Sydney Ambury – Royal Northumberland Fusilliers – WW1 and WW2 military serviceย 

I’ve found this letter about my great grandfather Sydney Ambury’s (1885-1944) army service record and his obituary. 

 I’d love to understand more about what he did and what it meant. If you can help at all please comment below. 


I only discovered a few years ago that Sydney was born Solomon Benjamin Hamburg in Spitalfields the 8th child of Dutch Jewish parents Benjamin Hamburg and Flora Salomon Rina. Previous to then I and the rest of my family had no idea that he was Jewish or that he came from London. 

At 17 Sydney enlisted in the army in Hounslow and at 18 started serving in the British Army in Newcastle. 

I would love to know anything that anyone can shed light on in terms of my family history and his military service. 

Thanks for any information you can share ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘

My day: 18th March 2016 – Saving Bletchley Park book signing, lunch at the Shard celebrating my sister Sarah’s birthday and “Performing for the camera” at Tate Modern.ย 

Had a lovely day yesterday signing copies of my book “Saving Bletchley Park” in 3 branches of Foyles, lunch at the Shard celebrating my sister Sarah’s birthday, and then the “Performing for the camera” exhibition at the Tate Modern ๐Ÿ˜€โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜€

From Ada Lovelace at Townley Girls Grammar to #girlswithgoals at Bishop Challoner Girls

I’ve just had a fabulous couple of weeks giving talks and being on panels in Manchester, London, Surrey and Oxford. I spoke at three schools: Surbiton High, Townley Girls Grammar and Bishop Challoner girls and met lots of really wonderful pupils and staff ๐Ÿ˜€

Great view on the train home from fab panel at the Civica conference

The first event was a panel at the Civica EXPO in Manchester. It was a great panel, chaired by Rory Cellan Jones. I somehow managed to take no pics ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

Opening the new Ada Lovelace computing suite at Townley Girls grammar school


I was well looked after by the fabulous students at Townley Grammar ๐Ÿ˜€


Great to catch up with friends at Oxford Geek night

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On stage at Oxford Geek Night


Speaking at #wintech16

The “Women of Silicon Roundabout” conference #wintech16 was a great conference aimed at women in tech. I listened to several really great talks and also gave one myself.

Catching up with fab Sophie Walker at Lady Val’s networking lunch

After a quick lunch I dashed over to Covent Gardne for Lay Val’s networking lunch. I’m so delighted that Sophie Walker (above) has been elected to compete to be London’s Mayor. I’m a strong supporter of the Women’s Equality Party which Sophie is representing.

“Dreams can come true” my keynote at Bishop Challoner girls school launching #girlswithgoals

Final stop for the day was Bishop Challoner school in Tower Hamlets. I gave a keynote called “Dreams can come true” for 100 girls and their parents at the #girlswithgoals event. There were several other speakers who were really great, plus singing from the extremely talented Nathalie Reid, dance and cheerleading too. It was a great evening. Hats off to the staff and students at Bishop Challoner for a fabulous evening.

Signing my book “Saving Bletchley Park” for pupils at Bishop Challoner

I really enjoyed chatting to the fab pupils at Bishop Challoner school

ย  All in all it was a whirlwind of a few days. I really loved meeting the children and talking to them about Bletchley Park, plus life, the universe and everything ๐Ÿ™‚

Fabulous autumn weekend in Paris via Eurostar using Citymapper and Airbnbย 

I had a wonderful weekend this weekend celebrating my boyfriend’s birthday in Paris. We left London St Pancras station on the 11.01 train on Saturday morning arriving at Gare du Nord at 2:17pm (1 hour time difference).

Using Citymapper one of my favourite apps, we found our Airbnb apartment near Bastille Metro really easily. After dropping our bags we pottered around for a bit then walked towards the centre of Paris soaking up the atmosphere and the autumn sun. As it started to get dark we ventured into a bar/restaurant called Kong, where amazingly there were photos of 3 women on a digital display including one with hair very similar to mine.   

