Mavis Batey 1921 -2013
You might presume that a woman named Mavis Batey would have a career as a romance novelist or a master gardener. The real Mavis Batey helped the Allies win WWII through her work in breaking the Nazi Enigma code.
Mavis was studying German poetry at the University College of London when the war broke out. She dropped out of school, as many young Britons did, to aid the war effort. She intended to become a nurse but, because of her German language skills, she was recruited to help translate coded spy messages hidden in ordinary newspaper ads.
Only 19 years old, she so impressed her supervisors that she was placed on a team trying to learn the workings of Hitler’s famed Enigma machines which generated nearly unbreakable coded messages that spies and military used to communicate battle plans. Mavis learned their secrets by taking apart a captured Italian code box and reconstructing the wiring. Her work allowed the Allied military commanders to intercept Nazi messages and plant false information in the Nazi network. Her efforts were deemed crucial to the success of the D-Day landings.
After the war she never revealed her code-breaking past, even to her children until allowed to do so by the British government. She subsequently wrote a book about the code-breaking team. She died at the age of 92, the last of the famous British Enigma codebreakers.