Published date: 12 July 2013

Before Bletchley Park could break the German war machine’s codes, the enemy’s radio traffic and communications were monitored around the clock by the Listening Service – a team of young men and women based in every theatre of war who intercepted and transcribed with a speed few have ever managed since, so that code breakers could turn the course of the war.

This organisation – known as the ‘Y’ (for ‘Wireless’) Service – was just as secret as Bletchley Park during the war but nowadays is little-known or recognised. The Service went wherever the war went, with listeners posted to Cairo to listen in to Rommel’s Eighth Army, Casablanca in Morocco, Karachi for the Burma campaign, or in one case even the idyllic Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean to monitor Japan. Sinclair McKay chronicles the history and achievements of this remarkable organisation and the people who worked for it.

Sinclair McKay writes for the Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday and The Spectator and is a judge for this year’s Encore award for best second novel. His books include the bestselling The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, and he is currently working on another project on the Second World War. He lives in London, and likes nothing more than truffling through archives.

Author: Sinclair McKay Duration: 00:39:25

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...

Leave a comment


You can find help on how to download and listen to our podcasts in our quick guide to getting started. If you wish to re-use any part of a podcast, please note that copyright in the podcasts and transcripts in some cases belongs to the speakers, not to the Crown. Please contact the Copyright Officer with queries. If commenting, please be aware of our moderation policy.


Select an option to receive our free podcast series, using either RSS or iTunes. See our help guide for more information on podcast subscription.