After a couple of drinks we had a delicious  dinner in the swanky glass domed restaurant. 
Full of food and drink we walked out and over Pont Neuf stopping to watch the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the distance ๐Ÿ˜€

 We walked along the riverside, then crossed back over another bridge towards the Louvre and Pyramide. 
We then walked back in the general direction of our apartment stopping for a drink at a street cafe before getting the Metro for a couple of stops and getting a (reasonably) early night.  
Sunday morning we woke up full of beans and went for breakfast at a cafe over the road. “Le Francais” breakfast was โ‚ฌ8, the croissant was DIVINE ๐Ÿ˜€

We then went for a walk along the Promenade Plantee, the Paris forerunner to New York’s Highline. It was busy with walkers and runners alike, plus a few sleeping party goers on benches, who hadn’t made it home from Halloween parties the night before. 

I was tempted, but didn’t take pics of the sleeping partygoers. 

We walked Promenade Plantee for several kilometres stopping for a drink (of coffee and water) at a small cafe. I made the mistake of asking for the “salle de bain” rather than “toilette” in the cafe and was kindly corrected by the lovely waiter. Maybe I had been trying to be posh? I’m not sure lol. 

We then walked up to Bel-Air Metro  and got a train to Bir Hakeim station near…..  

 ….the Eiffel Tower ๐Ÿ˜€

We took this pic down a side street before having French onion soup and steak frites before going for a walk around the base of the tower and then through the park. 

I wanted to go to Sacre Coeur to look at the view at dusk, so we got back on the Metro at Ecole Militaire for the journey to Abbess station. 

We walked up the stairs at Abbess station and then the countless steps up to the Sacre Coeur. Bloody hell. That’s a lot of steps. I’d forgotten how many ๐Ÿ˜ฑ

There were a lot of people there in front of Sacre Coeur sitting around, smoking (so many more people smoke in Paris than in London!) and chatting and watching the sun set. 

We walked around Monmartre, past some great views, and a Windmill, before sitting outside another cafe for a nice cold beer before making our way back to Gare du Nord for the Eurostar home. 

  On the way to the Metro we passed the Moulin Rouge. 
We got the 8.43pm train home which arrived at 10pm. I love Eurostar ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘

It was a fabulous weekend, I highly recommend Paris as a great place for a relaxed weekend trip from London. I had thought that it might be a bit rushed, but it wasn’t, we had plenty of time and got home feeling relaxed and refreshed. I can’t wait to go back….  

Saving Bletchley Park at Chester Literary Festival

Last night Steve Colgan and I gave a @savingbletchley book talk at Chester Literary Festival. We travelled up together on the train from London together during the afternoon. 

Arriving at Chester station around 5pm ๐Ÿ˜€


After dropping our bags at the hotel we made our way over to Chester Town Hall. 


I was so excited as it was the first time I’d given a talk at a literary festival, and the first time I’d read from my book in public. 

Steve was great to be on stage with. 

And the audience were great too, they asked lots of good questions. 


Questions about the veterans, social media, crowdfunding, cryptography, Enigma, computing and much more ๐Ÿ˜€

   It was a very enjoyable 90 minutes. 

  Afterwards Steve and I took a selfie

  Then walked through a very beautiful Chester city centre. 



 Before arriving at Hickory’s restaurant by the river for some delicious ribs ๐Ÿ‘


 And frozen yogurt ๐Ÿ˜€

This morning we made our way to Chester station before parting ways, Steve going back off to London

  And me to Manchester, catching up on a bit of reading and knitting on the way 



Thanks Mark Carline for the pics not take by me ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘  

“Saving Bletchley Park”, New York roasting, Cheltenham Literary Festival, Raspberry Pi, GCHQ and “Women in the World”

I’ve had a fabulous last couple of weeks, here are some of the highlights, in pictures. No wonder I’m tired ๐Ÿ˜‰

I received and started making the final changes to my “Saving Bletchley Park” manuscript



I got to have a great catchup there with the wonderful Vanessa Vallely



I met Elaine Finn and after a couple of glasses of wine at the reception we decided to take a daring selfie ๐Ÿ˜‰



After the BBC event finished a few of us went for dinner ๐Ÿ™‚


My lovely son Olly and DiL Tony made a fab family lunch


My grandson Felix took a liking to mushrooms


The next day I flew to New York


..and found myself upgraded to business class! Woohoo, thanks British Airways ๐Ÿ™‚


My awesome friend Kelly took me to MOMA and I got to check out the Warhol exhibition


Wow! It was so incredible to be in the same room as these iconic pics


Kelly and I took some colourful selfies in the MOMA garden


I roasted my great friend J Kelly Hoey at her 50th birthday party in New York.


