24 MILES: 12 CODES: 12 DAYS

26 December - 6 January

Calling all Secret Agents... Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin is your virtual codebreaking challenge. Your mission is to cover 24 miles on foot through Soviet territory, decrypt vital intelligence about the blockade, cracking codes as you go and help bring our stranded contacts back to HQ. Do you have what it takes to accomplish your mission and deliver the final message before time runs out?

The 12 days of Christmas but not as you know it. Your mission begins on 26 December and you must complete, and deliver the final message by midnight on 6 January 2021. 

With three levels of codes to choose from; junior, codebreaker and cypher expert, get the whole family together this Christmas - you have 12 days and one chance to break the Soviet blockade. Sign up now

How it works

Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin is a virtual event that you can take part in anywhere in the world. Here’s how it works...

  1. Sign up for just £10 and link your phone or fitness tracker to your fundraising page (you can also record your miles manually if you prefer)
  2. Start walking at your own pace (from 26 December 2020)
  3. Receive updates and codes to crack after every two miles completed - three levels are available - Junior, Codebreaker or Cypher Expert
  4. Codes will be delivered straight to your inbox and you can select your level then
  5. Solve the codes to decipher the hidden message
  6. Complete the journey and deliver the message by the midnight on 6 January 2021.

Your mission…

It’s Christmas 1948. Since the fall of the Nazi regime, Germany has been carved up into four zones. In the West, there are three zones occupied by British, French and American troops. To the East, there are the Soviets. And there lies the problem. Deep inside the Soviet zone, hundreds of miles from the Western boundary, is the capital of Berlin. And like the rest of the country, Berlin, too, is divided into four zones.

Cooperation between East and West has deteriorated, and on 18 June 1948, Stalin’s communist regime closed road, rail and water supplies to West Berlin – leaving two million Germans cut off from vital resources. The city was already suffering from food shortages, crime and violence. But with the recent blockade stopping road and rail support from Western allies, the prospect of a peaceful Christmas seems bleak at best.

And yet, there is still hope. Operation Plainfare is well underway, with British and American troops flying supplies down a 100-mile air corridor to Tempelhof and Gatow. And now, with the Soviets dead-set on kicking Western allies out of Berlin, we need your help to beat the blockade before it’s too late. 

How? We need you to go beyond the blockade and discover the truth of what’s happening in the East. We’ve arranged for you to make contact with key officials, but you’ll need to move on foot and crack codes along the way to avoid being captured. It’s a frosty journey that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. Are you up to the challenge?

 

Register Now

 

The difference your generosity can make

£50 - could help cover travel costs so a veteran can attend a job interview.

£75 - could go towards the cost of a temporary wheelchair ramp, allowing an injured soldier to enter and leave their home.

£250 - could contribute towards the care home fees of a frail elderly veteran who requires continuous care.

£1000 - could help pay for home adaptations so that a veteran’s young disabled child can live in a safe and accessible environment.

 

Gift a place in Operation Bletchley

You can also buy a place in Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin to gift to someone else. The perfect stocking filler, or great for that one person who is impossible to buy for. 

It's simple:

  • Click one of the 'Register Now' buttons, and choose the 'gift' option. 
  • Enter your details (you won't be registered)
  • Provide the details of the lucky recipient
  • You'll be sent an e-mail within 24 hours containing a voucher which you can print off, or simply forward to the lucky person. 

Sponsor a friend

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About the event

We’ve all been there. It’s December 26 and you have big plans for the next few days but before you know it it’s New Years Day, you’re not sure what happened and trying to even do a crossword seems impossible. Enter..

Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin. Your Virtual Codebreaking challenge. Between 26 December 2020 and 6 January 2021 can you walk 24 miles and crack codes to reveal a hidden message that you must deliver before midnight on 6 January 2021?

Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin is part of the wider Operation Bletchley virtual challenge series.

What do I do?

Sign up now and you will automatically create your own event page. This is so much more than just a place for your fundraising. You will use this page to track your walks, rack up your miles, mark off your cracked codes and earn fundraising milestone badges. 

