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In 1938, Sarah Baring was enjoying life as a young debutante. Only a few years later, at the height of World War Two, she was working alongside some of the greatest minds of Britain in their code-breaking operations at Bletchley Park. How did she end up in the top-secret world of cyphers and codes? And what did she do within the confines of Bletchley’s Hut 4 that allowed the In 1938, Sarah Baring was enjoying life as a young debutante. Only a few years later, at the height of World War Two, she was working alongside some of the greatest minds of Britain in their code-breaking operations at Bletchley Park. How did she end up in the top-secret world of cyphers and codes? And what did she do within the confines of Bletchley’s Hut 4 that allowed the British Navy to be always one step ahead of their foes? Like many young men and women across all levels of British society, the outbreak of war in 1939 dramatically altered the course of Sarah’s life. Knowing that she could not stand by while others were enlisting, she left her position in Vogue magazine and signed up to work as a telephonist at an Air Raid Precautions Centre before working in a fighter plane factory to do her bit. The women that she worked alongside were unlike those she had known in her high society life and opened her eyes to a completely different world. Yet, after just a few months, she was requested to leave the factory behind and was thrust into the world of intelligence, code-breaking and huge computers, rubbing shoulders with awkward geniuses like Alan Turing.


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In 1938, Sarah Baring was enjoying life as a young debutante. Only a few years later, at the height of World War Two, she was working alongside some of the greatest minds of Britain in their code-breaking operations at Bletchley Park. How did she end up in the top-secret world of cyphers and codes? And what did she do within the confines of Bletchley’s Hut 4 that allowed the In 1938, Sarah Baring was enjoying life as a young debutante. Only a few years later, at the height of World War Two, she was working alongside some of the greatest minds of Britain in their code-breaking operations at Bletchley Park. How did she end up in the top-secret world of cyphers and codes? And what did she do within the confines of Bletchley’s Hut 4 that allowed the British Navy to be always one step ahead of their foes? Like many young men and women across all levels of British society, the outbreak of war in 1939 dramatically altered the course of Sarah’s life. Knowing that she could not stand by while others were enlisting, she left her position in Vogue magazine and signed up to work as a telephonist at an Air Raid Precautions Centre before working in a fighter plane factory to do her bit. The women that she worked alongside were unlike those she had known in her high society life and opened her eyes to a completely different world. Yet, after just a few months, she was requested to leave the factory behind and was thrust into the world of intelligence, code-breaking and huge computers, rubbing shoulders with awkward geniuses like Alan Turing.

30 review for The Road to Station X: From Debutante Ball to Fighter-Plane Factory to Bletchley Park, a Memoir of One Woman's Journey Through World War Two

  1. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    An excellent read. The only reason for four (as opposed to five) stars is that it doesn't go as far into the details as I would have wanted. That's probably unfair; the Official Secrets Act probably put some serious restrictions on what she could write. The book is really quite good, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in either Bletchley Park or how WW II affected individuals in Great Britain; both stories are here, though (as previously mentioned) in less detail than I would have like An excellent read. The only reason for four (as opposed to five) stars is that it doesn't go as far into the details as I would have wanted. That's probably unfair; the Official Secrets Act probably put some serious restrictions on what she could write. The book is really quite good, and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in either Bletchley Park or how WW II affected individuals in Great Britain; both stories are here, though (as previously mentioned) in less detail than I would have liked.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    This was an interesting book. It was almost like reading someone’s diary but only better. I thought it did end abruptly and I think it could have gone on a few more chapters. I did enjoy the book regardless and definitely recommend to WW2 historical fiction fans Thanks to Sapere for the early copy

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eden

    2021 bk 56. A thoroughly enjoyable memoir of about 8 years of Sarah Baring's life. The daughter of the director of Pinewood Studios, Sarah was sent in 1938 to learn German in Germany, being near Munich, the young teenager and her friends took exception to Hitler whom they would encounter at a local restaurant. After several acts of vandalism of Nazi headquarters on their part, they were whisked back to England. These were not her first actions against the anti-semitic leader, but they were the o 2021 bk 56. A thoroughly enjoyable memoir of about 8 years of Sarah Baring's life. The daughter of the director of Pinewood Studios, Sarah was sent in 1938 to learn German in Germany, being near Munich, the young teenager and her friends took exception to Hitler whom they would encounter at a local restaurant. After several acts of vandalism of Nazi headquarters on their part, they were whisked back to England. These were not her first actions against the anti-semitic leader, but they were the only ones that got her in hot water. Her life during the war years was filled with small adventures, some deprivations, hard work, and then a job that stretched her brain in way she didn't imagine it could have been stretched. An amazing story and a book I will keep.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer (JC-S)

