We have had dry but cold weather. Ideal for walking! I have a couple of longer walks planned to the weekend to should complete the walking part of the challenge with some time to spare for the final codebreaking.
Operation Bletchley is raising money for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, the National Charity of the British Army and you can make a real difference. Established amongst the planning for D-Day in 1944, the charity was created to ensure that every soldier, veteran and family member in need receives the help they require.
You can contribute by sponsoring me: https://events.soldierscharity.org/fundraisers/RuthWillmore/operation-bletchley-balkans The codes will be available to purchase once the challenge has finished too.
Stories below are all courtesy of Operation Bletchley and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, not my own work.
Berlin : 40 Miles
28 miles – Cut Off
Today’s mission took meto the Villa Schöningen, close to the Glienicke Brücke. It’s being used as a hospital for Soviet soldiers, so I had to paddle by boat across the Tiefer See once more to infiltrate the Soviet zone. Spotting a patrol up ahead, I diverted down the river Havel to avoid detection and moored up in the shadows of the riverbank.
After travelling the last few miles to the villa on foot, I bribed the guards with a bottle of vodka and made my way to the rendezvous. I found my contact in the laundry room, her small child in a cot beside her. She was the British widow of a Luftwaffe officer who died in North Africa in 1942. She’s desperate to get back to England, but the blockade has cut her off from British troops.
Knowing I’m her only hope, I waited until nightfall before rowing her to the Western zone. Back at HQ, she explained details of an outbreak of disease among the Soviets. The Western allies will need to keep it at bay if they’re to successfully get supplies to Germans in the East.
As I parted ways with the refugee, I was given an important coded message from one of the 903 FSS’s agents.
|Day 17||17th January 2022||1.54 miles walked|
|Day 18||18th January 2022||2.17 miles walked|
|Day 19||19th January 2022||1.5 miles walked|
|Day 20||20th January 2022||1.42 miles walked|
33.11 miles walked 6.89 miles to go
|8||not yet received||not yet received||not yet received|
|9||not yet received||not yet received||not yet received|
|10||not yet received||not yet received||not yet received|
The Balkans : 80 Miles
64 miles – Soviet Inteference
I set off in a hurry the next morning, refreshed after a good night’s sleep. It was another clear day, so I kept my head down to avoid Girbergsjager troops who had been reported enroute in Kupres.
When I arrived in Šemenovci, I was met by the local partisan leader. His group is on the Nazis’ elite troops’ line of attack. Our initial discussions are cold at best. It transpires that a Soviet military mission has become chummy with the group, and the partisan’s political commissar is aggressively anti-British.
Luckily, I had an ace in the hole: the British radio recovered from Todorići. So I quickly organized a drop of arms and ammunition from the British base on the island of Bari – a promise the Soviet’s couldn’t match.
I explained the hostile atmosphere in Šemenovci to my contact on the radio. They offered directions to a friendly hamlet nearby. On arrival, I had lunch with a fellow SOE agent who shared similar experiences of Šemenovci. He directed me to a British Major in Pribeja, codenamed Fungus. He also handed me a coded message to solve.
72 Miles – Devastation
My day got off to a shaky start. As I set off from the hamlet near Šemenovci, I was buzzed by a Nazi Fieseler Fi 156 Storch reconnaissance aircraft. Luckily, I had my weapon and radio out of sight. And since I was dressed as a peasant and walking among a small goat herd, the aircraft didn’t bother passing for a third look.
It was a harrowing walk to Pribeja. I passed through a razed village where every building was burnt or blown to smithereens. The winter sun gave the spine-tingling horrors nowhere to hide. I hurried on to Pribeja, where I was met by a British Major, codenamed Fungus, of the Inter Service Liaison Department. He had been providing intel about bomb raid targets until his radio was destroyed in an air raid. So I handed over that radio I recovered from the SOE agent in Todorići.
After sharing his intel on the radio, Fungus handed me a large package. It contained his full, coded report and a reel of photographic film that I need to take to the UK for processing. He said the airstrip near Opačić is my best bet, but the journey won’t be easy.
When I opened the package to take a closer look at the report, you found a coded message to solve.
|Day 17||17th January 2022||4.44 miles walked|
|Day 18||18th January 2022||3.73 miles walked|
|Day 19||19th January 2022||4.47 miles walked|
|Day 20||20th January 2022||3.26 miles walked|
75.47 miles walked 4.53 miles to go
|2||Solved||Solved||Mum got it!|
|10||not yet received||not yet received||not yet received|
The end is in sight with the walking, I hadn’t realised that over half of my steps come from “incidental” walking rather than my daily walk and Pokemon Go playing. Those Balkans Cypher Expert codes are really difficult this time. Apparently there is a Super-Cypher at the end too!
Pharos Intermediate Certificate I passed the one of the two final courses for the certificate, Military Records with a pass at 73% and I’m now just wating for my marks for Victorian Crime and Punishment. Strathclyde’s Post Graduate Certificate in Genealogy, Heraldry and Palaeography I intend to spend some of the summer catching up on […]
In the end I walked over 110 miles in January, including a couple of walks over three miles. I have seen starling murmurations, and wandered around both Criccieth and Porthmadog. I have caught plenty of Pokemon, and seen signs of spring. The Fundraising You can sponsor me until the end of February 2022. https://events.soldierscharity.org/fundraisers/RuthWillmore/operation-bletchley-balkans If […]
I carried on walking, after all I still have Pokemon to catch, and Stepbet and Waybetter challenges to make. It has been a busy week – a new job, assignments due for Strathclyde and two Pharos courses… I did fit in a bit of codebreaking, and the weekend diary is cleared to finish the mission. […]