Bletchley Park's archives being digitised

The archives of Bletchley Park are being digitised for online use, bringing to life the records of the legendary codebreaking effort whereby Alan Turing and colleagues invented modern computing, modern crypto, and took years off the war, saving millions of lives. HP underwrote the effort, which aims "to put everything into the public domain."

He said since the archive is so big nobody knows exactly what each individual document stored there contains.

However, the information they expect to dig out will definitely include communication transcripts, communiques, memoranda, photographs, maps and other material relating to key events that took place during the war.

He said: "We have many boxes full of index cards, which have lots of different messages on them. But this will be our chance to follow a trail and put the messages together so we can find out what they really mean.

"We found a card talking about 4,400 tonnes of mercury being transferred from Spain – we will be searching for further messages explaining what happened and why this was done."

He said the archive had tremendous potential and once it was online, people would find it easier to trace documents related to certain subjects within minutes – something that takes days to do now.

Bletchley Park WWII archive to go online [Dhruti Shah/BBC]