Page last updated at 18:23 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 19:23 UK

Bletchley codebreakers recognised

Mr Miliband with veterans of Bletchley Park
Mr Miliband said the codebreakers should never be forgotten

Men and women who worked in top secret to break Nazi Germany's military codes during WWII have been publicly honoured 60 years on.

Some of the surviving veterans gathered at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire, to receive commemorative badges from Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Mr Miliband said: "The people of Bletchley Park helped win the war... we must never forget."

Many historians agree the codebreakers' efforts shortened the war by two years.

Their success allowed the Allies to know in advance what German forces were planning.

Mr Miliband added: "They made a decisive contribution to the actions we took on the battlefield through the most startling intelligence breakthroughs.

"We must never forget the contribution they made."

Roll of honour

The secret of the cracking of the German enigma code was kept from the public until the 1970s.

About 10,000 people worked on breaking codes during the war. About 1,500 are still alive, 35 of whom were invited to receive their badges in person on Friday.

BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera said the Bletchley Park men and women - who worked in conditions of "utmost secrecy" - had finally been given public recognition.

"After so long in the shadows the contribution of the codebreakers has at last been recognised," he said.

Last week, badges were given out to some former workers during an event at Bletchley Park's modern replacement, GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire.

And in July some veterans were given commemorative badges in a service attended by The Duke of Kent, when the award was first launched.

Veterans who are no longer alive will be commemorated by a Roll of Honour, to be put on display at Bletchley Park.



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