    ‘When I was seventeen my parents sent me to Munich in Germany for further education and to learn the language.’ Little did Sarah Baring then know how important her knowledge of German would become. Sarah Kathleen Elinor Baring (20 January 1920 – 4 February 2013) was an English socialite who worked for three years as a linguist at Bletchley Park, the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. In 1938, she was enjoying her life as a debutante. But when war broke out in 19 ‘When I was seventeen my parents sent me to Munich in Germany for further education and to learn the language.’ Little did Sarah Baring then know how important her knowledge of German would become. Sarah Kathleen Elinor Baring (20 January 1920 – 4 February 2013) was an English socialite who worked for three years as a linguist at Bletchley Park, the principal centre of Allied code-breaking during the Second World War. In 1938, she was enjoying her life as a debutante. But when war broke out in 1939, she wanted to do her bit for the war effort. First, after leaving a position with Vogue, she worked as a telephonist at an Air Raid Precautions Centre, then she worked in a factory and helped build airplanes. But then, because Intelligence were seeking German-speaking staff, Sarah, and her friend Osla were tested and then selected for employment at Bletchley Park. ‘You are to report to Station X at Bletchley Park.’ In this book, Sarah Baring provides a firsthand account of life in the UK during World War II. While I was most interested in her account of working at Bletchley Park, the book is made more interesting by the context she provides. Food rationing and accommodation shortages presented challenges, but Ms Baring mentions this as a matter of fact and as something that applied to all. I have been reading a lot about World War II recently, and Ms Baring’s firsthand account provided a different and interesting perspective. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a well-written personal account of life in the UK during World War II. Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes. Jennifer Cameron-Smith

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    4.5 stars I absolutely devoured this. An absolutely charming memoir from someone who is a sparkling storyteller. I bet she was roaring fun at parties! The time jumped around a bit which got a little confusing, but that's the only downside. 4.5 stars I absolutely devoured this. An absolutely charming memoir from someone who is a sparkling storyteller. I bet she was roaring fun at parties! The time jumped around a bit which got a little confusing, but that's the only downside.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mr Robin Smith

