Alison Robins

Last Surviving Bletchley Park 'Listener' Dies Aged 97

Alison Robins

The last surviving Bletchley Park 'listener' who intercepted and passed Nazi messages on to Allied codebreakers at Bletchley Park has died.

Alison Robins, 97, taught herself Morse code and German during World War Two and stayed up all night eavesdropping messages from U-boats around the British coast.

The Second World War Wren told her children: "Anyone who thinks black coffee keeps you awake is wrong.

"The only thing that keeps you awake is the thought that if you fall asleep people will die".

Turing Bombe machine Bletchley Park
Alison was tasked with passing on messages to Station X - later identified as Bletchley Park. Image: PA.

She rarely spoke about her wartime years, that were spent in isolated points around the coastline, intercepting messages from enemy fleets, after teaching herself both Morse code and German.

Alison's daughter believes it was the most exciting time of her mother's life.

Jill Hazell said: "She was the last one left - very few had Morse code and German, there were only a handful of them.

"I think she must have been quite intelligent - she left school with almost nothing.

"They kept to the Official Secrets Act - even after the Bletchley Park film came out. She didn't talk about it."

Alison Robins SWNS
Alison taught herself Morse code to change from her stewardess role in the wrens. Image: SWNS.

Alison's husband Maurice also spoke German and was sent there after the war to do translating work ahead of the Nuremberg Trials.

When he returned, the couple started their own reconciliation process by bringing the German POWs who worked at the bottom of their garden cups of tea, and inviting them for lunch.

Jill said: "It was very practical - my parents went to talk to them, I think that was a really important part of the post-war period for them.

"My mother was lovely - we all adored her."

Alison died on October 15 at a Bristol nursing home, where she was being cared for after suffering from dementia.

Cover image: SWNS.