From Code Breaker to (Video) Call Maker

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Enid WenbanFrom Code Breaker to (Video) Call Maker – How one centenarian is using Amazon’s Alexa device to keep in touch with her family during the challenges of Covid-19.

For those of you who may not be familiar with the story, Bletchley Park was once the top-secret home of the World War Two Codebreakers, who are widely acknowledged as being one of the key reasons why the Allies managed to defeat the Axis nations.

Devising methods that allowed the Allied forces to decipher the military codes and cyphers that secured the German and Japanese lines of communication, produced vital intelligence to support the Allied military operations on the land, sea, and in air.

Bletchley Park is also heralded as the birthplace of the information age with the introduction of the codebreaking processes enabled by machines such as the Turing/Welchman Bombe and the world’s first electronic computer, Colossus.

Alexa is helping to keep families connected

Enid Mary Wenban was one of those Bletchley Park heroes and as she celebrates her 100th birthday, still recalls what it was like to be a 23-year-old enlisted by the government to break German codes.

“I’ll never forget those days and it was incredible to finally hear the war was over when, whilst at my listening station in the spring of 1945, I intercepted a message of surrender from a U-boat in plain, unencrypted German!

“It was a huge relief and a feeling of enormous pride to know that we had helped to defeat Hitler.”

Today she is turning her hand to new technology, using Amazon’s Echo Show to communicate with her relatives.

Said care homeowner, Julian Lindsell, “Even at 100 years old, Enid shows no signs of slowing down and remains open to learning new technology with the minimum of fuss. We set her up with an Alexa device, thanks to the Show Me Space program that our tech partners, The Digital Line (TDL) provided, and in time at all she was using the hardware to speak to her family and friends around the world.

“It just goes to illustrate that when trying to understand technology if you approach things logically, whether it’s a 1940s code-breaking system or the latest state-of-the-art, voice-activated technology, age is never a barrier.”

During the worst stages of lockdown, after the first phase outbreak, care homes, in particular, were hard hit and continue to be at risk as the second spike of the virus begins to take hold, with the approach of winter.

“As a care homeowner, the welfare of my residents is my primary responsibility and I will do anything and everything to keep those residents safe. With care home visits likely to be impacted by a second spike of the virus, we need to do all that we can to keep residents connected with their families. They cherish this time with their loved ones and the absence of any defined connection means they suffer. TDL and the Show Me Spaces initiative allow Enid and many of the other residents the ability to connect with their families, even if we return to a full lockdown.

“We have been hugely impressed by the various technology initiatives TDL has brought and continues to bring to our home, all to the benefit of our residents.”

If you would like more information on The Show Me Spaces or any of the other Digital Line programs then please visit our site at




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Ben Whittaker

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