Friday 9th October 12.00 noon
Pershore Hospital, Civic Centre, Pershore.
Wendy and I, with Jack Hegarty, Managing Director of WDC, and the Mayor of Pershore, had the pleasure of attending the presentation of a commemorative badge to Mrs Jean Perrin, one of the last surviving ‘Dilly Girls’. Also present were a number of Mrs Perrins relatives. The presentation was made by Mr Michael Brinton, Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire.
Mr Michael Brinton, Lord Lieutenant of Worcestershire, presented Mrs Jean Perrins, with a Commemorative Badge on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government, for her work at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
The following has been supplied by her relative, Sir John Lushington, covering her career during the war years.
Born November1921 Jean Hazlerigg, a niece of the then Lord Hazlerigg.
Whilst head girl at her school near Bognor Regis was invited by a former pupil to join her in her job. This was the way they recruited the assistants.
1940 January – went to Room 42 Home Office (official address for Bletchley Park)
1940 March joined Bletchley Park. Introduced to Professor Turing as his ‘new assistant’, with three or four others. At that time just 100 working at BP.
Enigma machine being dismantled at this time.
Moved to Hut 6 her work was with large perforated sheets (Zygalski Sheets – a Polish invention) – lining them up so that rods could be passed through (rodding).
Then worked with Dillys Knocks – she is one of the last two surviving Dilly’s Girls
Part of the team who broke the Italian Codes, by using the rodding system, which broke the Italian message which told the Allies where the Italian Fleet were and thus helped the Allies to win the Battle of Matapan .
Worked on the Abwehr Enigma machine to break the codes for German spies. Almost all were captured as a result
Worked on the Bombe machines as a crypt analyst. Jean was assigned to work on preparing menus for the Bombes, being placed in charge of three machines.
She was attached to the Italian message breakers. One night Jean received a very long message and was asked break the message. This she successfully completed before dawn. She had broken a code that the Italians had spent three months in fruitless attempts.
At the end of the war Churchill and the head of GCHQ, Commander Travis, came to visit BP. They drove round the complex –in Jean’s words “two rather portly gentlemen – they looked like Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dum !”
After the War Jean continued to work for GCHQ, firstly at Eastcote and then Cheltenham.
She met her husband Kenneth Perrin at BP, was married in 1947 and retired shortly afterwards.
NB There is a transcript of a taped interview held at Worcestershire Record Office, from which I have gleaned most of the above.
It is only in the last few years that the BP staff were released from their secrecy pledge. After that Jean gave some talks on her time to local groups.
Jean Perrin with me and the Mayor and Mayoress of Pershore
A very enjoyable ceremony, with much jollity from the invited guests.
With thanks to Christine Jefferson, Pershore Hospital for supplying the photographs for this post.