Shropshire secret code-breaker Ruby reaches 100

When Ruby Jones joined the RAF at the age of 21 she had no idea she would be working at what was one of the most important secret weapons in the Allied arsenal, Bletchley Park.

Ruby Jones celebrates her 100th birthday at Oswestry Heritage Centre coffee shop with friends and family
Ruby Jones celebrates her 100th birthday at Oswestry Heritage Centre coffee shop with friends and family

The Government Code and Cypher School penetrated the secret enemy codes including most famously Enigma and is said to have helped shorten the war by two to four years.

Ruby, who celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday, will say only that she was involved in ‘admin’.

But she says that her time as an RAF Sergeant, which included her time at Bletchley, was a hugely important part of her life.

Born in Bexhill-on-Sea, Ruby found herself evacuated to Somerset at the start of the war.

“As women we knew that we would have to do something to help. In the past women had stayed at home and carried out domestic duties,” she said.

“I decided to volunteer for the RAF, I had to apply and I was taken on.

“I don’t know why I decided on the RAF. I couldn’t have been a land girl - I was scared of livestock,” she said.

With young RAF pilots being sent off to fight the battles in the sky, many never returning, Ruby said it was a very sad time.

“It was sad, but it was a time when women were able to break free from their traditional roles and do something else,” she said.

She met her husband-to-be, Stan Jones, when they were both stationed in Blackpool.

“He was a wireless operator.”

Fortunate

Son, Andy, said Stan was transferred to Burma and the two continued to keep in touch by letter.

At the end of the war the couple married in the register office in Oswestry, Stan’s home town.

“We made our home in Oswestry, my first son, Ron was born just a year after we married,” Ruby said.

Her husband died 17 years ago and she now lives with son, Ron.

She is a member of St Oswald’s Parish Church.

“The church is my backbone,” she said.

“I am very fortunate that I have my health and I never take it for granted. Exercise is so important, for everyone.

“I enjoy my daily walk around the park and we stop and talk to people. Then we come and have a coffee in the cafe, Everyone makes us very welcome.”

Sister-in-law, Elva Collins, said Ruby was a good friend as well as family and family friend, Stephen Pearce, said: “She is an amazing lady so full of life.”

One of those who helped celebrate her 100th birthday was Squadron Leader, Kim Leach from RAF Shawbury who delivered a birthday card from the base.

“So many veterans speak fondly of their time in the RAF,” she said.

“Even when they leave they remain part of the RAF family and they are rightly proud of their service. I am honoured to be here helping Ruby celebrate her birthday.”

“She is very humble about her role and what she did at Bletchley Park but everyone had a vital role to play in bringing the war to an end.”

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