• Families

Psst! We’ve got a secret message to share with you. CBBC’s Ben Shires and extra special guest Olive are here to reveal all in your Family Mission briefing.


Oh no! Ben forgot the message, didn’t he? Luckily Olive knows how forgetful Ben can be and got in touch with the humans at IWM to cleverly hide the message amongst these mathematical puzzles.

Are you ready to decipher the message in our mathematical menagerie? You’ll find everything you need below, including the code breaking key. Good luck!

[Ben Shires speaking to Olive the dog] Olive, Olive look at me. I promise you I have done this week's maths revision. I know it looks like I haven't, but it's all actually safely locked up there I know you can barely look at me but it's true. 

Oh! Hello there, I'm Ben Shires and this is Olive and we're here to deliver this week's family mission instructions from the folks at Imperial War Museums who have a very important message for you. Now I can definitely remember that message was it again don't look at me like that all right all right I'm sure I know what it is just let me think... Okay all right, I admit! I've forgotten it and I also didn't do this week's math revision I'm sorry.  

What's that Olive? You have? Phew! Turns out my trusty canine companion Olive knows how forgetful I get so she has already uploaded the message onto the IWM website. And... what else was that? Oh. She also knows how reluctant I am to do my maths revision, so she has worked some maths into it as well of course. The message is actually encrypted in a code. Your mission this week is to figure out what the message says by deciphering the code. Oh and of course it's all about animals.  

Whether they're little or large, have fur or feathers, animals have helped out as humans a lot throughout history and none more so than in times of war and conflict. From Gustav the RAF pigeon, who helped to deliver the news of the D-Day landings in Normandy, to Wojtek the brown bear adopted by the Polish Army in the Second World War, animals have always been there by our side.  

So, it's your job to find out their real stories this week to help you decipher the IWM code everything you need is on the IWM website on the link below and... What was that, Olive? Oh! Well remembered. That's right, you can also catch all of IWM's family missions featuring yours truly at the Home Learning Hub on the IWM website – it's full of great resources. Well, good luck for this week! 

Code Breaking Key

Have you solved all the puzzles? Now it’s time to decipher the message. Use the code breaking key with the numbers from your answers in the order that you found them to reveal the message!

55 = Ben

684.7 = Revision

48.2 = Home

77.9 = Family

90 = Museum

248.6 = Learning

12.9 = Olive

130 = Animals

9.1 = Mission

124 = Happy

Have you cracked the code? Excellent work! Why not have a go at making a code of your own by following our mathematical method?

Don’t forget to tell us how you get on with the Family Mission on IWM’s Facebook and Twitter!

Curious to find out more about animals in war? Take a look below! 

Explore Further

Adventures in History: Amazing Animals graphic
Home Learning

Amazing Animals

Join IWM expert Clare as she shares real life stories about courageous animal heroes.

Poster for Family Mission: Animal Investigators
Home Learning

Family Mission: Animal Investigators

Use your animal investigator skills to find out what roles these special animals played during wartime. 

A Lewis gunner of the 6th Battalion, the York and Lancaster Regiment with the Regiment's cat mascot, in a trench near Cambrin, 6 February 1918.
© IWM (Q 8463)
First World War

15 Animals That Went To War

Over 16 million animals served in the First World War. They were used for transport, communication and companionship. Horses, donkeys, mules and camels carried food, water, ammunition and medical supplies to men at the front, and dogs and pigeons carried messages. 

Shh! Answers!

124 = Happy

48.2 = Home

248.6 = Learning