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MASONS RECOGNISE YOUNG ACHIEVERS WITH HELP FROM ENIGMA
Kings Court Lodge in Chandlers Ford recently sponsored their now well established Young Achiever Awards Ceremony for children in the Eastleigh Borough. The awards, in the form of certificates and trophies, were presented at Toynbee School by Eastleigh Mayor, Rupert Kyrle who was assisted by Les Hipwell, Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Hampshire and Isle of Wight.
Freemason Terry Nye organised the event, which is for local children who have achieved a personal goal or who have worked hard at school or in the community, but whose efforts may have otherwise gone unrecognised. The awards, which are now in their fifth year, aim to recognise the excellence of young people by virtue of their commitment, perseverance and consideration of others.
Navy radio officer during the 70’s and one of his duties was the operation of the cipher system used for communication. This ignited his interest in cipher security, which in turn led to his fascination with Enigma. He started by tracing the origins of code making, which date back to 500BC, and then talked about various machines used to generate codes, finishing with the Enigma machine itself.
This was designed shortly after the First World War for commercial use, patented in the UK in 1927 and was available on the market for £50. At that time it had about 400,000 possible settings but was later enhanced by German engineers to 150 million million million settings. Without the settings for the day, it was almost impossible to break. The capture from the German U Boat 110 of a machine and its settings was crucial, and with the use of the Bombe, a machine which could find the day’s settings, Bletchley Park were able to decipher much of the radio traffic being used by the German military during the Second World War. The Bombe compared a piece of cipher text with an educated guess at what the plain text might be and worked out the Enigma settings to give this. The first advances in decryption were made by the Poles before they escaped to France and ultimately England, and they shared this with the UK before the fall of Poland.
It was considered the decryption of the Enigma shortened the war by as much as 2 years, but posed a particular problem in not letting the Germans guess that their communications had been compromised. All operations resulting from Enigma breaks therefore had to have a plausible explanation. For instance, in order to destroy a warship in a location revealed by Enigma, it was necessary to send a plane over first so that this could be seen and reported as the first means of detection.
To cap his fascinating talk, Alan brought along with him some coding machines, which afterwards were available for
In his introduction, Les Hipwell told the audience that there was an historic link between freemasonry and the advancement of education, and explained the many ways in which masonic charities support young people today claiming: “There isn’t a single childrens’ hospice in the country which isn’t supported by the freemasons.“ Among the audience were proud family and friends, teachers, youth workers and local councillors.
All the award winners were introduced to the audience by their sponsors, who explained the reasons for each nomination. For some of the children, their success was particularly inspiring as it came in spite of disadvantages; some had disabilities or were coping with illness, and some were adjusting to life in a new country and learning to speak English. One youngster had made progress in overcoming Asperger’s syndrome; another had successfully persevered in his efforts to learn to read; others had gone out of their way to be helpful to others despite their own difficulties.
Adding to his praise of their achievements, the Mayor said: “Who knows? There may be someone here today who could be standing here on this stage in years to come as the Mayor or Mayoress of Eastleigh”. He went on to say how difficult things can be for young people as he too had experienced times when he found his studies difficult but these awards showed that “by persevering and by trying hard you can achieve things.”
The selection process starts in January with forms being circulated to the schools; they submit their nominations at the beginning of March, after which a panel of local educational experts and youth workers, chaired by the Master of Kings Court Lodge, select the most worthy in each of the categories. The cost of hosting this annual celebration is over £300 per year, most of which goes towards the production of the special certificates and trophies and individual framed photographs of each winner. Kings Court Lodge fund raise through events such as inter lodge skittles evenings and lectures.
This time much of the money was raised by a very worthwhile presentation by Alan Watson, a friend of the organiser, who generously donated the proceeds of his illustrated lecture on the Second World War cipher machine Enigma to the event. In his talk, which was held at the masonic centre in Chandlers Ford, Alan explained to an enthusiastic mixed audience of over 50 people the significance of its capture and the impact it had on the duration of the war. He himself served as a Merchant
examination by the audience.
Barry Gardiner
www.hampshirefreemasonry.com 11
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