I took some blurred selfies as I was crossing 6th Avenue


I worked on (amongst other things) the acknowledgements for my book “Saving Bletchley Park”ย at Gimme Coffee in Brooklyn


Coincidentally my friend Martin was in New York with his wife and goddaughter, so we met up for dinner at Soho House, then another coincidence my friend Judith happened to be there too, so we caught up too ๐Ÿ™‚


I had a lovely breakfast in Brooklyn with my awesome friend @ctrouper


I stayed at an Airbnb in Brooklyn near Hewes Street subway ๐Ÿ™‚


The morning after the night before, a massive breakfast with birthday girl Kelly (I can’t believe she’s 50!) and Kelly’s friend Devon, another awesome woman ๐Ÿ™‚


Kelly and I went for a stroll in Central Park to burn off a few calories from breakfast and happened upon a wedding taking place on the bridge in Central Park. How romantic! They were English too ๐Ÿ™‚


Kelly and me in central Park


My favourite place for BBQ is Virgils in NYC, I have dinner there at least once every trip ๐Ÿ™‚


Virgils BBQ – โค


Through twitter I met up with Gem Barrett, we had a great dinner at Virgils and then took some drunken selfies in Times Square ๐Ÿ™‚



After 5 days in NYC I was so happy to get home to my family, especially Cheeky, my youngest daughter


The next day I was off to Cheltenham Literary Festival to chair a panel on “Navigating our 24/7 culture”


On the panel were Annette Karmiloff Smith and Michael Acton Smith, we were introduced by the fabulous Isabella from Cheltenham Ladies College.


A couple of days later I went to Cambridge for the day, on the tube on the way there I bumped into my lovely friend Mex aka @anniemole


I had a great meeting at Lucy Cavendish College, University of Cambridge to discuss setting up and leading a #womenintech Centre of Excellence at Lucy Cavendish ๐Ÿ™‚


While I was in the area I nipped in to see mates at the Raspberry Pi Foundation: Carrie Anne Philbin @missphilbin and Philip Colligan ๐Ÿ™‚


It chucked it down on the walk back to the station ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I checked in on Swarm and found myself being tweeted by Microsoft Research offering me an umbrella! I was delighted to accept.


That night my daughter Emma treated me and Cheeky to dinner, it was great to catch up ๐Ÿ™‚


The next day I was off to Cheltenham again, this time to give a talk at GCHQ! I had a great day, met lots of interesting people and bumped into Sir Dermot Turing who was signing hundreds of copies of his book “Prof” about his uncle Alan Turing ready for his book launch the next day.


When I got back to London I met up with my mate Steve Hills and we went to a fun private do at L’Escargot in Soho organised by Stephen Colegrave. Mitch from Unbounders read out a couple of “Letters of Note” with his usual great comic timing ๐Ÿ™‚


The next day I had a bit of a break to take my grandson for a walk by the Thames ๐Ÿ™‚


I was excited to get a press pass for the Women in the World event at Cadogan Hall, London, as I turned up on the first night celebs were getting their pics taken on the red carpet ๐Ÿ™‚


There were so many great women there, onstage and off. Google “Women in the World” to see some of the incredible talks. So inspiring ๐Ÿ™‚


Sarah Gavron and Meryl Streep discussing their film Suffragette, out tomorrow, i cant wait to see it!


Ursula von der Leyn, German defence minister was amazing, 7 children and making great changes in German politics. Incredible role model for us all.