    This delightful book is an interesting insight into the way WWII changed the lives of people from all walks of life. In the case of the story teller, Sarah Baring, the impact was so much more than for most. Sarah was born in 1920 into a silver spoon life, with a peer of the realm for a father; a mother who was acquainted with members of the royal family; and whose god parents were Lord and Lady Mountbatten. In her early years Sarah was used to a household with servants and nannies; and her schoo This delightful book is an interesting insight into the way WWII changed the lives of people from all walks of life. In the case of the story teller, Sarah Baring, the impact was so much more than for most. Sarah was born in 1920 into a silver spoon life, with a peer of the realm for a father; a mother who was acquainted with members of the royal family; and whose god parents were Lord and Lady Mountbatten. In her early years Sarah was used to a household with servants and nannies; and her schooling was at home with private tutors. Helpfully for her future wartime job, in 1937 her parents sent her, aged 17, to Germany to complete her education. Then in 1938, Sarah went through the process of being a Debutante and having a coming out ball; a glittering affair part-funded by her god parents, the Mountbattens. When WWII broke out, Sarah was initially sent to stay on her grand-parents estate in Scotland but then, in early 1940, her mother decided that Sarah ought to find herself a job. Initially she worked for Vogue magazine, then later as a telephonist at the local ARP (Air Raid Precautions) centre, although she could not resist the allure of the London scene and as often as she could took a train to London to meet up with any friends she could still find. One of these friends was Osla Benning, another godchild of Lord Mountbatten. Looking for more interesting jobs in support of the war effort, Sarah & Osla applied for work at the Hawker Siddeley factory near Slough. There the girls spent their time drilling holes in sheets of Dural metal that were eventually destined to be parts for Hurricane aircraft. Becoming skilled at this resulted in the girls being transferred to another factory on the Slough trading estate, where various small parts were made. This factory was very dirty and the foreman very unpleasant and the time here again involved drilling holes in Dural sheets. Fortunately for Sarah & Osla, after what seemed a lifetime, the girls were rescued as a result of having listed language skills on their original applications to work at Hawker Siddeley and they were both instructed to report to Station X at Bletchley Park. At Station X the girls joined the Naval Section Indexing team which was responsible for transferring key information from intercepted signals onto index cards. For most of the time at Bletchley Sarah’s language skills were not required, but eventually she was transferred to the section translating the decrypted signals from German into English. Sarah spent most of the remaining war years at Bletchley, home to scientists like Alan Turing and others who created the first computing machines in their efforts to decrypt signals produced by the German Enigma coding machines. Toward the end of the war she was moved again, this time to the Admiralty offices in London where she was part of the liaison team set up to improve communications with the team at Bletchley. When the war ended Sarah returned to the life she had missed during the war and was introduced to William Astor, son of Viscount and Nancy Astor, whom she quickly married, finally putting behind her the rather different life she had lived for the war years. All in all, a very enjoyable book and many thanks go to Sapere Books for providing me a copy for review.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    What an honour to read this beautiful true account of a British heroine in her own right, Sarah Baring. entirely captivating and enthralling! Reading experiences like this is what learning is all about. This book is such a joy. Little did Sarah Baring know when she was 17 and lived temporarily in Germany that learning the language would pay dividends in her future. She grew up in a privileged aristocratic home and at 18 was a debutante with silk dresses and gloves but life changed dramatically i What an honour to read this beautiful true account of a British heroine in her own right, Sarah Baring. entirely captivating and enthralling! Reading experiences like this is what learning is all about. This book is such a joy. Little did Sarah Baring know when she was 17 and lived temporarily in Germany that learning the language would pay dividends in her future. She grew up in a privileged aristocratic home and at 18 was a debutante with silk dresses and gloves but life changed dramatically in 1939 with the threat of war. Suddenly the upper echelon became less important and she found a job in a factory where she became, of all things, a mechanic and helped build airplanes. It was physically demanding work and she wished for something more mentally stimulating. She and her close friend, Osla, worked their way up through the ranks to become code breakers and linguists at Bletchley Park. Along the way with job placements and promotions came moving and living in different locations which were not exactly palatial. Food rationing began with the war and Sarah, who had feasted on the very best was now saving bits of soap and treasuring fresh food of any kind. She was now able to have only 4 oz of butter a week, for example, so was thrilled to receive food parcels from America which included butter. She was only allowed four gallons of petrol per month. However, the tone of the book was not complaining or whining but matter of fact, definitely not fully of self pity. Sarah's writing is personal, easy flowing and descriptive. From what I read here it seems she would have been a fascinating person to know. Her historical details are incredible. She wrote about the war with personal hardships, depression and illness but also mention beautiful and fun moments. Her knowledge about airplanes is breathtaking! Code-breaking descriptions are utterly enthralling and something I've wondered about. The Enigma machine was entirely unknown to me...happily, that's changed. I like that she mentioned the cost of things and her salary, too. Plus throughout the book Hitler, Himmler and Goebbels are discussed with their perverse hatred of the Jews which she found abhorrent. I feel as though I've just had an underground conversation with someone special. Do reach for this wonderful historical true story of one woman's fight in WWII if you are at all interested in the era or code breaking. But it's more than that, too. My sincere thank you to Sapere Books and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this remarkable book in exchange for an honest review. Much appreciated.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mary Howell