You can link your page directly with Strava, Fitbit or MapMyFitness to track your walks automatically or you can simply add your miles manually to your page. Instructions on how to do this can be found here. We recommend you do this at least 24 hours before the start of the event on 26 December 2020. 

Use any device you like, the site is set up to work on your mobile, tablet or laptop, making it easy to keep track of your challenge wherever you are. Share this page with the whole world and watch the donations add up.

Cover the 24 miles during the 12 days of Christmas and once you have cracked all the codes successfully and deciphered the final message you must deliver it by midnight on 6 January 2021 to receive your mission accomplished status and well deserved medal.

Codes

Every two miles you’ll get a new code to crack sent straight to your inbox. Solve this right away, or save them up for the end. You'll need to solve the first 11 codes to solve the final code.

Submitting your answers:

New for Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin, you can now submit the answer to each code in your event area on your fundraising page and find out instantly if you've solved each code correctly! To submit your answers simply follow these easy steps:

1.Log in to your page and go to 'Dashboard'

2.Click on 'Submit your answers'

3.Choose your level (Junior, Codebreaker or Cypher Expert_

4.Choose your code number

5. Enter your answer! You'll find out straight away if it is correct.

Distance

You must walk 24 miles during the 12-day period. Every two miles you’ll get a new code to crack. Wherever you are in the world, make your contribution count.

Fitness

This challenge is for everyone. While the challenge is to walk 24 miles you can push yourself as little or as much as you like. Run or walk, you can do the challenge in your own time or create a competition between your friends and family and race others to try and finish first with the added twist and codebreaking element.

Time

The challenge runs from the 26 December 2020 – 6 January 2021. Feel free to keep tracking your steps until the very end. Your fundraising page will stay open until the end of January, but you must submit your final answer by midnight on 6 January 2021 to qualify for your medal.

Your official Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin medal will be awarded if you receive 'Mission Accomplished' status by 6 January. You will need to break every code you receive and deliver the coded message on time.

In addition to your official Operation Bletchley medal there will also be a money can't buy fundraisers pin badge on offer. These will be awarded to anyone who raises £250 for The Soldiers' Charity.

Fundraising

Although there is no obligation to fundraise, we hope you will use your place in your Christmas mission to raise as much money as you can for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity to support soldiers, veterans and their families. There are also plenty of rewards on offer!  ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is the official Charity of The British Army and will be there for soldiers, for life.

Our great fundraising incentives:

  • First donation: Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin pencil
  • Raise £50: Receive your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin Puzzle Book
  • Raise £100: Receive your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin buff
  • Raise £150: Receive an Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin t-shirt
  • Raise £250: Receive your Commemorative Berlin Airlift pin badge

Have fun

Sign up and simply have fun testing yourself mentally and physically on your virtual codebreaking challenge.

A rewarding experience

Although there is no obligation to fundraise, we have some amazing incentives if you choose to do so. Your fundraising will also support soldiers, veterans and their families in need through the British Army's National Charity - ABF The Soldiers' Charity.

 

  • First donation: Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin pencil
  • Raise £50: Receive your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin Puzzle Book
  • Raise £100: Receive your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin buff
  • Raise £150: Receive an Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin t-shirt
  • Raise £250: Receive your Commemorative Berlin Airlift pin badge

Fundraising incentives will be posted out once a week until 18 December, and then any remaining incentives will be sent out at the end of January. If you would prefer not to receive these you can opt out either during registration or in the ‘My Account’ section after you have signed up.

Medals and more...

Your official Operation Bletchley medal will be awarded if you receive 'Mission Accomplished' status. To do this you simply need to deliver your correct coded message on time, by midnight on 6 January 2021.

Fundraising will remain open until the end of January 2021. After this date you will receive your medal.

Your fundraising results will be automatically included in our Fundraising Army promotions table, so you can compete with other supporters.

You’ll also be able to join the Operation Bletchley online community where you’ll find many like-minded people who will support and encourage you.

For more information or if you have any questions, please contact Agent L & Agent A on events@soldierscharity.org

How far will you rise?

By signing up to Operation Bletchley you’ll be enlisted into our elite Army – The Soldiers’ Charity Fundraising Army.

See the full list of promotions here.

