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Government Communications Headquarters

GCHQ is one of Britain's three major Intelligence Agencies. GCHQ works in partnership with the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6) to protect UK national security interests. GCHQ is responsible for providing Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and information assurance. Its main customers are the UK Government and the British Armed Forces.

GCHQ logo since 2018

GCHQ started life during World War I as GC&CS, the Government Code & Cypher School. In WWII, they established a major codebreaking operation at Bletchley Park (which is now a museum). Immediately after WWII, in 1946, the name was changed to GCHQ and eventually moved to Eastcote. In 1951, GCHQ moved to Cheltenham, where the organization is still located today.

The image on the right shows the current GCHQ headquearters in Cheltenham (UK) at the point where the building was nearly finished in 2003. The building is nicknamed 'the Doughnut'.   
Copyright Kelsey Roofing, UK


GCHQ logo. Click here to go to the GCHQ website.


Although GCHQ is a secret - and therefore rather closed- organisation, they present themselves to the general public regularly, and provide information about their work, their responsibilities and their history. GCHQ was, for example, one of the major sponsors of the Enigma Reunion 2009 at Bletchley Park, where they exhibited a number of rare cipher machines and methods.

At the event, crypto collectors from all over the world had come to Bletchley Park for the weekend, to show the most special items from their collection. As the major sponsor of the event, GCHQ occupied the stand immediately opposite the entrance to the venue.

The image on the right shows two GCHQ employees (right) explaining the ins and outs of a rare cipher machine to a couple of WWII BP-veterans.

 More about the Enigma Reunion 2009
People at the GCHQ stand at the Enigma Reunion 2009. Copyright Kevin Coleman [3].

GCHQ stand at Enigma Reunion 2009. Copyright Frederic Andre [2].
People at the GCHQ stand at the Enigma Reunion 2009. Copyright Kevin Coleman [3].
People at the GCHQ stand at the Enigma Reunion 2009. Copyright Kevin Coleman [3].

  1. GCHQ website
    Retrieved September 2009.

  2. Frederic Andre, Enigma Reunion 2009, Bletchley Park
    Website. 5-6 September 2009.

  3. Kevin Coleman, Photographs of Enigma Reunion 2009
    Personal correspondence. November 2009.

  4. GCHQ, New GCHQ logo
    30 April 2018.
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