    Sarah Baring’s memoir and coming of age story is full of jolly japes, and it seems that Sarah, who leads a charmed life of parties and frocks will not be taking life seriously until fate perhaps intervened and it was life that took her seriously. The country was plunged into World War 2. Easy to warm to her and the light, conversational, sometimes breathless prose that rattles along even after she joins Bletchley. In Germany at 17 in 1937, to learn the language, not quite adult enough to understa Sarah Baring’s memoir and coming of age story is full of jolly japes, and it seems that Sarah, who leads a charmed life of parties and frocks will not be taking life seriously until fate perhaps intervened and it was life that took her seriously. The country was plunged into World War 2. Easy to warm to her and the light, conversational, sometimes breathless prose that rattles along even after she joins Bletchley. In Germany at 17 in 1937, to learn the language, not quite adult enough to understand everything but old enough to sense the atmosphere of fear and hostility towards Jews, even if then only in print. A daring plan emerges to remove the offending newspapers first by smashing glass cases then by cutting through metal grills used as an extra deterrent. She is caught, sent home in disrepute by a British consul still intent on appeasement and her mother is understanding. She is home in time to be presented at court as a debutante and describes preparations needed for a horse-mad clumsy teenager with humour. Dance classes, frocks and charming indiscretion. She tells losing her knickers before Queen Mary as a child and inviting Fats Waller to play the piano at one of her parties with delightful ignorance of the cost. Delightful ignorance of life except a vague awareness and shame that to have had no work at all till arriving ... might be construed as feckless. The period of phoney war allowed time for a trip to France with her family, a hair-raising trip back, semi exile in Scotland with grandparents and a squadron of fighter pilots nearby invited to evening meals and delivering letters of thanks by air on to the extensive front lawn. Returning to London barely three months later to find the iron railings of London’s parks and squares already melted down for munitions. A frivolous period of dancing a parties while young men in uniform wait to go to war, ended when her mother insists she find a job and when the war began in September 1939. She is recruited to work at Bletchley Park where linguists, boffins and clerks attempt to decode intercepted German messages. All are sworn to secrecy. She recounts the minutiae of life at war in general and particular the work of clerks and translators at Bletchley and their jubilation as ships and lives are saved by their dedication or the desperation on hearing of failed attempts. Her jobs become more and more interesting as she charts her part in Hitler’s downfall relating the war’s milestones and civilian experiences of the home front from the blitz. Well worth a read.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bryan Higgs

    I've noticed from other reviews of this book that many of the reviewers were prompted to read this book as a result of recommendations in The Rose Code. Something along the lines of "If you want to find out about Osla Benning read The Road To Station X". But, in fact, while Osla Benning certainly features here, the book doesn't really cast much extra light on her. I don't think it's worth reading for that. I'm a little surprised that so many reviewers gave this book four or five stars. I also hav I've noticed from other reviews of this book that many of the reviewers were prompted to read this book as a result of recommendations in The Rose Code. Something along the lines of "If you want to find out about Osla Benning read The Road To Station X". But, in fact, while Osla Benning certainly features here, the book doesn't really cast much extra light on her. I don't think it's worth reading for that. I'm a little surprised that so many reviewers gave this book four or five stars. I also have seen comments about how entertaining they found Sarah Baring's writing. Personally, I found her writing more at the educated schoolgirl level -- her vocabulary is good, but the ability to write with a good flow rather less so, and there were several run-on sentences. The writing was rather too anecdotal, and rather too shallow for my liking. (I suppose it's possible that it's shallow because she wasn't allowed to fill in the missing details, or that she felt that she shouldn't.) I noticed that, at the start of the book, the writing seemed shallower and more self-involved, but as she progressed, it improved somewhat. Perhaps that reflects the fact that she was forced to grow up a great deal in the meantime. She says that she was writing it from her memories; of course, nothing could be written down while she was at Bletchley, and there followed 30 years or more of required secrecy before she could publish anything. I also found that the threads went back and forth in the book. While the chapters may have been intended to be somewhat chronological, the content tended to jump around too much for me. Overall, and particularly at the beginning, I had the impression of a highly privileged, entitled, rich girl who had been protected all her life from reality by governesses, nannies, and servants. Suddenly, she decides (quite rightly) that she needs to do something to help with the war effort (as indeed, did her mother). As the book progresses, she seems to grow up a great deal, and does indeed (by her own accounts) seem to have made good contributions. But eventually, after the war, she goes back to her privileged life, marrying the 3rd Viscount Astor. Some might be impressed; I am not.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gary Quinn

