Page last updated at 17:15 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 18:15 UK

Secret service honour for veteran

Penny Mendoza
Penny Mendoza worked on the team cracking German codes

A North Cornwall pensioner has become one of the first in the country to be honoured for her work for the secret service during World War II.

Penny Mendoza, 85, from Tintagel, has been awarded the Bletchley Park Commemorative Badge for helping decipher German codes.

Ms Mendoza was part of the Government Code and Cypher School which helped crack the Enigma and Tunny codes.

Veterans no longer alive will be commemorated on a Roll of Honour.

Secret army

A secret army of 9000 from across Britain were recruited to help crack the German ciphers.

Ms Mendoza, a former Wren, said: "It was a secret job. We had to sign that we would never speak of it for 30 years and and I don't think anybody ever broke it because no one ever knew about it.

"It was rather hard having to keep that secret, because my parents didn't know what I was doing and my father never found out."

Winston Churchill described the work done by the secret army as: "The geese that laid the golden egg and never cackled."

At the end of the war the enigma machines were dismantled and Ms Mednoza was told that the machines had been sunk in the ocean.



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