Veterans

Bletchley Park Translator Presented With Legion D'Honneur

Betty Webb MBE deciphered vital information about Nazi defensive plans in France prior to D-Day.

Ninety-eight-year-old Betty Webb has been presented with the Legion D'Honneur for her work at Bletchley Park intercepting Nazi messages which provided a mass of vital information about Hitler's defensive plans in France prior to D-Day.

The ceremony took place in Birmingham in the presence of the French Honorary Consul, Ms Cécile Le Duff. 

Health Secretary Sajid Javid, who is also MP for Bromsgrove where Betty is a constituent, congratulated her in a video recording which was shared during the ceremony, saying: "Betty has led a remarkable life and contributed so much to our country and freedom in Europe.

“I am honoured to call Betty my friend and we are all very proud of her fantastic achievement."

After she was presented with the award, Mrs Webb said she was "absolutely honoured".

"It is very important to me, not just as a person but as a member of the Bletchley Park team," she said.

The French Embassy's Air and Space Attaché, Colonel Patrick Bryant, presented Mrs Webb with France's highest honour and said: "This medal is our humble recognition of her commitment to fighting against the Nazis and the role she played in the Liberation of France. An act of courage that shall not be forgotten.

"Since 2014, France has awarded the Légion d’Honneur to more than 6,000 British veterans in recognition of their sacrifice and participation in the Liberation of France," he added.

Betty Webb MBE During the War
Betty was stationed at Bletchley Park at the age of 18 (Picture: Webb Family).

Charlotte 'Betty' Webb joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service at the age of 18 and was stationed at Bletchley Park, the famous codebreaking arm of the British intelligence services.

The information she deciphered enabled the Allies to considerably improve their knowledge of Nazi defence systems in the run-up to the Normandy Landings.

She then moved to the department responsible for intercepting Japanese messages, before leaving for the United States to support the Pacific War effort.

On joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service, the women's branch of the British Army at the time, Mrs Webb signed the Official Secrets Act, which prevented her from talking about her work at Bletchley Park until 1975.

Mrs Webb has written her memoirs and has also been awarded an MBE for her services.

Cover image: The French Embassy's Air and Space Attaché, Colonel Patrick Bryant, presented Betty Webb with the Legion D'Honneur.