My mother, whose name is on the Bletchley Park Roll of Honour for those who worked in Signals Intelligence during the War, was selected to march past Buckingham Palace on VE Day 1945.
She was posted to HMS Flowerdown as a Morse operator soon after her 18th birthday and listened to German and Italian radio messages from Libya and the Mediterranean. She took down code words for alphabet and cipher for numbers; the hardest part was mid sentence at the end of the page when she had to move the carbon paper and cardboard (everything was recorded in triplicate) without missing a letter. She reported “Benghazi Gone!” when it was re-captured by the 8th Army in November 1942.
By May 1945, she had moved to HMS Hornbill and after Victory in Europe, she volunteered for overseas work, sailing to Colombo on the SS Athlone Castle before working in Bombay (Mumbai) for ten months. In 1946, she deployed to South Africa on the aircraft carrier HMS Vindex, joining a female officer and a nurse, whose floor she slept on rather than being alone in a 20 bunk cabin!