Former WWII codebreaker from Bognor Regis still embracing technology to connect with loved ones during lockdown

A 100-year-old World War Two codebreaker who lives in Bognor Regis is using her lifelong love of technology to stay connected to her loved ones during Covid-19.
Enid Mary Wenban from Bognor RegisEnid Mary Wenban from Bognor Regis
Enid Mary Wenban from Bognor Regis

Enid Mary Wenban, a codebreaker first stationed at Bletchley Park as a 23-year-old, has been using Amazon Alexa devices to take part in voice and video calls with friends and family.

The centenarian, who lives in Aldwick’s Royal Garden residential home, turned to technology to solve a problem, in the same way she did when helping the Allied forces to defeat the Axis nations during the Second World War, when visits to care homes were stopped at the start of the pandemic.

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Enid said: “Technology has been a big part of my life and it’s wonderful to be able to use it once again to keep in touch with my friends and family.

“Being able to keep talking to people during the pandemic has been really uplifting and I’ve loved catching up with everyone in the outside world through the video chats.”

Julian Lindsell, from Royal Garden, said: “Even at 100 years old, Enid shows no signs of slowing down and remains open to learning new technology.

“In no time at all, she was using the hardware.

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

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She added: “As a care home owner, 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.”

At Bletchley Park, Enid’s team used methods that allowed the Allied forces to decipher the military codes and cyphers that secured the German and Japanese lines of communication, allowing the codebreakers to produce vital intelligence to support the Allied military operations on the land, sea and in the air.

Bletchley Park is 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.

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