Former Fellow Alan Turing receives posthumous royal pardon

Alan Turing

Alan Turing (1912-54)

Alan Turing was given a posthumous royal pardon on Christmas Eve. Turing, who is best known for his wartime work at Bletchley Park, was convicted for homosexual activity in 1952.

The pardon was granted under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy after a request by Justice Minister Chris Grayling.

The Vice-Provost of King's, Dr Rob Wallach, said: "Wonderful news. King’s College, Cambridge, where Alan Turing was an undergraduate, is delighted."

Turing came to King's in 1931, and was elected a Fellow in 1935. He remained at King's until the out break of World War Two, when he began work at Bletchley Park. It was here that he helped decipher the code created by German Enigma machines.

Upon his conviction in 1952, Turing was given a choice of a prison sentence or chemical castration by a series of injections of the female hormone oestrogen. He chose the injections, but the prosecution and the hormone treatment took their toll on his health and morale, and in 1954 he killed himself.

Turing's family have donated many of his papers to King's College Archive Centre, and you can find some online at The Turing Digital Archive.

In 2012 a blue plaque was mounted on the front of the College to recognise Turing's pioneering work in computer science and mathematics.

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Posted: 

3 January 2014