To mark Her Majesty’s visit to Bletchley Park, The Queen has issued a Code Book Challenge to schoolchildren.

The challenge is open to everyone, but is aimed especially at children between the ages of 13 and 16 as a summer project.

Your challenge is to use the attached Code Book to work out what the encoded messages say. Six messages have been constructed. The instructions are contained with the Code Book. Take care to read them carefully. You have until Thursday 18th August to complete the challenge.

For those aged between 13 and 16 and living in the UK, there is a seventh challenge. Message 7 is a question. Work out the answer to this question and send the answer – in plain English – with your full name, age, date of birth, parent/guardian(s) name, telephone number and full address including post code, to codechallenge@royal.gsx.gov.uk. Entries must be received by no later than 18.00 on Thursday 18th August 2011. The first correct answer drawn from all those received by the closing date will win a small prize.

The attached codebook is a simplified version of an original codebook which would have been produced by the British Government Code & Cypher School, GCHQ’s predecessor, for British agents operating behind enemy lines the Second World War. It would have been printed onto silk so that it could be sewn into the lining of a jacket to avoid detection. Agents would have sent and received messages using this code back to their headquarters in Britain.

Good luck.

Download the Code Book (pdf, 1.67MBs)
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