The Diplomatic Wireless Service (DWS) was the name of the communications system set up for the British Foreign Office by Brigadier Richard Gambier-Parry, the first Foreign Office Director of Communications, in the latter part of 1945. It grew out of the Special Communication Units (SCU) which were responsible for communications for MI6 during the war. Its original base was at Whaddon Hall in Buckinghamshire, but it moved to Hanslope Park (also in Buckinghamshire) in the winter of 1946/47.[1] [2] Hanslope Park is still the HQ of its successor, Her Majesty's Government Communications Centre (HMGCC). The primary role of the DWS was communications between British embassies and the UK, but it also operated and maintained transmitters at home and abroad on behalf of the Foreign Office for the broadcasting of the European Service of the BBC and the BBC Overseas Service, which were combined as the BBC World Service in 1988.[3]

Role of DWS in signals intelligence[edit | edit source]

DWS operators were also involved in radio eavesdropping, the gathering of signals intelligence (SIGINT) for GCHQ, from within the compounds of embassies. The first of these undercover stations was established at Ankara in 1943[4]; another important station was at Stockholm, a location ideally suited for the monitoring of radio traffic from the Soviet Union.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Aldrich, Richard J (2010). "Chapter 3 - Every war must have an end". GCHQ - The uncensored story of Britain's most secret intelligence agency. London: Harper Press. pp. 666. ISBN 978-0-00-731265-8. 
  2. Pidgeon, Geoffrey (2003). The Secret Wireless War - The story of MI6 communications, 1939-1945. St Leonards-on-Sea: UPSO. pp. 381. ISBN 1-84375-252-2. 
  3. "Why is the HQ called Bush House?". Retrieved 2010-07-13. 
  4. Aldrich p. 58
  5. Aldrich p. 192
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