WW2 veteran who grew up in Shropshire will attend the Coronation just days before her 100th birthday

When Betty Webb received a large special delivery envelope in the post, she assumed it was her 100th birthday congratulations card from Buckingham Palace.

Betty Webb
Betty Webb

But when she opened it after a friend suggested it was a little too early for her up coming birthday she found, not a birthday card but an invitation to the Coronation.

The 99-year old, who grew up in Shropshire, was been honoured by the invite for her World War Two roles at Bletchley Park and then The Pentagon.

She said the invite has topped all the events in her long life including being presented with an MBE by the then Prince Charles and receiving the Legion D'Honneur from France.

Mrs Webb, who now lives in Worcestershire, was just 18, living in Aston-on-Clun and studying domestic science at Radbrook College, Shrewsbury, when the war broke out.

Shropshire's Betty Vine-Stevens, as she was in wartime, who was sent to work at Bletchley Park

She was sent to the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, where she worked with Major Ralph Tester to register undeciphered Enigma messages.

It was only recently that she learned that the soon-to-be de-coded messages she had been ordered to catalogue – strings of letters and numbers – had in fact been communications between members of the SS and the Gestapo.

She found herself at Bletchley Park when she put on her army recruitment CV that she was bilingual and could speak German.

"I found myself being interviewed by an intelligence officer in London.

“When I started at Bletchley we were departmentalised in such a strict way so we were not allowed to discuss anything with anyone and had to sign the Official Secrets Act, which was really robust.”

She added: “It was only years later, from 1975, when the Official Secrets Act was lifted that we were finally allowed to talk about it all. I was rather pleased to know I had been working on an important part of the exercise. I do hope I made a contribution.”

Mrs Webb went on to paraphrase deciphered Japanese messages and then travel to America to work at The Pentagon.

“After I went back home, my parents were living in Richards Castle on the Herefordshire-Shropshire border and I had a bit of a rest and then went on to an intensive secretarial course, which stood me in good stead for a job and I started working at the grammar school.

“I eventually went back into the Territorial Army and worked as an officer up and down the country at several units.

"I ended up in Birmingham working as a recruitment officer for the Women’s Royal Army Corp.”

She has since written a book of her experiences called Secret Postings: Bletchley Park to the Pentagon, under her full name Charlotte Webb.

The soon-to-be centenarian, she will celebrate her 100th birthday days after the coronation, will be accompanied at the ceremony by her niece.

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