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Former British volunteer helped decode wartime German messages

The loss of a personal friend pushed Theo Hopkinson to volunteer in the Second World War. At the time she lived in Cardiff, Wales, where German aircraft regularly bombed the city docks.

“One day, when I was at school, I was sent home to see why one of the girls in my class hadn’t come (to class),” Hopkinson said. “I walked to her house and bodies were being brought out.”

During the aerial raid, bombs fell on her classmate’s house and exploded. Then only 17, Theo decided to volunteer for the military.

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Veteran recalls her secretive role during WWII

As she remembered, it was 3 a.m. and Madge Trull was sleeping soundly in her bed. Suddenly she heard noise and was hastily wakened. All the women in her dormitory were told to get dressed and pack as quickly as possible. “So we said, ‘What for?’ They said, ‘You will be (told) later.’ So we said, ‘Oh goodness. It’s terrible not knowing something, but OK we’ll go along with it,’” Trull said. “We were in the services, so you do go along with it.” It was the height of the Second World War in Britain. Madge Trull was about to finish her three-week probationary period in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, known as the WRENS.