The Old Parsonage, a Brendoncare care home in Otterbourne, hosted a very special ceremony to honour one of its residents for her work before and during the Second World War.
Diana Fawkes, who is 101 years old, was presented with the Bletchley Park Commemorative Badge, certificate and the Freedom of Bletchley Park on 23 July, in a small ceremony attended by family and staff, conducted by Jonathan Byrne, an Oral History Officer for the Bletchley Park Trust.
Diana is the eldest daughter of Wing Commander Graham Weir and his wife Mamie, who had a long association with the Brendoncare home, having donated a wing to the care home some years previously. Her service began even before the start of the Second World War, when she was recruited as a secretary and assistant to Dilly Knox, head of Cryptography at GC & CS (later named GCHQ), who was already working to crack the Enigma code in 1938.
Later that year, Diana was part of one of the first teams to move from offices in London to the newly acquired Bletchley Park, where she remembers the beautiful lawns being dug up to build the now famous huts. Diana worked with Dilly Knox on schemes to decipher the Enigma Code, and used her fluent German to translate messages.When presented with her award, Diana said: “There were 1,500 Wrens there at the same time as me – why am I so special?”
Bletchley representative Jonathan Byrne told us: “Diana’s story is so special because she is one of the few people we have met who was there before the war began, and was one of the first people to move into Bletchley.”