Winifred Lamb at War: Room 40 and the BBC

Start: May 27, 2015 05:15 PM
End: May 27, 2015 06:15 PM

Location: Room 209, Institute of Archaeology

UCL Institute of Archaeology

David Gill (University Campus Suffolk) will give a seminar organised by the Institute's History of Archaeology Research Network on 27 May.


Winifred Lamb completed Part 2 of the Classical Tripos at Newnham College in 1917. She initially went to work in a military hospital but in December 1917 she was invited to attend an interview for 'an interesting job' by the wife of the diplomat, George Young. She was offered a place in Room 40, part of Naval Intelligence based in the Admiralty. She worked alongside Lt-Commander J.D. Beazley RNVR. They were able to attend the London sales, and in one instance they jointly purchased an Athenian amphora that was presented to the Ashmolean Museum. Beazley introduced her to Sir Sydney Cockerell, Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, and Lamb was invited to become Honorary Keeper of Greek Antiquities. 

In April 1940 she was approached, at the prompting of Sir Leonard Woolley, to join the BBC. From 1941 she worked in the Balkans section, and in the spring of 1942 she moved to the Turkish language section where she was responsible for preparing regular monitoring reports. This was a crucial period when the Allies were seeking to maintain Turkey's neutrality. In October 1944 she was seriously injured during a V1 rocket attack. She returned to work in late April 1945, monitoring the broadcasts to Turkey from Moscow. Lamb resigned from the BBC in February 1946 and joined a group of scholars, including John Garstang, to create what was initially called The Anglo-Turkish Institute of Archaeology at Ankara.

All welcome!

Any enquiries about the event may be directed to Amara Thornton.