Colossus veteran recalls end of war in Europe

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Joanna Chorley, veteran Colossus operator in Block H, recalls the end of the war in Europe. In fact she knew it was over even before VE Day, which was 70 years ago today.

"Germany was falling. I think we knew it at least a week before anyone else," she told Tessa Dunlop for her book The Bletchley Girls published in January of this year.

"Somebody came into the room and yelled, 'It's over! It's over!' There weren't many of us on the shift but when we heard this we grabbed the nearest things to hand - loo rolls - and ran outside to decorate a tree. We were throwing the paper up into the branches when a top boss ran out and shouted, 'What are you doing! This is dreadful! Shut up! Go back to work!'" There were only half a dozen of us but we got into an awful lot of trouble."

The toilet-roll adorned tree is no longer there (it used to stand the area where the Block H car park is today), but we're delighted to say that Joanna is alive and well, full of great stories and a frequent visitor to TNMOC. She came to the launch of the Colossus stamp in February (see photo) and we hope to see her again soon.

Some of her other stories and those of other women who worked at Bletchley can be found in Tessa Dunlop's highly readable The Bletchley Girls.

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