    An entertaining and engaging description of life in England during the Second World War. Sarah Baring was born to privilege, being related to many people in high places, including Lord Mountbatten. She grew up with nannies, in stately country and city houses, and had all the trappings of the rich and well connected. But she was was a down to earth young woman and wanted to do her bit for England. Despite her background, and with her friend Osla, she was not above doing dirty factory work, buildin An entertaining and engaging description of life in England during the Second World War. Sarah Baring was born to privilege, being related to many people in high places, including Lord Mountbatten. She grew up with nannies, in stately country and city houses, and had all the trappings of the rich and well connected. But she was was a down to earth young woman and wanted to do her bit for England. Despite her background, and with her friend Osla, she was not above doing dirty factory work, building aircraft in grimy factories and rubbing shoulders with the rank and file of British society. Although family contacts no doubt helped, her skill at fluent German (learnt while a teenager in pre-war German) gained her a position at the famous Bletchley Park, working on decrypting Enigma ciphers. All during the worst days of the war, she worked long hours, but still found time to dance and party, even during the worst of the Blitz when bombs rained down on London. The writing is a bit uneven, and the events depicted shift between trivia of daily life and the immense events of the war. But this gives it a connection to reality, and one gets a very good sense of, not just the day to day struggle, but also the cheeriness and fortitude of British society. There really was a sense of "Keep Calm and Carry On". People were single minded and, no matter what Hitler and the Nazis did, people knew that Britain would pull through. Reading this first hand account of the war, I couldn't help wondering whether modern Britain, with its many different cultures and claims of victimhood would show the same resolution, camaraderie and single minded strength of purpose that Sarah Baring and her friends showed during the worst of the war. Well worth reading.

  11. 5 out of 5

    John Sterling

    This is so enjoyable: a gem. From page one it has you chuckling quietly to yourself. A neatly put together memoir. If like me, before reading this, you have no idea who Sarah Baring was, I’d strongly advise not to go looking. The book does drip feed the information, but not knowing in the first instance does add to the humour. In the years just prior to WW2, there’s teenage sabotage on the streets of Munich at midnight. Ingenuity providing opportunity to scowl at Hitler whilst he takes coffee and This is so enjoyable: a gem. From page one it has you chuckling quietly to yourself. A neatly put together memoir. If like me, before reading this, you have no idea who Sarah Baring was, I’d strongly advise not to go looking. The book does drip feed the information, but not knowing in the first instance does add to the humour. In the years just prior to WW2, there’s teenage sabotage on the streets of Munich at midnight. Ingenuity providing opportunity to scowl at Hitler whilst he takes coffee and ice-cream. You can’t but admire the girl. The book, for sure, centres on a very serious subject and the young lady in question plays a vital part in that serious work. Quartered with an imminent professor from Cambridge, who seems a little stuffy, she rigs a gramophone, she’s hidden under his bed, to play classical music in the early hours of the morn. I couldn’t put in down. I read while cooking and eating. Whilst busy at work in Station X (Bletchley Park) with the code-breakers, along comes ‘Vice Admiral, Lord Louis Mountbatten, Chief of Combined Operations. He was accompanied by a lot of Top Brass and harassed-looking Bletchley staff.’ “Uncle Dickie, what are you doing here?” “I knew you were here and thought I would see how you are getting on.” At times she was as much at risk from the bombers and the V-Rockets as any other Londoner and she could have easily spent the war safe and secure, in the splendour of a Scottish estate. Having read about how her mother spent the war years and then found out who her mother actually was, I tipped my hat. This book will provide you with a sure understanding of why you must put on clean underwear before you leave the house. A great book.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Dorayne Demoore

