2001 Buses Bletchley P.O FDC – signed by Bombe Operator Jean Valentine
Jean Rooke (nee Valentine), a wartime Bombe operator and a Bombe guide at Bletchley Park has died in Henley, Oxfordshire.
Born in Perth, Scotland, in 1924, Jean joined the WRNS in 1943 and was sent to Bletchley Park to operate the Bombe machines, created by Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, to find the key settings to the German Enigma cipher machines. Being four feet ten inches, Jean couldn’t reach the top rotors, so they built her a special footstool, something she would joke about even on her final visit to open the Bombe Gallery in The National Museum of Computing in May 2018.
After training on Japanese codes, Jean was posted to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) and there met her husband Clive, a Royal Navy seafire pilot.
Like almost everyone else, Jean had to keep silent about her work on the Bombe until the 1970s when the first details began to emerge in public. Thereafter, she was an enthusiastic visitor to reunions at Bletchley Park. She became a Bombe volunteer and acted as a Bombe guide for thousands of visitors. In 2011, she demonstrated the Bombe to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Code Breakers h/s