A WARTIME hero from Wythall, who worked at the famous Bletchley Park code-cracking base for much of World War II has been awarded France's highest honour.

Charlotte Webb, also known as Betty, was awarded the Legion d'Honneur in the presence of France's Honorary Consul, Mme Cécile Le Duff, at the Edgbaston Park Hotel and Conference Centre.

The 98-year-old, originally from Shropshire cut short her studies in domestic science for what she felt was ‘her duty’ to sign up and volunteer for the war effort.

She completed six weeks’ basic training with the ATS before being transferred to Bletchley Park until the end of the war, moving to the Pentagon in Washington.

Ms Webb said: "“It was quite a culture shock for a country girl like me from Shropshire as there I was doing my training with girls from different backgrounds, cities and towns.

“It was quite an eye-opener in every sense, especially when it came to learning various things such as gas mask training, bomb threat drills, learning how to address and be instructed by one’s seniors."

While working at Bletchley, Charlotte had to sign the Official Secrets Act, meaning not even her parents knew what she was doing.

However, during her time there, she revealed that she was part of a team that helped paraphrase Japanese encoded messages and sent on to those posted elsewhere.

After the war ended, Charlotte eventually decided to join the Territorial Army unit in Chester.

She said: “After the war, finding a job proved difficult and my heart was always in the Armed Forces.

“So I decided to join up again as I had enjoyed my first stint and ended up in Birmingham in the role of Recruitment Officer for the whole of the West Midlands.

“It was a lot of travelling but I thoroughly enjoyed it and the comradery within the Forces is something quite unique and that I truly embraced.

“Even after leaving in 1968, I still remained involved in the Armed Forces Community, and I am a member of Wythall branch and WRAC President of the Birmingham branch.”

After leaving the Army, Charlotte married in 1970 and began work with the Birmingham Law Society before retiring in 1986.

She was awarded an MBE in 2015.