For those of you with accounts on You Tube, or indeed those who use it regularly, you will be aware that nowadays, as with so many things, our previous choices are tracked, and therefore the recommendation list you get will be full of videos that might just tempt you. I know, sinister stuff, but more on that shortly.
I’m not sure when, or why You Tube first suggested to me that I might be interested in the videos relating to what are known as numbers stations. I can only assume its because of that wicked mind control/brainwashing stuff I look at from time to time, but who knows?
Yes, to say they are a weird, and wonderful bunch would be to put it mildly. And no, despite the name, not all are actually listing numbers. Its believed most of it is a throwback to the years of the Cold War, though some (notably in Russia) are still active, but sadly, the one I’m going to focus on tonight, isnt. I dont know if it was the tune that attracted me especially, or the refined, very British voice of the lady reading the numbers (its suspected its automated, but who knows?), or the delightful emphasis that she puts on the final number in the set of 5. Yes, it is a British transmission, suspected (but never confirmed) to be MI6 to spies, and sent from a military base on Cyprus. As I say, its no longer active, last known transmission was in 2008, though of course no one knows why it stopped at that point, as there is no logical reason why it finished then, after about 28 years.
Was it just transmitted through Cyprus, or was it actually broadcast from there? I suspect it was the latter, though I very much doubt there was a lady sat in an office there, making the recordings, then distorting her voice slightly. Most likely, a lady recorded the numbers somewhere in one sitting, and then a device just read the series of numbers in her voice, as typed in, by someone else. Emphasis on last number, who knows, other than the assumption it was to signify the last number of the set?
As with all things espionage, I doubt we will ever get any answers to these questions. Lets face it, if a young lady recorded these back in 1980, when the station first seems to have gone on line, she’s as old, or slightly older than me. Quite possibly she was slightly older than that, so she is either in her very senior years, or passed away? Of course, it might not have been sending messages to spies, over the world, but its a reasonable assumption it was, during the height of the Cold War.
Or was there really a lady, presumably well paid, who lived on Cyprus for 28 years, reading these numbers over short wave radio at certain times of day? And if so, did she know what she was reading, or did she, like a good actress, just read the script placed in front of her? Would be an interesting role, if that was the case, for sure!
OK, the video. The station was known as Lincolnshire Poacher, for the call sign at the start of the message, and yes, the blog title is a line from said folk tune. The owner of the voice, and the significance of the message, who knows, probably better we dont! But hopefully, someone, all that time ago, did! Here is one of those messages, thanks to the Conet Archive