AN historic photograph from the Second World War top secret codebreaking centre at Bletchley Park, found at a local charity shop, has been returned to its owner.

Ella Hope Martin (98), a former leading aircraft woman during the war, has been reunited with the photograph, after what her family described as a “happy accident”.

The picture was found by former shop manager, Billy Fairless, at the Relate charity shop in Hexham, and was returned to Ella after it was published in last week’s Hexham Courant.

Ella, of Hallington, worked at Hexham Hospital before being called upon in 1944, aged just 23, to assist in the wartime efforts. Having trained all over the country, Ella was stationed at hut 151 at Bletchley Park, from 1944-45, and was responsible for taking messages using Morse code.

Describing her time at Bletchley as “an experience”, Ella remembered days spent cycling, even going as far as Lincoln on one occasion, and enjoying the best of West End theatre, with a firm favourite being, Fiddler on the Roof.

She also described occasions when she and her friends, Betty and Esme, would hitch-hike to and from Bletchley Park to London, which “brings back a lot of good memories”.

There were, however, some hair-raising moments amongst the fun, with Ella remembering a flying bomb attack, from which she was carried to safety by a soldier from Durham, which she said, “wasn’t that bad, in the end”.

Ella, a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force Association, said: “It is nice to play a small part of history.” And referring to a letter from former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, she said it meant a lot to be recognised.

Unearthing the picture once more has allowed Ella to share her experiences of what she descibed as “happy times” at Bletchley, which played a vital role in breaking the Enigma Code.