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Customer Review

82 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Human and Personal Story of Y-Service, 12 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: The Secret Listeners: How the Y Service Intercepted the German Codes for Bletchley Park (Hardcover)
I bought this book because I really enjoyed the author's previous one on Bletchley Park.

Like the last one, it is beautifully human and makes you realise all the extraordinary things people did for their country with such quiet dignity and without fuss or fanfare. The last book focussed on the lives of the people code-breaking at Bletchley park, but this one is about the men and women who were scattered around the world listening in on German communications and meticulously transcribing (and sometimes decoding) the messages to send back to Blecthley (often while also batting away incendiary bombs!).

It's only in recent years that the men and women of the 'Y-Service' (as they were called) have been allowed to talk about their time serving their nation, and it is amazing how humble they are and how woefully un-sung their praises have been. This is a riveting account of the lives of real people.

If you're after a meticulously researched history of the Y-Service then this won't be the book for you, but if like me you like to read the real stories of the people who lived the war and their first-hand stories of what they did, what it was like and how it changed their lives, then this is as good as any I've read.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 27 Nov 2013 21:16:07 GMT
A. A. Smith says:
I agree that the major interest is to see these events through the eyes of the people who experienced them. A similar book titled "The Coder Special Archive" which was published in 2012 relates the little-known story of the Royal Naval contingent of Russian linguist national servicemen who were trained in the Russian language and then maintained round the clock eavesdropping on the Soviet military radio voice traffic throughout the 1950's. They worked in listening stations in Germany and at other locations on the edge of Soviet territory. This book also tells the story using the experiences spoken by the participants. The RN contingent was just part of the major M.O.D. program to train 5000 services linguists in the decade of the 50's.
The Coder Special Archive: The Untold Story of Naval National Servicemen Learning and Using Russian During the Cold War

Posted on 24 Dec 2014 10:50:56 GMT
Y cox says:
Both my parents were at Knockolt doing similar work to those at Bletchley, so i think i will find this book fascinating. If you have anymore recommendations i would be very grateful as i am trying to fill in the blanks.
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