Webb, Betty

Betty Webb was born May 13, 1923, near the town of Ludlow in Shropshire, England.  She grew up in the countryside, where she remembers long walks picking wildflowers, and she was home-schooled – so she also remembers cataloguing those same flowers!  Betty’s mother had had German housekeepers in the 1930s, so Betty learned to speak some German both there and on a 1930s exchange to Dresden, a skill that would affect her wartime service.  When the war came, Betty volunteered for the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), the women’s branch of the British Army during the Second World War.  She went through the standard period of training, but an intelligence officer interviewed her, and because she was bilingual she was transferred to Bletchley Park.  There Betty was part of the clerical staff, helping to maintain the operations of Britain’s intelligence community, all while observing the protocols of the Official Secrets Act.  At war’s end she was sent to the Pentagon, where she did the same type of work dealing with Japanese messages.  On her return to England, Betty had to deal anew with rationing and other restrictions, and she was still bound by the OSA, which made it difficult for her to find work.  She persisted though, and an old Bletchley connection was able to help her.  Betty continued her connection to the armed forces after the war, and later in life she married and eventually was able to tell the story of her wartime service.  Crestwood students were fortunate to zoom with Betty in November 2022.