8th March 2022 – AGM & Special Communications Units

  • AGM
  • Brian Stainton OBE – Whaddon Hall and the Special Communications Units

A story seldom told

This talk tells the little-known history of the Special Communications Units of the Second World War. It covers the technology, the people who created and used it and the places they worked.

The SCUs worked closely with Bletchley Park and it is fair to say that their work deserves the same degree of recognition for the contribution they made.

Formed in 1938 to provide secure intelligence communications, the charismatic Richard Gambier-Parry grew the initial team of eight wireless operators into a large organisation providing staff and technical support across a wide range of different fields.

In addition to their initial task, this included communications for agents working behind enemy lines, the worldwide distribution of the ULTRA intelligence from Bletchley Park, the interception of enemy intelligence communications and the broadcasting of ‘Black Propaganda’ into occupied Europe.

The talk also includes the story of Alan Turing’s time at Hanslope Park in 1944/45 and the development of the DELILAH speech security system.

Brian Stainton OBE

Having trained in the early 1970s as an apprentice at what was then RRE Malvern, Brian spent the majority of his career as an engineer at Hanslope Park in Buckinghamshire. There he worked for the organisation formed in 1946 from what remained of the SCUs after they were demobilised.  Since retirement in 2012, he has continued to work part time as a member of the history team at Hanslope Park.

Recording of the meeting is available.