of experience, and by May, 1945 equipment and maintenance had reached a very high
level of performance.
Telephone maintenance work is mainly done by unestablished skilled workmen
and skilled workmen Class II. Recruitment for the maintenance force at Station X
was made almost entirely from men in these grades aged 20 - 22 years. The first
eight men came to Dollis Hill in April, 1942 a number of Chief Regional Engineers
having been asked to recommend good men. A selection was made on the basis of
paper qualifications, mostly City and Guilds certificates. The selection of the
men after the first eight was based solely on their technical qualifications, the
type of work on which they bad been engaged and (where possible) their performance
at the Post office Training Centre, where men are trained for normal Post office
work. The total number of men engaged in maintenance on "Fish" traffic eventually
The allocation of duties to the maintenance men was based on their previous
Post office experience and the aptitude which they had shown for various kinds of
work during the time they spent at Dollis Hill. For a long time a rather critical
balance of manpower had to be held between maintenance and further construction.
The total manpower available at the beginning of 1944 had been so depleted by the
demands of the Armed Forces on the Post office Staff that no further suitable men
were available, and the men already engaged - including all the manufacturing
force at Dollis Hill and the P.O. Factory worked over 70 hours a week for many
It was the policy of the section that all its members should be encouraged
to interest themselves in all its activities and to improve their theoretical
knowledge. In practice it became increasingly hard for Wrens to get a complete
picture of an organisation in which they might have only done one job. Moreover
the mathematical style of the Research Logs made them unreadable for Wrens, and
before they (or new men) undertook chi-breaking and Colossus-setting on their own,
some other introduction to the theoretical side was needed.
Screeds and lectures on aspects of the work were issued or given from time
to time in 1944, but nothing was done systematically till the Education Committee
was founded in January, 1945. This committee of four men and 14 Wrens chosen
democratically arranged general lectures end "seminars" for small parties of
Colossus operators or other specialised groups. All lectures and Seminars
were given outside working hours and were voluntary. The Seminars for Colossus
operators were a complete success. The less mathematical general lectures were
The Education Committee co-ordinated the production of screeds and started a
General Fish Series of papers which were duplicated and available in every room.
31H STATISTICS BUREAU
In August, l944 a permanent Statistics Section was set up employing one or
two Wrens. The Statistics Bureau:
(i) Collected routine statistics , in particular 32 letter-counts of various
types, significant rectangles and numbers of messages set.
(ii)Helped the administration to prepare statistical reports.
(iii) Looked after the library and the publication of screeds.
(iv) Helped the research man to complete any statistics that he required.