Alan Turing: WWII Code-Breaker Granted Pardon

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News of the royal pardon granted posthumously to gay war hero Alan Turing is applauded as a "just reward" for the code-breaker.

Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon for a 61-year-old conviction for homosexual activity.

Dr Turing, who played a pivotal role in breaking the Enigma code, arguably shortening the war by at least two years, was chemically castrated following his conviction in 1952.

His conviction for "gross indecency" led to the removal of his security clearance and meant he was no longer able to work for Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) where he had continued to work following his service at Bletchley Park during the war.

Dr Turing, who died aged 41 in 1954 and is often described as the father of modern computing, has been granted a pardon – effective from today – under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen following a request from Justice Secretary Chris Grayling.

Written By: Sky News
continue to source article at news.sky.com

33 COMMENTS

  1. It’s about time! It doesn’t do Alan any good, but as a society the recognition Dr. Turing had been grievously harmed and finally pardoned ( he shouldn’t have been charged in the first place) is a small step forward on the path to enlightenment.

    That being said the fact Dr. Turing was “pardoned” smacks of hypocrisy and doesn’t address the fact he shouldn’t have been charged in the first place. There is still a stigma. Guilty by association of being charged in the first place. “Granted a pardon under the Royal Prerogative of Mercy by the Queen”. I think I’m about to throw up!

    It would have been better for the government to admit it and society made a mistake and dropped all charges and apologized.jcw

  2. “Pardoned”? How about a full retraction? “Pardon” here means, “you are still a terribly flawed human being and have done wrong but in our beneficence we’ll overlook it this time.” What a slap in the face!

  3. Second World War code-breaker Alan Turing has been given a posthumous royal pardon for a 61-year-old conviction for homosexual activity.

    A posthumous apology to him and others like him, would be more appropriate.

    • In reply to #3 by Alan4discussion:

      A posthumous apology to him and others like him, would be more appropriate.

      There was in 2009 by Gordon Brown on behalf of the UK Government. The text is here.

      There is also an excellent article here explaining the legal situation and some of the history and suggesting the next step to give justice to the other 75,000 men punished by this unfair law.

      Michael

    • In reply to #4 by stuhillman:

      I seem to recall that the boss of GCHQ at the time who shopped Alan was a closet homosexual and may have been upset that Alan did not return his advances. Hell hath no fury like…..

      Where did you hear this? I’ve never heard that.

      • In reply to #6 by Red Dog:

        In reply to #4 by stuhillman:

        I seem to recall that the boss of GCHQ at the ………………
        Where did you hear this? I’ve never heard that.

        Well, that’s why I said “I seem to recall..” I was hoping someone could come up with the actual information. Maybe I’ll do some research tomorrow – well later today actually. And it is Christmas day.

  4. Pardon for what? How can one be “pardoned” for doing nothing wrong? It’s a crying shame Turing is dead – the royal assholes should be begging for pardon from him. They should never be allowed to live down the shame of ruining this hero’s life.

    • In reply to #7 by Sue Blue:

      Pardon for what? How can one be “pardoned” for doing nothing wrong? It’s a crying shame Turing is dead – the royal assholes should be begging for pardon from him. They should never be allowed to live down the shame of ruining this hero’s life.

      Like very much what you say.

  5. ‘Bout f***ing time.

    .

    What sorts of tossers wait 60 years to officially pardon someone whose brilliance helped so much to defeat the Nazis but who didn’t even do anything wrong in the first place???!!!

    .

    Rather than pardoning him they should grovel at the feet of his statue and just admit they and their society forced a harmless man to live under a cloud of unwarranted shame.

    .

    Alan Turing’s treatment by the authorities and, to be truthful, British society was a shining example of the Stalinist nature of the country at the time. Sadly the UK hasn’t changed since then as much as you’d like, although thankfully it’s nothing remarkable today to be gay here.

