Series 1 - Episode 2

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Ann follows the experiences of her uncle, Donald Widdecombe, who was an army chaplain with Field Marshall Montgomery’s 8th Army. A Baptist vicar before the war, Donald volunteered for army service. After two weeks’ basic training he joined the Queen’s Royal Regiment, an active unit. As the war in the Western Desert reached its climax, Donald was sent to the Middle East. He arrived just as the tide was turning against Erwin Rommel’s Afrika Korps. In the unforgiving climate of the desert, he saw action at the decisive battle of El Alamein. Ann follows in her uncle’s footsteps and discovers what an army padre would have endured in combat.

Quentin attempts to uncover what exactly his father, Bernard Willson, did during the war – he knows he was at Bletchley Park but, because his father strictly adhered to the Official Secrets Act, beyond that very little else. His quest takes him from Cambridge University, where he learns his father was a star linguist, to Bletchley Park – the heart of British code-breaking during the Second World War. Here Quentin discovers the key role his father played in breaking a vital enemy cipher, an achievement that would have a direct impact on the course of the war.

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