MAPPED: Five top secret World War 2 British intelligence bases hidden in houses across UK – News 24


 The intelligence agency ran more than 150 different clandestine sites nationwide over the last century which played a central role during World War 2 to outfox Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany  Top secret until now, GCHQ has declassified five of their former stations to mark the anniversary  They range from Ivy Farm, an isolated farmhouse in Kent, to 10 Chesterfield Street, a nondescript red brick Mayfair townhouse, a manor on top of the White Cliffs of Dover, and the Croft Spa listing huts on the Scarborough coast  This series of buildings formed a giant network of listening centres and analysis hubs to intercept messages from the German navy and airforce  One of the network’s most prestigious achievements came in the form of helping locate the German battleship known as the Bismarck, which was found in the Atlantic – a discovery that led to the sinking of the Nazi’s pride and joy on May 27, 1941  Speaking of the milestone, GCHQ historian Tony Comer said today: “That was a fantastic achievement because here you have one of the principal vessels of the German navy that was destroyed and it could not be replaced during the war   “By sinking the Bismarck, you’ve taken out a significant proportion of Germany’s possibility of being able to influence the war at sea   “It enabled the Royal Navy to get closer to being able to dominate the seaways, to allow convoys to sail the oceans safely  “Every time one of the main stations, like Scarborough would intercept a transmission from a German ship, they would be able to tell what direction the transmission was coming from  “That would be a single line of bearing and so a whole series of direction finding stations were built and each of these would take a look at every transmission that was intercepted at the main station  “By comparing the different lines of bearing from all of these stations, you could get an accurate fix of where the ship that was doing the transmission was by process of triangulation ” Mr Comer went on to explain the role of each station on the network.  He added: “The station at Croft Spa is really just a couple of small wooden huts and there were dozens of small stations like this around the county during the war  “It sounds like a very sort of tedious business but it was completely crucial. “If the Germans had guessed we were reading their secret messages they would have changed the way they encrypted them  “Nobody [who worked there] has ever talked about what they did outside.  “So many communities housed these secret sights without ever realising what was going on behind their wire fences ”   At Ivy Farm, in Knockholt, Kent, up to 100 men and women intercepted secret communications between Adolf Hitler and his field marshals  They investigated what is known as “noise” – a sound which does not carry human communications  The site also intercepted a fax for the first time, used by the Luftwaffe to reveal bomber squadron formations to the Japanese military so they could attack the US Air Force  Abbots Cliff House in Kent operated throughout the war where 50 female wireless operators intercepted VHF communications from Berlin  Hidden deep in the capital was 10 Chesterfield Street, an anonymous townhouse that is now home to the Bahamas High Commission  This location was used long after the Nazis were defeated by more than 60 members of staff investigating Soviet spies during the Cold War  Today,GCHQ has just four sites that it publicly declares – its doughnut HQ in Cheltenham, listening posts in Bude and Scarborough, and the National Cyber Security Centre in London  Boris Johnson has led the tributes to the silent spies on the services 100th birthday  He said: “GCHQ has been home to some of the brightest people in the country who quietly, and without fanfare, work day and night to keep us safe  “The Centenary provides an opportunity to recognise their enormous contribution to the security of the UK and I thank them for all that they do ”  GCHQ’s Director Jeremy Fleming said: “For GCHQ, it has been a century of shortening wars, saving lives and giving the UK a technical edge  “Our centenary is a chance to celebrate those achievements and to thank those men and women who have given themselves to this work ”

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