Joining as a Private, your primary mission will be to raise vital funds to support our soldiers, veterans and their families. Do you have the drive to rise through the ranks whilst raising money to help those who fought and gave so much for us.

Where your money goes

 

The Soldiers’ Charity give a lifetime of support to soldiers and veterans from the British Army, and their immediate families, when they are in need. We make grants to individuals through their Regiments and Corps and support a wide range of specialist charities that sustain the British Army ‘family’, both at home and around the world.

We take pride in being responsive, making a difference at a critical point in people’s lives. We have been doing this since 1944, working with veterans of every conflict, and we envisage continuing doing so for the ‘long haul’ – supporting all future generations of our soldiers and their dependents.

“All soldiers, veterans and their immediate families should have the opportunity to avoid hardship and enjoy independence and dignity.”

Through fundraising initiatives like Operation Bletchley, you really can make a difference:

 

£50 - could help cover travel costs so a veteran can attend a job interview.

£75 - could go towards the cost of a temporary wheelchair ramp, allowing an injured soldier to enter and leave his home.

£250 - could contribute towards the care home fees of a frail elderly veteran who requires continuous care.

£1000 - could help pay for home adaptations so that a veteran’s young disabled child can live in a safe and accessible environment.

Thank you for your support.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19

Is it safe to take part in Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin during the current COVID-19 outbreak?

Whenever you take part in any challenge it is important to look after yourself. Please ensure you follow all government advice and look after your own safety as well as the safety of those you come into contact with. Under the current restrictions it is still possible to take part in Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin.

About the event

What is Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin?

Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin is a personal challenge, testing yourself physically and mentally that can be completed at any location. You can start at your pace anywhere in the world. To complete the challenge simply crack the codes and deliver the message to Major General Sir (Edwin) Otway Herbert, Commander of British Forces in Berlin before it’s too late.

What are the 3 levels of codes?

There are 3 different levels to participate in:

  1. Junior codebreaker – aimed at 8-12 year olds
  2. Codebreaker – Challenging
  3. Cypher Expert – Would be accepted at GCHQ!

Don’t be fooled into thinking the Junior codebreaker and codebreaker levels will be too easy!

What if I cannot crack a code?

When you receive your first email with the options of codes, if you choose Codebreaker and find further down the line you are unable to solve them you can return to your first email and select Junior codebreaker and complete the 12 codes in that level.

You can also choose the option of paying £5 for a clue to help crack your code! This does not count towards your fundraising target, but the money is donated directly to ABF The Soldiers' Charity.

How do I submit my answers?

New for Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin, you can now submit the answer to each code in your event area on your fundraising page and find out instantly if you've solved each code correctly! To submit your answers simply follow these easy steps:

1.Log in to your page and go to 'Dashboard'

2.Click on 'Submit your answers'

3.Choose your level (Junior, Codebreaker or Cypher Expert_

4.Choose your code number

5.Enter your answer! You'll find out straight away if it is correct.

Once I have solved all the codes what do I do?

Congratulations on getting this far! You now need to piece together the answers from your codes and work out the hidden message to deliver to Major General Sir (Edwin) Otway Herbert. Submit your answer and find out if you have accomplished your mission!

How do I track my walk?

You can track your walk using Strava or FitBit. These two fitness tracking services can be linked with your fundraising page so you can share your progress with your friends and family. If you cannot do this then you can manually add your completed miles to your page by logging on to your fundraising page from 26 December.

How do I link my page with Strava or Fitbit

If you have an account with either  of these two websites, you can now track your workouts on your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin fundraising page!

If you do not yet have an account with any of these services yet, please create one prior to following the below steps.

Create a Strava account here

Create a Fitbit account here (please note, you do not need a Fitbit to use the app)

Your profile page includes your personal distance tally so you can track your distance towards your target. This is a great way to keep your friends updated on your workouts!

If you track your workouts with Fitbit or Strava your distances will automatically add to your tally.

Please note, if using Fitbit you must ensure your device is set to track in miles, not kilometers. 

