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My Mum the code breaker; Writers' book tells tale of WWII's unsung heroine's.


A SON has written a children's book about his mother's secret life as a listener for wartime code breakers.

Mick Manning's book, called Taff in the Waaf, about his mum Muriel Jones, is being launched at the Edinburgh festival this summer.

Mrs Jones, now aged 85, was born and brought up in Colwyn Bay before joining the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF).

She was later sent as a wireless operator to work at RAF Chicksands in Bedfordshire which had a signal intelligence collection unit known as a Y Station.

It intercepted German messages and passed them to the Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, Buckinghamshire.

Mick, 51, has co-written the book with his partner Brita Granstr|m.

He said: "I didn't know exactly what Mum did in the war. She'd signed the Official Secrets Act.

"It wasn't until the Enigma film came out in the Eighties that she realised she could talk about what she'd done.

"My Mum and the people at Chicksands listened to messages and took the information down to the boffins at Bletchley Park to crack the codes that saved us all.

"I wanted to write a book about how it wasn't just the bullets, bombs and Yanks that won us the war. It was the quiet, non-violent people too."

The book, which takes its title from the nickname for south Walian Welsh people, also refers to her childhood in Colwyn Bay and features several illustrations of the resort.

Mick himself spent many happy childhood summers there although he now lives in the Scottish borders. His Mum lives in Cumbria.

The book is a follow up to Mick's Carnegie Medal nominated book Tail-End Charlie about his father, an RAF air gunner.

Bletchley Park Museum Director of Education Victoria Worpole praised the new book. She said: "It is wonderful to see a children's book that highlights the vital work carried out by women during WWII - especially the work for Bletchley Park."

Parents of four sons, Mick Manning and Brita Granstr|m have perfected their unique approach to children's books over 18 years.

Sharing the illustrations and mixing up words and pictures in all sorts of inventive and delightful ways, they have won many awards, including the Smarties Silver Award and the English Association Award three times.

When not working on books, they like to draw, paint and canoe.

. Taaf in the Waaf by Mick Manning and Brita rita Granstr|m (pounds 11.99) is published in September 2 and is available from book shops and It will be launched at the Edinburgh Festival next week.


Author Mick Manning and Brita Granstr|m with his mother Muriel Jones
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 23, 2010
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