    This well-written, light-hearted memoir by Sarah Baring details her life in England throughout World War II. It provides a fascinating look at civilian life during the Blitz and throughout the war. One can’t help but admire this young woman’s determination to serve her country. She worked in various capacities, proving her competence, until her great opportunity came along. As a young girl, she had been sent to Germany, before the war, to learn the language. There, she witnessed the rise of the This well-written, light-hearted memoir by Sarah Baring details her life in England throughout World War II. It provides a fascinating look at civilian life during the Blitz and throughout the war. One can’t help but admire this young woman’s determination to serve her country. She worked in various capacities, proving her competence, until her great opportunity came along. As a young girl, she had been sent to Germany, before the war, to learn the language. There, she witnessed the rise of the Nazis and was horrified. Partly because of her facility with languages, she was tapped to serve at Bletchley Park, headquarters of naval intelligence and center of code- breaking operations. The author is a young lady who approaches life with enthusiasm and a sense of humor, whether attending a debutant ball in her honor given by her godparents, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, fighting for justice in a factory, or working her way up in Bletchley Park. The reader learns about the code machines, how the tasks were divided, and the personalities involved. Sarah was at the center of intelligence operations and tells us about locating U-boats (thus protecting the vital Atlantic convoys), locating enemy battleships, and planning for D-Day. She also talks about the impact of various milestones in the war on intelligence. Thereare brief glimpses of Turling, Churchill and others. On the whole, this is one of the most enjoyable books I have read about the home front and the activities at Bletchley Park.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mary Hadden

    This is the best ‘fireside’ story I’ve read. This is a book to keep; read over and over again. I read almost all of this when in bed. I would never wish war upon anyone, but I will admit, “I am jealous of the time she lived in.” A wonderful lady playing her ‘small’ part. I revelled in this: her charm, her courage, her humour. Miss Sarah Baring (born on 20th January 1920: the Honourable Sarah Kathleen Elinor Norton, the daughter of Richard Norton, 6th Baron of Grantley) shines out from these pages: This is the best ‘fireside’ story I’ve read. This is a book to keep; read over and over again. I read almost all of this when in bed. I would never wish war upon anyone, but I will admit, “I am jealous of the time she lived in.” A wonderful lady playing her ‘small’ part. I revelled in this: her charm, her courage, her humour. Miss Sarah Baring (born on 20th January 1920: the Honourable Sarah Kathleen Elinor Norton, the daughter of Richard Norton, 6th Baron of Grantley) shines out from these pages: I can but admire her. I will take the heckling: her privileged upbringing, never needed to worry about her future, blowing her own trumpet. Far from it, in my lowly opinion. From factory worker in Slough to staff at Bletchley Park, she comes across as most unpretentious. I found it a jolly read.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ann-Marie

    This is an engrossing and fascinating tale of a young debutant who wanted to ‘do her bit’ during the war years and we follow her through her various jobs, including working in an aircraft factory, ending in Bletchley Park – a place and work that she couldn’t tell her friends and family about. Although the book focuses mainly on her work at Bletchley, the stories and characters from her other jobs are real highlights also. Interwoven with tales of her work are many nuggets of information about li This is an engrossing and fascinating tale of a young debutant who wanted to ‘do her bit’ during the war years and we follow her through her various jobs, including working in an aircraft factory, ending in Bletchley Park – a place and work that she couldn’t tell her friends and family about. Although the book focuses mainly on her work at Bletchley, the stories and characters from her other jobs are real highlights also. Interwoven with tales of her work are many nuggets of information about life during the war such as the food and rationing, how she and her friends kept in contact with each other, no matter where they were in the world – all fascinating reading. Overall an enjoyable and easy to read book. Thanks to Sapere Books for a copy to review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kerri

    Secrets to keep forever, doing the job and not asking why, the puzzles with missing pieces, the 12-14 hour watches are the life of a military intelligence analyst. This book touches on it all. It took me back to my analysis days, the good (success with the puzzle pieces) and the frustration (the missing puzzle pieces, the long uneventful hours on watch). This book puts the reader there, in Bletchley Park, the Naval Intelligence Division, the war - bombs and all. Wherever Sarah was, she took me wi Secrets to keep forever, doing the job and not asking why, the puzzles with missing pieces, the 12-14 hour watches are the life of a military intelligence analyst. This book touches on it all. It took me back to my analysis days, the good (success with the puzzle pieces) and the frustration (the missing puzzle pieces, the long uneventful hours on watch). This book puts the reader there, in Bletchley Park, the Naval Intelligence Division, the war - bombs and all. Wherever Sarah was, she took me with her. I don't normally read nonfiction; however, this read like historical fiction. That, to me, is a win. I want to thank Sapere Books for providing me with a review copy.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bob Crawford

