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Enigma codebreaker Jean Watters who 'never told anyone' of her service buried in US with UK military honours

Jean Watters and her husband Colonel John Watters moved to the U.S in 1969. Credit: Family photo via the Omaha World-Herald via AP

A woman has been buried in Nebraska with British military honours for a secret she held for decades.

Jean Briggs Watters, 92, was given awards at her funeral for her World War II service as a code breaker of German intelligence communications - having 'never told anyone' of her service.

Mrs Watters was honoured for her decoding skills in a top-secret military program that was led by the well known British mathematician Alan Turing - the subject of the Oscar-winning movie The Imitation Game.

She was one of around 10,000 people, most of whom were women, who contributed to British efforts to crack German communication codes during the war.

At her funeral service on Monday, the Union Jack was draped over the casket.

She operated an electro-mechanical machine called a 'bombe' to read signals sent out by the German armed forces using its Enigma encryption machines.

Working from the UK's famous codebreaking centre, Bletchley Park, Mrs Watters contributed to efforts that saved lives and helped draw the war to a close.

Robin Watters reads from the programme during the funeral of his mother Jean Watters at the Omaha National Cemetery in Omaha. Credit: Chris Machian/Omaha World-Herald via AP

"She never told anyone," said Mrs Watters' son, Robin Watters.

"She was fully aware of the gravity of what she was doing. It was haunting to her, what might happen if she made a mistake."

She had a seriousness, and a sense of duty," he added.

"She was a really special lady. But she was tough. She did the hard things."

Jean Briggs Watters was just 18 when she enlisted in the Women's Royal Naval Service.

She met her husband, U.S. Army Air Corps pilot named John Watters, during the war and they married soon after.

The couple retired to the U.S. in 1969.

Mrs Watters was laid to rest in a burial plot next to her husband, who died in June aged 101.