Twenty men from the award-winning charity, Men’s Matters, visited the once top secret home of British Codebreakers last week – Bletchley Park. During world War Two, the site played a crucial role in breaking the coded correspondences of the enemy; providing vital intelligence for our own troops on land, sea and air.
For 86 year old Men’s Matters member, Alan Smith, it was a particularly emotional occasion. An old friend of his from many years ago, Gerald Openshaw, had been recruited by Bletchley Park during World War Two. At the time, not even Gerald’s wife knew where he was working – he had to tell everyone that he was in the army, but actually he was stationed at Bletchley Park as a Morse code expert, ‘eavesdropping’ on German messages.
Gerald Openshaw passed away a few years ago, but Bletchley Park has a giant memorial wall where the names of the people who served there are carved onto the bricks. The group of men helped Alan to seek out the brick and it was a heartfelt moment for him when it was discovered. Alan said: “I felt very emotional when we found Gerald's brick and great pride when he was referred to as a 'veteran'.”
Men’s Matters was set up by Radian in 2015 with the aim of combatting social isolation and loneliness in older men. Last year Men’s Matters launched as a registered charity and were thrilled to have Sir Michael Parkinson come on board as patron. The Bletchley Park trip was part of Men’s Matters new activities programme, which includes visits to the Houses of Parliament and River Thames boat trips. Older men interested in attending a Men’s Matters afternoon drop-in in Windsor, Langley or Maidenhead are very welcome.
Full details can be found on their web site: www.mensmatters.org.uk or you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.