WW2 codebreaker’s retreat on Donside

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A top MI6 codebreaker stationed at Bletchley Park during World War Two enjoyed regular retreats to the Donside hamlet of Corgarff.

Professor Reginald Victor Jones, a physicist and scientific military intelligence expert, spent many a month with his family in the Old Manse at Corgarff.

Born in London in 1911, Jones enjoyed a long and illustrious career as one of the main wizards during the secret war against Hitler.

He became a pillar of scientific education, and wrote notable books such as ‘Most Secret War: British Scientific Intelligence 1939-1945’ and ‘Reflection on Intelligence’.

After specialising in infa-red rays during his studies at Balliol College, Oxford, Professor Jones went on to become a scientific officer at the Air Ministry in 1936.

When the Second World War began, he became MI6’s principal scientific adviser; keeping up his Air Ministry connection for cover.

In 1939 he was based at Bletchley Park, the UK’s Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS), which during the Second World War regularly penetrated the secret communications of the Axis Powers.

However, the North-east was a region close to his heart.

In 1946 he returned to the area to take up the post of Chair of Natural Philosophy at the University of Aberdeen, which he held until his retirement in 1981.

Professor Jones married Vera Cain in 1940.

It was in Donside that their daughters, one of whom was a beauty queen, took part in grouse beating on the local estates.

Professor R V Jones died in 1997 aged 87 and is buried at Corgarff Cemetery, Strathdon.