Codebreaking Sisters

FANY and SOE veteran Jean Argles, and her sister Patricia, have written a book about their service during the Second World War. Drawing on her diaries and letters of the time, Jean details her role as a Code and Cipher Officer, working for Leo Marks, and her postings in Egypt and Italy.

Below is an extract from the book on how Jean came to join the Corps:

"I had hoped that I might be able to follow Pat into the Wrens but by the time I was almost old enough, the Wrens were only recruiting stewards and cooks and I was damned if I was going to spend my war in the kitchen or waiting tables! That would be even worse than secretarial college. It was my godmother in London who first drew my attention to the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry – the FANYs as they were known.

I had no idea at the time what the FANYs did but Aunt Marjory said they seemed to be having a “very good time” in London. The FANYs was a voluntary organisation, run along army lines. I wrote to them, offering my services. Alas, the news came back that at seventeen, I was still too young. But on my eighteenth birthday – on the very day itself - they wrote back to me, asking if I was still interested. Was I ever! I was over the moon at the news. At last."

We wish Jean and Patricia every success with their book.

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