HMS Anderson - Ceylon

Discussion in 'Top Secret' started by Tom OBrien, Oct 10, 2012.

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  1. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Hi,

    Anyone done any research into HMS Anderson which was the base from which Signals Intercept and Code-breakers (?) operated in Ceylon. I would be very interested in seeing if I could find a list of officers based there in 1943.

    Tom
     
  2. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    I'm researching a great uncle who served in the RAF during the Second World War and have found a letter addressed to him at the following unit address: S.E.C.S RAF Ceylon. Does anyone know what the S.E.C.S. stands for? The date was November 1943.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  3. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Hi,

    Anyone done any research into HMS Anderson which was the base from which Signals Intercept and Code-breakers (?) operated in Ceylon. I would be very interested in seeing if I could find a list of officers based there in 1943.

    Tom

    Hi,

    If you use the NA Discovery search engine:

    Advanced | The National Archives

    and search on "HMS Anderson", you will find some records of this location.
    If you can't get to Kew, a couple of chaps on here can obtain documents for you at reasonable cost.

    I've no idea what S.E.C.S. is.

    Also noted: "Records for 1941-1943 do not survive."
     
  4. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Geoff,

    Many thanks, I've found a file containing the "History of HMS Anderson" which is were I'll start. I've also found a reference to a RAF Experimental Signals Centre (ESC rather than SECS) but perhaps another place to have a look as my great uncle is recorded as being a Flight Lieut. (Technical Branch - Signals).

    Cheers

    Tom
     
  5. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    I did find a genealogy forum where someone had posted some photos of HMS Anderson, but the link was dead, it was from around 2006. Google finds a few references.
     
  6. geoff501

    geoff501 Achtung Feind hört mit

    Michael Smith's 'The Emperors Codes' has some references to Anderson. Seems to have been a Navy Code breaking intercept/station. Connected to Hut 7 at Bletchley Park, so most of the staff seem to have been civilian code breakers and some WRENS working on Japanese JN25 codes. Might not be enough in the book to interest you, but there are two photos of the camp.
     
  7. Tom OBrien

    Tom OBrien Senior Member

    Geoff,

    Many thanks again for the reference, I will add it to the list of books to look at.

    Regards

    Tom
     
  8. Jayne987

    Jayne987 New Member

    I was just wondering if you have found out what SECS stands for?
    I have a number of letters from an RAF chap which he addresses as SECS, R.A.F. Ceylon, dated 1943/4 .
    I've tried searching his name and service number but can find no further information.

    Regards,
    Jayne
     
  9. Mike Coombs

    Mike Coombs New Member

    My mum was a wren (cipher clerk) and was married at the time to Harold E. Bennett, who was as far as I know a Naval Intelligence officer, also based at HMS Anderson, and 8 years her senior (at the time that would have made him approximately 45). I have a couple of letters from her to my uncle in 1945 that came from HMS Anderson. I have a letter from July 1943 c/o NBI in Mombasa, East Africa. I'm actually trying to find out more about her service history, particularly in Singapore as she told me she was on the last (or one of the last) boats out when the Japanese invaded. She apparently divorced Harold Bennett after the war and married my father. I don't know any more than that at the moment. I don't know whether this will be a help to you or not as you were talking about HMS Anderson in '43, but I thought I'd contact you anyway in case.
     
    bamboo43 likes this.
  10. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Well-Known Member

    At a guess this article 'Sri Lanka’s Secret Sigint Stations' from 2018 is written by a Sri Lankan researcher, on an aspect of UK SIGINT in WW2 and beyond which I knew nothing about. Worth a read, especially how 'perfidious Albion' hoodwinked the locals for so long the facility was innocuous.
    Link: https://roar.media/english/life/history/sri-lankas-secret-sigint-stations/
     
    Tom OBrien likes this.

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