WW2 codebreaker Alan Turing receives posthumous royal pardon

Posted by: Jennifer Cefai (2 years, 10 months ago)

WW2-era computer pioneer and expert codebreaker Alan Turing has been granted a posthumous royal pardon, almost 60 years after his death. The pardon came for his 1952 conviction for being a homosexual, which not only meant he had to give up the code-cracking work that was so imperative to the Allies in World War 2, but also resulted in him being chemically castrated. The research Turing carried out was pivotal, and was responsibled for cracking encrypted German Naval messages created with the Enigma machine. His pioneering codebreaking work continues to factor in today.

"Turing deserves to be remembered and reconized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science," said British Justice Minister Chris Grayling, who made the request that led to the pardon being issued. "A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man." 

Turing's death in June 1954 was declared suicide by cynaide poisoning, although his biographers and loved ones claim otherwise. Campaigns for his pardon have been going on for years. An apology by the Labour government had been issued in August 2009, with then Prime Minister Gordon Brown saying that the way Turing had been persecuted over his homosexuality was "appalling." 

The pardon comes into effect today.

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