Hanslope Park

THE SECRET COMMUNICATIONS UNIT THAT RULED THE AIRWAVES

Tucked away on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, almost hidden from view by trees, sits Hanslope Park. The unassuming main building was built in 1692, the former home to the Watts family and site of the infamous murder of Edward Watts by one of his gamekeepers in 1912.

Now a busy modern facility, home to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Her Majesty’s Government Communications Centre (HMGCC), it continues to have an air of mystery as only staff and selected officials have access to it.

Hanslope Park was requisitioned for war use and in 1942 it was taken over by Section VIII of the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) and became the home of the Special Communications Unit 3 (SCU3), otherwise known as the Radio Security Service (RSS). Brigadier Richard Gambier-Parry had formed the unit in 1938 and moved it from its original home at Wormwood Scrubs prison, via Arkley View in Barnet.

Its initial responsibility was to provide secure wireless telegraphy communications to SIS agents in the field, reducing the need to rely on unsecured commercial telegraph links, but its remit grew quickly.

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