Follow these steps to track your miles automatically:

  1. Download the Fitbit or Strava app and set up your account
  2. Log in to your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin account.
  3. Under the heading ‘Connect your preferred Fitness app’, click your chosen app.
  4. Follow the prompts to connect your account
  5. When you next work out, select ‘start your workout’ in the app on your phone. Once you end your workout, save your workout and your distance will be published to the tally on your page the following day.

Can I hide my location on Strava?

Add Privacy Zones
A privacy zone will hide the portion of your activity that starts or ends in your zone from all athletes. For example, if you don’t want anyone to know where you live or work, you can set up a privacy zone between ? and ? mile (200m-1km) around your home address or your office address. This means that even as you share your walks on your fundraising page, they wouldn’t be able to pinpoint the start or endpoint of your activity.

To enable a Privacy Zone log into your Strava account. Click on the Privacy tab on the left side of the page. Enter an address or GPS coordinate in the text field provided under 'Hide your house/office on your activity maps,' select the size of the privacy radius, and click 'Create Privacy Zone.'

Can I use other tracker apps such as Garmin to record my miles to may page?

The only apps that will link directly with the software are Strava and FitBit but there is also the option to add your miles manually to your page.

Can I record my miles without a tracker?

Adding your miles manually


If you do not have a tracker you can link, do not worry, you can log your walks and manually add them to your account. Simply follow the below steps:

1. Log in to your account and select ‘My Fitness Activity’

2. Under ‘Add activity’, enter the date and distance

3. The number of miles will now appear on your fundraising page!

Registration

How much does it cost to take part?

It is just £10 to register for our 12 days of Christmas mission

Can I register a team?

Yes, during registration you can select 'create a team'. Once your registration is complete you can then share your team name or send your team mates the link to your team and they can register onto your team. They can also select 'Join a team' during their registration and search for your team name.

If I forget to create a team during my registration, can I do it at a later date?

Simply log back into your account, go to your fundraising page and you will see the 'create a team' button. Select this, create your team and share the team name/link for your team with mates so they can join it.

Fundraising

What is the fundraising target?

Although there is no fundraising obligation, we ask that you raise as much as you can. No matter how big or small your target is we are here to help you. How about aiming for one of the below targets to get you started?

  • First donation: Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin pencil
  • Raise £50: Receive your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin Puzzle Book
  • Raise £100: Receive your Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin buff
  • Raise £150: Receive an Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin t-shirt
  • Raise £250: Receive your Commemorative Berlin Airlift pin badge

Following feedback from previous Operation Bletchleys we have added the option to opt out of receiving incentives during registration. You can change your mind at any time by e-mailing events@soldierscharity.org

When you register for Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin you’ll also be enrolled into our Fundraising Army. The more you raise the higher you’ll rise through the ranks – click here to see the ranks you can achieve. Challenge yourself to see how high you can get; will you make it to Captain?

How do I raise money and where does it go?

Operation Bletchley: Christmas in Berlin is a fundraising event for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, with the money raised going towards helping soldiers, veterans and their families in times of greatest need. Find out more about who we’ve helped on our ‘Stories’ section.

Can I get help with fundraising?

Of course, the National Events Team is always available to help so please drop us an email events@soldierscharity.org . We can help with ideas, answer your queries and provide you with any fundraising materials you may need – collection tins, t-shirts, wristbands etc. We are here to help you!

Does Gift Aid count towards the incentives?

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity policy, like that of many other charities, is that Gift Aid is not included in sponsorship targets.

Can I fundraise online?

Absolutely – online fundraising is a fantastic way for you to collect sponsorship from your friends, family and colleagues, particularly those you don’t see every day. From your donors’ point of view, it is a quick, easy and secure method of donating. When you register for the event an online fundraising page is automatically created for you. This is your page, add your picture, write some text about what you’re doing and why, set your fundraising target, then send the link out to everyone you have ever met so that they can sponsor you easily and securely.

Can we fundraise as a team?

Yes – it can make your fundraising target easier to meet if you fundraise together. You will even have a team fundraising page which is created automatically when you register as a team.

However all fundraising incentives are based on your individual amount raised rather than your team total.

Any other questions?

If you have more questions, visit our contact page for more information.

Contact us

If you have more questions, please feel free to contact the team - the quickest way to get hold of us is to email us on events@soldierscharity.org