It was great to get a chance to catch up with my lovely friend Ann O’Dea who runs Silicon Republic in Dublin ๐Ÿ™‚


…and awesome to catch up again with Lauren Boyle – European Digital Girl of the Year 2014 – and her mum Tania ๐Ÿ™‚


…and what an absolute honour to meet and get a selfie with the “Dagenham Girls” ๐Ÿ™‚


Just showing off my press pass, and blue nail varnish ๐Ÿ˜‰


I was also featured that day on the cover of the Autumn issue of the London South Bank University magazine, I’m speaking there next month.


I bought quite a bit of wool in New York, I couldn’t help myself! The first thing I made was this jacker for my grandson, hope it fits…i need to get some buttons…


At the weekend we visited Polesden Lacey National Trust property in Surrey, its an incredible house and gardens, highly recommended


Here we are outside the house


Did you enjoy that? Me too, let’s go and get a cup of tea…


NESTA’s Crucible Alumni event at Science Gallery Dublin + Inspirefest kick off.ย 

I’m just back from a fabulous 6 days in Dublin. I was there organising 2 events at the Science Gallery Dublin and speaking at Inspirefest 2015.  


On Tuesday I met up with some Cruciblers, I’m chair of Crucible Alumni: 400 mainly science experts with PhDs and an interest in public engagement. We went on a great science walk led by Patrick Roycroft from Ingenious Ireland. It was excellent. Very entertaining and educational.  

Tuesday evening we spent at The Liquor Rooms, catching up with each other and drinking (4 pints of Guinness!) first time I’ve done that!  

On Wednesday we ran our Crucible #healthhack looking at cutting deaths by smoking by 50% to save 3 million lives per year. We had help from some great  experts. I was shocked to learn that smoking cuts about 16 years off your life. Shocking. My best friend Hazel died from lung cancer recently, she was only 56. 



We had some great discussions and came up with our top solution which we are excitingly going to execute soon. More I that in another post. 


A fabulous lunch was followed by our afternoon Crucible event #fullSTEAMahead a few hours of talks from STEAM experts. 

We were privileged to have Margie McCarthy from Science Foundation Ireland along to open the afternoon.

First speakers were Sinead Kelly, Jennifer Wickham and me talking about #techmums, what it is through to what it’s like to be a #techmum.   The afternoon was a smorgasbord of delightfully interesting talks from Cruciblers and keynote speakers. 


The subjects were so diverse from: BlackGirlsCode to rocket science and dinosaurs. 


All talks will be on YouTube soon. It was wonderful to also have some of our fab #techmums trainers come along to the afternoon ๐Ÿ˜€

I had a wonderful time organising the day with Polly Dalton, Denis O’ Hora and Paul Roach. They were fabulous to work with. 

In the evening we went to the Inspirefest speakers kickoff event at Farmleigh, a fabulous house in a park just outside Dublin. Here’s a few pics from the evening which was opened by conference chair Ann O’ Dea and the minister.   


I was delighted that several friends from all over were there too including the completely awesome Cindy Gallop. 

We Cruciblers ended the day with another few pints of Guinness followed by a kebab ๐Ÿ˜€

It was a fabulous memorable day, we’ve lots of content that will be up online soon and even more ideas on how we are going to change the world. 

I’d like to thank Polly, Denis and Paul for helping to arrange the day and Paul for filming the day. They were all fabulous. Thanks to the Science Gallery, to Ingenious Ireland, The Liquor Rooms, Ann O’Dea and Silicon Republic. To all the fab Cruciblers that came along, to our experts, our speakers and our audiences. It was a day I’ll never forget. 


Easter visit to Scotney Castle, ย Bodiam Castle and Knole House

We had a lovely visit to the National Trust’s Scotney Castle,ย Bodiam Castleย and Knole Houseย in Kent, this Easter weekend. Scotney also has a really interesting house given over to the National Trust in 2006 when the owner Betty Hussey died aged 99 in 2006. Her cat Puss still lives there. ย 

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Bodiam Castle is much older and a proper castle.

Knole House hosts an incredible collection of art and beds from the 17th century. There are many bedrooms containing beds that had been passed down, second hand, from ย English Kings. An incredible place.

We had a great Easter weekend visiting these 3 National Trust properties and look forward to discovering more over the next year with our annual membership ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

More pics of Scotney Castle, House and gardens below along with other pics from the weekend.

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