the patrol boat crew that came to rescue its “survivors”, thereby gaining access to Enigma materials.

    Fleming’s proposal, Codename ‘Operation Ruthless’ was as follows;-


    I suggest we obtain the loot by the following means:

    1. Obtain from Air Ministry an air-worthy German bomber.
    2. Pick a tough crew of five, including a pilot, W/T operator and word-perfect German speaker. Dress them in German Air Force uniform, add blood and bandages to suit.
    3. Crash plane in the Channel after making S.O.S. to rescue service.
    4. Once aboard rescue boat, shoot German crew, dump overboard, bring rescue boat back to English port.

    In order to increase the chances of capturing an R. or M. (R äumboot – a small minesweeper; Minensuchboot – a large minesweeper) with its richer booty, the crash might be staged in mid-Channel. The Germans would presumably employ one of this type for the longer and more hazardous journey.

    Ian Fleming later added other details to the plan:

    N.B. Since attackers will be wearing enemy uniform, they will be liable to be shot as franc-tireurs if captured, and incident might be fruitful field for propaganda. Attackers’ story will therefore be “that it was done for a lark by a group of young hot-heads who thought the war was too tame and wanted to have a go at the Germans. They had stolen plane and equipment and had expected to get into trouble when they got back”. This will prevent suspicions that party was after more valuable booty than a rescue boat.

    Fleming added that the pilot should be a ‘tough bachelor able to swim’; and that a German-speaker would also be needed to travel on the bomber. He put his own name forward.

    ‘Operation Ruthless’ was quickly given the go-ahead; a plane and crew were procured and Fleming travelled down to Dover to put it into practice. However, to the deep frustration of the Bletchley Park Codebreakers, the plan was abandoned due to the lack of suitable German boats operating at night.

    Frank Birch, Head of German Naval Section at Bletchley Park lamented that “Turing and Twinn (both key Codebreakers at Bletchley Park) came to me like undertakers cheated of a nice corpse … all in a stew about the cancellation of Operation Ruthless”. It now seemed that only the Naval equivalent of a miracle would enable the Codebreakers to break into Naval Enigma but the prolific genius of Ian Fleming for writing spy plots had been born.

    The second event, details for which are forthcoming, will be a family event based on Ian Fleming’s classic children’s tale, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

    Keep watching for the most up-to-date James Bond news on the web.