    Proof that goals shared can overcome class and station Imagine a condition where Newport wealthy socialites or Hollywood stars don overalls and join rust-belt school dropouts - on equal footing - to accomplish a critical goal. Sounds like a fairytale, but that’s what the British did during WWII. This author was one of them - one of the aristocracy - who toiled side by side with low-brow women to save their country. Oh, that we would remember these lessons from the not too distant pAst to tackle th Proof that goals shared can overcome class and station Imagine a condition where Newport wealthy socialites or Hollywood stars don overalls and join rust-belt school dropouts - on equal footing - to accomplish a critical goal. Sounds like a fairytale, but that’s what the British did during WWII. This author was one of them - one of the aristocracy - who toiled side by side with low-brow women to save their country. Oh, that we would remember these lessons from the not too distant pAst to tackle the world’s problems - together. This book is well worth reading ... we need to remember and channel that spirit.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sherrie74

    After reading "The Rose Code", which Sarah is a part of, this one was too easy to read. Nothing complicated here .... no real explanation as to how the Enigma Machine really worked and how they were able to break the codes which changed on a daily basis. My feeling is that even with "The Rose Code" being a historical fiction that you got more out of the lifestyle and work that went on at Bletchley Park than in "Road to Station X". I think that even after 75 years that Sarah was still guarding her After reading "The Rose Code", which Sarah is a part of, this one was too easy to read. Nothing complicated here .... no real explanation as to how the Enigma Machine really worked and how they were able to break the codes which changed on a daily basis. My feeling is that even with "The Rose Code" being a historical fiction that you got more out of the lifestyle and work that went on at Bletchley Park than in "Road to Station X". I think that even after 75 years that Sarah was still guarding her secret oath she took that long ago. It is a good companion book to others out there but not the best one if you need to be informed as to the real goings on at BP.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    This was a fascinating memoir of an English deb who ended up working at Bletchley Park during WWII using the German language skills she learned as a student in Germany before the war. It's a very personal look at life inside the closed community at BP. I'm impressed that she and her co-workers managed to keep the secrets for all those years until the Official Secrets Act restrictions were lifted. She wrote it without help of any notes written at the time because of the restrictions, but I feel l This was a fascinating memoir of an English deb who ended up working at Bletchley Park during WWII using the German language skills she learned as a student in Germany before the war. It's a very personal look at life inside the closed community at BP. I'm impressed that she and her co-workers managed to keep the secrets for all those years until the Official Secrets Act restrictions were lifted. She wrote it without help of any notes written at the time because of the restrictions, but I feel like she remembered things pretty well. If you have any interest in this period or the intelligence community, you should probably read this short memoir.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    This is another Bletchley Park experience but this time by a debutante. Like all books about this place it has its interesting bits and others you just want to skim over. It doesn’t go into anything much in great detail and lots of it was about the events during the war. A super quick read for anyone wanting a taster of this topic or for those who don’t have the time or inclination for a huge tome. It would have been nice if there had been another chapter informing the reader of what the author This is another Bletchley Park experience but this time by a debutante. Like all books about this place it has its interesting bits and others you just want to skim over. It doesn’t go into anything much in great detail and lots of it was about the events during the war. A super quick read for anyone wanting a taster of this topic or for those who don’t have the time or inclination for a huge tome. It would have been nice if there had been another chapter informing the reader of what the author did afterwards. I was given this ARC by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darren Sandland

    Having read The Rose Code by Kate Quinn this was suggested reading material at the end of that book. I really enjoyed this book but the Rose Code pretty much covered the whole of this book. I ripped through this one very quickly as a result. It’s an enjoyable book but I preferred the Rose Code purely because it had more depth (I appreciate that it was a work of fiction) but I felt the story around it really made that the better of the two reads. This is not to say this is not enjoyable far from i Having read The Rose Code by Kate Quinn this was suggested reading material at the end of that book. I really enjoyed this book but the Rose Code pretty much covered the whole of this book. I ripped through this one very quickly as a result. It’s an enjoyable book but I preferred the Rose Code purely because it had more depth (I appreciate that it was a work of fiction) but I felt the story around it really made that the better of the two reads. This is not to say this is not enjoyable far from it but I really didn’t need to read that one having read The Rose Code. If you don’t plan to read The Rose Code definitely read this as it’s really interesting.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Romana Allen

