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VMs: OT: You can't keep Bletchley vets down!

Pity we can not get them interesteded in the VMS or the Hampton Diaries

----- Original Message -----
> http://www.guardian.co.uk/arts/news/story/0,11711,1214603,00.html
> Bletchley veterans tackle 'toughest puzzle yet'
> Enigma code solvers try to unravel 1748 inscription on estate's shepherd
> monument
> Sandra Laville
> Wednesday May 12, 2004
> The Guardian
> For 250 years it has exercised the minds of theologians, historians and
> scientists. Charles Darwin was observed pondering its meaning, and Josiah
> Wedgwood spent many an hour attempting to decipher its cryptic
> Some hope it may hold the secret of the whereabouts of the Holy Grail.
> Books have been written, documentary films made and poems penned in an
> attempt to explain it, but the mystery contained in an 18th century
> in the grounds of Lord Lichfield's estate in Staffordshire has eluded
> interpretation.
> In the hope of succeeding where so many others have failed and finally
> cracking the conundrum, a group of veteran codebreakers from Bletchley
> arrived at Shugborough House near Milford yesterday, armed with proven
> matter and years of experience in deciphering the German enigma codes.
> Tucked away within the 900-acre grounds, they found their puzzle: a stone
> monument built around 1748, containing a carved relief of Nicholas
> Les Bergers d'Arcadie II in reverse. The picture shows a female figure
> watching as three shepherds gather around a tomb and point at letters
> an inscription carved upon it, which read: Et in Arcadia Ego! (And I am in
> Arcadia too.) Beneath it the letters O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V. are carved, and
> underneath them a D and an M.
> The staff at Bletchley Park, called in to cast an expert eye upon the
> monument, could not resist the challenge and turned to some of the
> members of the team who had spent the second world war deciphering codes.
> Viewing it for the first time Oliver Lawn, 85, one of the former employees
> of Bletchley Park, had no doubt that there was a secret to unravel,
> contained both in the picture and the inscription beneath, and probably
> based upon missing letters from classical texts.
> Mr Lawn, a Cambridge maths graduate who was among the first civilians to
> recruited to Bletchley in 1940, deciphered more than 5,000 German codes
> during the war, using the enigma machine.
> He and his colleagues helped to divert German bombers from British cities
> breaking the codes that set the radio beams the Nazis used to lead their
> planes to the target. The successes of the decipherers is thought to have
> shortened the war by two years.
> Their work was so secretive that it was not until recently that Mr Lawn's
> wife, Sheila, another Bletchley veteran, discovered what his role had
> But while Mr Lawn normally succeeded in cracking the German wartime codes,
> he believes the enigma of Shugborough's monument will not be unravelled
> easily.
> "It is totally different in terms of difficulty to what I used to do
> the war," he said. "I think you need classical knowledge as well as
> ingenuity. This is a language rather than a mathematical code.
> "Within its genre I would say it's the most challenging I have ever had to
> tackle. What we need is a bit more intelligence about the family from the
> documents held at the estate to try and find a key to breaking this. There
> is always a key, but if this was a code between two people and only they
> knew it, it could be almost impossible to decipher."
> Over the years there have been a number of theories posited about the
> meaning contained in the Shepherd's Monument. Chief among these is the
> belief that the connections of the estate's creators, the Anson family,
> the grand masters of the closed society of Knights Templar, and the
> supernatural myths surrounding the estate - where lay lines meet, rivers
> cross and UFO spotters regularly gather - are evidence that the carving
> holds the secret to the Holy Grail.
> Other solutions are more prosaic. The current Lord Lichfield's
> great-grandmother believed the letters represented the lines of a poem
> Roman mythology about a shepherdess: "Out of your own sweet vale Alicia
> vanish vanity twixt Deity and man, thou shepherdess the way."
> There is always the possibility that the letters mean very little. Richard
> Kemp, the estate's general manager, said: "They could of course be a
> secret, which everyone in the family knows about and which is of little
> consequence. But it's like Everest, you climb it because it's there.
> a code here, so everyone wants to unravel it."

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