Margaret Sale: keeping the memory of WWII codebreakers alive for 25 years

Margaret sale at the entrance to the Colossus gallery at The National Museum of Computing
Margaret sale at the entrance to the Colossus gallery at The National Museum of Computing

This week marks the 25th anniversary of the Save Bletchley Park Campaign. The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) is paying tribute to all campaigners, especially Margaret Sale who has given 25 years of service ensuring the memory of the Second World War codebreakers.

 

Sale, a trustee of The National Museum of Computing, was an eager helper at the reunion of codebreakers on 19 October 1991. She became involved because her late husband, Tony Sale, had been seconded from the Science Museum to the Bletchley Archaeological and Historical Society to help organise the reunion.

 

“That weekend in 1991 was a hugely memorable occasion, initially planned to capture and record memories, but ending with a call by those who attended to save the Bletchley Park estate for posterity,” Margaret recalled.

 

By coincidence, the opening of Bletchley Park to the public was on 5 February 1994, a date not then realised to be exactly 50 years after Colossus had attacked its first Lorenz message. Margaret was one of the first guides.

 

The first model exhibition of Colossus was staged in the old teleprinter hall and was declared “Britain's Best Kept Secret”. Tony Sale's Colossus rebuild became a world-famous symbol of Bletchley Park.

 

“Margaret Sale's service to the Park has continued from 1991 uninterrupted to this day. Her service to Bletchley Park and the memory of the codebreakers is truly inestimable,” said Kevin Murrell, a TNMOC trustee.

 

“Without their work, Bletchley Park would not be recognised as the home of Colossus, nor would its vital wartime achievement of breaking Lorenz messages be acknowledged. It provides educational opportunities and inspiration for all ages, at a time of growing artificial intelligence,” said Irene Dixon, veteran operator of the very first Colossus.


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