    I found this story very interesting and endearing. Girl from upperclass doing her bit during WW2 I love the fact that she worked her way up from the dirt of a factory floor to better jobs and it wasn’t “gifted” to her based on her background She worked hard (awful shift patterns) and was promoted due to her intellect and not her “bit of legs” Writing style is easy to read with just enough details to keep me going I loved the book - well done and thank you to the author !!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    This was an interesting read about Sarah Baring's life during WWII and how she went from a debutante to working in Bletchley Park. She talks about work life along this path, including some stories about the mischief they got into and the hardships they faced. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. This was an interesting read about Sarah Baring's life during WWII and how she went from a debutante to working in Bletchley Park. She talks about work life along this path, including some stories about the mischief they got into and the hardships they faced. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Susan Williams

    Wonderful Autobiography! The writer has a great sense of humor about her early life and her time at Bletchley Park and the Admiralty. It is an insider view of what many women were doing in the decoding process of enemy communications during WWII. She obviously loved her time there and hated to see its end. Would have loved to know how the rest of her life went even if in brief.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Katelyn

    I'm not sure why people are rating this book so highly. Sarah Baring is clearly a very intelligent person and I enjoyed her accounts of her war experiences. However, this was written way after the fact and there's a ton of summarizing of the different events during WWII, which most readers will already know about. I prefer the in-depth diaries and memoirs with more detail. A quick read, but unless this is your first book about the topic, I'd keep looking. I'm not sure why people are rating this book so highly. Sarah Baring is clearly a very intelligent person and I enjoyed her accounts of her war experiences. However, this was written way after the fact and there's a ton of summarizing of the different events during WWII, which most readers will already know about. I prefer the in-depth diaries and memoirs with more detail. A quick read, but unless this is your first book about the topic, I'd keep looking.

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Parker

    Women with forty years of secrecy In the last six months I have read may biographies and diaries of women that have served in the war effort from the Manhattan Project, Special Operations Executive, the French resistance and Uranium enrichment. It’s interesting that they were sworn to secrecy and kept it even though feeling the resentment for not being acknowledged for their service.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Margaret Wray

    A really interesting book to read. Written as you would in a diary / documentary style. There were parts that were very interesting and she made you feel part of her journey during the war years. To be a Bletchley Park and being involved with the code breakers fascinating stuff. There were parts of the story about the Uboats heading to South America U did not know that happened. Google explained that more. Would recommend.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Mazzara

    A true first person memoir of a rich young woman's wholehearted contribution to the war effort. She's cute and unapologetic about her youth and femininity. This is a nice complement to the more scholarly works on Bletchley Park which can be hard to manage with complex cryptologic asides and huge casts of characters. A true first person memoir of a rich young woman's wholehearted contribution to the war effort. She's cute and unapologetic about her youth and femininity. This is a nice complement to the more scholarly works on Bletchley Park which can be hard to manage with complex cryptologic asides and huge casts of characters.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Stephen F. Johnson

    This is a very good first-person account of a young British woman's early journey to Bletchley Park, and her experiences there through the War. Extremely interesting. I've read lots of books about BP, but this one gives the reader an unique and valuable perspective. I believe it represents the bulk of the young women who worked there. I highly recommend it! This is a very good first-person account of a young British woman's early journey to Bletchley Park, and her experiences there through the War. Extremely interesting. I've read lots of books about BP, but this one gives the reader an unique and valuable perspective. I believe it represents the bulk of the young women who worked there. I highly recommend it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ursula

    I recently read „the rose code“ which was inspired by this autobiography. I enjoyed about the first half a lot the it turned more into a recounting of WWII. I would have loved to read more about what happened at BP, about all the people working together and how life felt. But it is still a really good ready and very interesting.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Malcolm Davis

    The Belle of Bletchley The author came from an aristocratic background and after the AR married Viscount Astor. She went to Germany before the war and her linguistic ability led to Bletchley Park during the war. She is at times a bit vague as to what she was doing however it is an entertaining read.

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