A BLIND pensioner enjoyed a trip to Brighton where she met a fellow veteran who also served at codebreaking centre Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

Mary Turton, 94, from Witney, last month took part in Women’s Military Week, hosted by Blind Veterans UK, the national charity for vision-impaired ex-servicemen and women.

While staying at Blind Veterans UK’s training centre in Brighton, Mrs Turton met Lorna Cockayne, who was also based at Bletchley Park.

The stately home near Milton Keynes was a centre for British codebreakers who cracked the German Enigma code.

Mrs Turton said: "It was lovely to meet Lorna and all of the other female veterans and chat about being a woman in the Armed Forces.

"We had lunch with some Army and Navy women too and it was really interesting to hear their stories."

Mrs Turton joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service of the Army in October 1943.

She had a degree in German and French from Oxford University so she could understand the two languages.

This skill led to her being stationed at Bletchley Park, where she translated and scanned decoded German messages.

Mrs Turton added: "Scanning the German messages wasn’t as interesting as it sounds.

"It always amuses me when anyone assumes that it must have been exciting – it was important work but it wasn’t much fun.

"The best part of my time in the Army came after the end of the Second World War.

"When Bletchley Park was closed I was sent to Berlin."

Mrs Cockayne, 92, from Dorset, served as a Wren at Bletchley Park from 1944 to 1947 where she was involved in decoding German messages.

She was one of the 600 Wrens stationed at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.

Mrs Turton added: "Every girl wanted to serve in the Wrens because they had such a lovely uniform.

"I was on their waiting list initially but obviously went into the Army instead.

"Meeting other veterans like Lorna really helps you put the pieces together."

It was 50 years after Mrs Turton was discharged from the Army in 1946 that she started to lose her sight.

During a regular visit to the optician Mrs Turton was told she had age-related macular degeneration and that nothing could be done to stop her sight from getting worse.

Her daughter took her to an open day hosted by the Oxford Association for the Blind and she started to receive support from Blind Veterans UK in August last year.

Mrs Turton said: "Blind Veterans UK have given me fantastic free equipment to help me around the house.

"I have equipment that means that I can now make a cup of tea and tell the time – I even have talking scales to use when cooking."

National charity Blind Veterans UK estimates that there are currently 535 blind veterans in Oxfordshire

who are eligible to access its specialist support.

For more information visit blindveterans.org.uk