Codebreaker Jean Watters funeral CREDIT Associated Press
News

Enigma Codebreaker Buried In US With UK Military Honours

A 92-year-old woman who helped break the Enigma code during the Second World War has been buried in the US with UK military honours.

Codebreaker Jean Watters funeral CREDIT Associated Press

Pallbearers move the casket of Jean Watters for her funeral (Picture: Associated Press).

A 92-year-old woman who helped break the Enigma code during the Second World War has been buried in the US with UK military honours.

Jean Briggs Watters, who died on 15 September, had kept her role in the decoding of the Enigma code a secret for decades.

Ms Watters' coffin was draped with the Union Jack flag during her funeral on Monday.

She was among the around 10,000 people, mostly women, who took part in the Allied effort to crack German communication codes throughout the war.

Ms Watters operated an electro-mechanical machine, known as a 'Bombe', to decrypt signals the German armed forces sent out from their Enigma encryption machines.

The decoding was carried out at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, which played a pivotal role in ending the War - however, the programme was kept classified until the 1970s.

The Turing Bombe machine at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire (Picture: PA).
The Turing Bombe machine at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire (Picture: PA).

Ms Watters' son, Robin, said: "She never told anyone.

"She was fully aware of the gravity of what she was doing. It was haunting to her, what might happen if she made a mistake."

Ms Watters was 18-years-old when she signed up to the Women's Royal Naval Service.

She had previously attended an art school in Cambridge before joining the war effort.

She met her husband, a US Army Air Corps pilot named John Watters, during the war and they married soon after. The couple retired to the US in 1969.

Ms Watters was buried Monday in a plot next to her husband, who died in June at the age of 101.

Robin Watters said: "She had a seriousness and a sense of duty.

"She was a really special lady. But she was tough. She did the hard things."

The funeral honoured Ms Watters for her role decoding the top-secret military programme which was led by Alan Turing.

Tags