EACHUS, Barbara (Abernethy) Died at her Cambridge, Massachusetts, home on February 14, 2012, after a long illness. Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in 1921, she was convent-schooled in Belgium where she became proficient in French, German and Flemish languages. Recruited by the British Foreign Office at the age of 16, she was immediately transferred to the Government Code & Cypher School. In August 1939 she was sent to Bletchley Park which would become the ultra-secret Enigma-code-breaking facility. Starting out in decoding she would soon be snatched into administration where she became the personal assistant to the Deputy Director of GCCS, Cdr. Alastair Denniston. By the end of the war she was responsible for keeping the personnel records for the thousands of people working at Bletchley Park. Immense secrecy surrounded the operation and she was one of those whom Winston Churchill praised for cracking the code in which the Germans relayed their military messages, calling the staff there "the geese that laid the golden eggs and never cackled." She was the person who locked that facility's door for the last time in 1946. Coming to the United States in 1947 she became part of the staff of the British Joint Services Mission, Washington, D.C. At that point she married her husband, the late Dr. Joseph J. Eachus, who had come to Bletchley Park during the war as a U.S. naval officer, being the first American assigned there. In 1956, she joined the British Consulate-General in Boston as personal assistant to the Consul-General and acting as Information Officer. Later, she was designated Vice-Consul (Information), finally retiring from the consulate in 1986. In 1971, she was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Member of the Order of the British Empire. In 1976 she was instrumental in coordinating the visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip to Boston marking the American bicentennial, and being the first visit to Boston by a reigning British monarch. After her retirement, Dr. and Mrs. Eachus established the Marshall Scholarship Alumni Association, now the Association of Marshall Scholars. They also created the organization's first comprehensive alumni-association database and initially produced the association newsletter. She is survived by two stepsons, Dr. Alan Eachus of Chicago and Dr. James Eachus of Seattle. A celebration of her life will be held in the future. Contributions in memory of Barbara Eachus may be made to the Bletchley Park Trust, The Mansion, Sherwood Drive, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK3 6EB, England, or at bletchleypark.org
, or to the Marshall Scholarship program at marshallscholar.org
Brown & Hickey Funeral Home 617-484-2534 617-547-1500
Published by Boston Globe from Feb. 18 to Feb. 19, 2012.