The school at JSSL Crail was formed in 1956, when three separate schools for the three services: Bodmin (Army), Caterham (Navy) and Cambridge (RAF), were amalgamated and relocated there. The intake was formed from selected conscripts undertaking their two years of National Service, which was compulsory at the time, and which ended in 1960. Those who took part avoided normal military training, but were subject to weekly testing, and would be returned to normal service if they failed to meet standard.
An exam was held after about three months, and those who passed with very high marks were sent to Cambridge or London to continue their Russian studies. Of the remainder, those who passed this first exam were allowed to continue their training at Crail, where they took a final exam after eight months. Successful candidates would be promoted to Leading Coder (Special), and sent for further instruction and practice in listening to groups of Russian numbers, which were read out like an encrypted message.
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