SHE was part of a secret crack team of codebreakers who unravelled the mysteries of Nazi communications which helped defeat Adolf Hitler.

And seven decades after serving at Bletchley Park intelligence headquarters, which played a vital role in winning World War Two, June Coleridge celebrated an achievement of her own last weekend.

The former director of Buckinghamshire Red Cross reached 90 years of age.

A large family gathering, totalling 35, over four generations, marked the ex-town councillor's milestone with a party and lunch at Court Garden, Marlow last Sunday.

The memories of Bletchley Park are still fresh, Mrs Coleridge told the Marlow Free Press.

"You were excited, you really were, working the machines, but the trouble was you never knew what had happened," she said.

Asked if she realised how crucial the work she was doing was at that time, she said: "No, no you didn't really realise anything very much it was terribly isolated.

"I was in an outstation at Gayhurst, which meant we hardly ever went into Bletchley Park itself, we were based in tin huts."

But asked if she felt proud thinking about the crucial part the intelligence headquarters played and her role in it, she said: "Yes, very."

Joined up aged 18 in 1940/1. She lived with an uncle who was building an aerodrome and learnt to fly during that time.

She said, however, that the work itself on the code breaking could be boring and her social life was limited.

She was also sent to Columbo in Sri Lanka as part of her intelligence work.

David Coleridge, one of June's three children, said: "I'm very proud of what she did there at Bletchley. Nobody knew until the later 1970s that anything had happened there, of course."

Last week Mr Coleridge, who works in the watch industry, took his mum back to Bletchley, where manufacturer Bremont was launching a watch called codebreaker. Bletchley Park veterans including Captain Jerry Roberts, a senior cryptographer, attended.

Mr Coleridge said his mother enjoyed the visit and Bletchley had retained its sense of historical importance. She posed for a by the now famous cypher cracking machines. Her birthday celebrations included a display showing photographs from her childhood to the present day. She moved to Marlow in 1952 with her husband Antony, who was a senior partner at well known solicitors Cripps and Stone in the High Street. June's three children, eight grandchildren and great-granddaughter poppy attended, with the latter wearing an outfit the codebreaker had made for her daughter 64 years ago.

The family thanked Court Garden and manager Daniel Taylor for being excellent hosts for the occasion.

THE Mayor of Marlow says it is "a complete honour" for the town to have a hero of World War Two such as June Coleridge in its ranks.

Cllr Suzanne Brown, who worked with June on Marlow Town Council, said: "I was completely knocked over by it when I first found out what she had done. I had no idea before that.

"It's a complete honour for us (to have a codebreaker in Marlow). I think people underestimate what she's done and I don't think many people about her Bletchley work.

"Reaching 90 is remarkable and I hope there are still many more years to come."

Mrs Coleridge, who ran as a Conservative candidate, became a town councillor aged 79 and served two terms before stepping aside in 2011.

Bletchley Park Facts.

• It was here that an organisation called the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) studied and devised methods to enable the Allied forces to decipher the military codes and ciphers • The mission was to crack the Nazi codes and ciphers that secured German, Japanese, and other Axis nation’s communications. • The most famous of the cipher systems to be broken at Bletchley Park was the Enigma.

• There were also a large number of lower-level German systems to break as well as those of Hitler's allies. • The work produced vital intelligence in advance of military operations. • It heralded the birth of the information age with the industrialisation of the code breaking processes enabled by machines such as the Turing/Welchman Bombe, and the world’s first electronic computer, Colossus.

• Thousands worked there during WW2 and some continued working to crack ciphers for the new Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) • For decades, those involved with wartime Bletchley Park would remain silent about those achievements. Intelligence chiefs considered it vital that the Soviet Union did not learn about it during the Cold War.

• In 1974 FW Winterbotham, who had worked on Ultra at wartime Bletchley Park, published a book called ‘The Ultra Secret’ about the work and accomplishments of the codebreaking hub. • The ban on talking about it was lifted after its publication although detail about ‘Britain’s Best Kept Secret’ emerged only gradually and sporadically over the years that followed.