Margaret Betts was a code breaker for Britain's WWII Government Code & Cypher School, later renamed GCHQ.
In a remarkable tale of wartime courage and determination, Margaret Betts, one of the last surviving female codebreakers of WWII, has died at age 99. Her life was a testament to the unsung heroes who played pivotal roles behind the scenes during one of history's darkest hours.
Margaret Betts' journey into the world of codebreaking began in 1942 when she was 19. Headhunted because of her exceptional performance at school, she soon found herself at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire, England, the epicenter of Allied code-breaking efforts. Margaret worked tirelessly, her sharp mind and unwavering dedication were her greatest assets, qualities she retained until her final days in August 2023.
Her son, Jonathan Betts, 68, said she agreed to help the Allies after a German U-boat sunk her brother’s ship. “He had just married a few weeks before, the whole family was in terrible shock and desperate to do something,” Jonathan said, adding that Margaret was inspired by the tragedy and said ‘Absolutely, any way I can help I will’.
Despite the traumatic death, many of Margaret's stories from the 1940s blended mystery and humor.