Joan and Kenneth Joslin on their wedding day
Joan and Kenneth Joslin

'We had to keep the war's end secret'
Joan and Kenneth Joslin met at Bletchley
while intercepting enemy secrets
Joan gave an interesting talk at the heritage society, there is a DVD at the Heritage centre
Joan: In 1940 I was engaged during the war in Bletchley Park on German and Japanese decoding. I had been engaged on messages from Japanese aircraft and German naval vessels and throughout the war we had some very interesting accounts.
At one stage we were involved in the work that resulted in the sinking of the Scharnhorst.
A few days before VE Day, we were on night duty and we had a message through that the German troops in Italy had capitulated and we realised that the war in Europe had ended. We were given 48 hours leave after we got the news.
We took the last train to Euston and at the station we talked with a few of the American soldiers and members of the public who were there. The station was absolutely crowded with people coming in on leave. It was so strange to be among them and know that the war was over but not be able to say anything. We just discussed the times of trains, only normal sort of everyday things
We were more or less watching and taking note of everything. It was interesting seeing the Americans and the different service people and civilians and all sort of people congregating in the station. We knew that the war in Europe was over but we weren’t allowed to tell anyone about it. We never discussed anything that went on in Bletchley.
Kenneth: I was 18 in 1940 when I was a electronics engineer with the British Tabulating Company which later became ICL. I was assigned to look after the various machines that were used in the decoding process.
We got so used to not being able to tell anyone that it never bothered us. Funny enough I still feel reluctant to talk about it now. That night of May 8 we went back to Joan’s mother’s house and we got told off. She thought we had been out all night!
Joan: My mother had no idea what I was doing or why we had 48 hours leave. She was of Victorian sensibilities so she was quite cross that it seemed I had stayed out all night with my fiancé and arrived on the train so late! We were married on Aug 8, 1945, because that was the time we could get away and get married.
Kenneth: Part of the reason we got married was to make sure that we could be together afterwards. After the war they were assigning people to different places in the government and some were going back to their jobs that they had before the war. So, we got married before it ended to make sure we wouldn’t be assigned to incompatible locations.
Joan: We were on our honeymoon in Dover when the war in Japan ended. The fleet was in Dover and all the sailors came ashore. They were so excited they were setting fire to the wooden benches along the promenade. They were banging on all the windows of houses saying "come on, get up, the war is over!" We didn't get anymore sleep that night! Everyone was in a partying mood.
All the celebrations were very impromptu. It was a great surprise and everyone was excited about it. When we returned to London it was full of people. There were street parties and all that sort of thing. All of my family were involved in the war, my father was in Burma fighting, sister in Scotland in the reds, brother in Ceylon. In a way, although it was very sad, we enjoyed the war.
Kenneth: The worst thing that happened after I left Bletchley was that when I went back to my firm I was called up for the service! I couldn’t tell them that I had already served in a different way in Bletchley or anything about it so I went back for my two year service.
Joan and Kenneth Joslin, Stock, Essex
Memories Stock Home page