  6. A poxy fuckin pardon!! Is that it? At any time the male establishment in this country is more than 50% gay and who cares as long as they do their job.They closed ranks to out this hero to protect themselves in the same way that the current feminist movement says nothing about the dreadful position of their sisters in the Muslim ‘community’ in this country.This man was an absolute genius and did as much to win the war as any of the generals or even Churchill himself.He should be lauded and spoken of in the same breath as Newton and Einstein.This pathetic act after all these decades just shows the depth to which this country has sunk.I know,why don’t we ask community leader Anjem Choudary for his comments, like we usually do? I despair of my fellow Englishmen I really do !!!

    • In reply to #11 by sunbeamforjeebus:

      A poxy fuckin pardon!! Is that it?

      What do you want? Resurrection?

      It’s only happened three times before in history. It’s about as big a gesture as the British state with its weird unwritten constitution can make.

      • In reply to #29 by Stevehill:

        In reply to #11 by sunbeamforjeebus:

        A poxy fuckin pardon!! Is that it?

        What do you want? Resurrection?

        >

        It’s only happened three times before in history. It’s about as big a gesture as the British state with its weird unwritten constitution can make.

        No I do not believe in resurrection any more than you do and the flippancy is misplaced! What I do believe in is making sufficient restitution for damage done.This man’s contribution to the war and subsequent development of computer science is massive.His sexuality was about as significant to his work as the colour of his socks! Yes ‘her majesty has been gracious enough’ and all that type of turd-in -mouth bullshit only rubs salt in the wound.This man was a giant of science,we should have a university in his name and a FULL APOLOGY from ‘her majesty’s’ government for the appalling manner in which he was treated.

          • In reply to #31 by mmurray:

            In reply to #30 by sunbeamforjeebus:

            This man was a giant of science,we should have a university in his name and a FULL APOLOGY from ‘her majesty’s’ government for the appalling manner in which he was treated.

            You know there was an apology in 2009 I assume ?

            Michael

            Hi Michael yes I have since found out about this apology from Brown thanks.I feel slightly better.

    • In reply to #14 by zonotrichia:

      Long, long overdue. The government should pardon everyone convicted of a similar “crime.”

      You don’t really want to pardon as that implies they committed a crime and are being forgiven. People charged under these laws who are still alive can apply to have the charge expunged from their records. Details are explained here. That same article suggests that what is needed is to extend this to people who have died. But there are 75,000 people convicted under these laws. You can’t just expunge all their records as the charge at the time was gross indecency between men which included public and private. Public indecency is still a crime. So you have to check back through them all to see who would no longer be charged under current laws. It’s would be time consuming and I assume the government is not a hurry to get into it. A bit more pressure is needed.

      Michael

    • In reply to #15 by Net:

      and yet another life brought to a premature end because of absurd religious-inspired world views! But “medical science” was in on this, wasn’t it? Science that plays the murdering henchman for either religion or society is truly the greatest of monstrosities.

  7. It’s as disgraceful as the Catholic Church granting forgiveness to Galileo!(although it took longer )
    There should be a national holiday of repentance for the nauseating persecution of an amazing hero!

  8. Well, it’s a small step in the right direction I suppose, and better than nothing, but the magnitude of the inhumanity shown towards Turing, and the feelings of ingratitude and contempt he must have suffered are not diminished one bit.

    The whole episode will always stand as a tragedy.

  9. I hardly know what to say about this, given the utter, narcissistic arrogance and supremacism of those who feel that they have the power to invent crimes then pardon us of such if/when they feel like it. I’m glad it was done, but as an American, this makes my skin crawl. This man was a hero. But, then, America did a similar-ish thing to Robert Oppenheimer, which makes my skin crawl also.

    • In reply to #24 by Free Speech:

      But, then, America did a similar-ish thing to Robert Oppenheimer, which makes my skin crawl also.

      I agree what happened to Oppenheimer was also a tragedy but I think there was a difference. Oppenheimer knew the risks he was taking. It shows immense courage that he took the stand he did at that awful time in American history. Turing wasn’t even given the chance to take a stand. He just wanted to be left alone in his personal life and invent the future of computers which he did even in the short time he was alive.

      That is what I think is really so tragic here. His war work was heroic but there were a lot of heroes in that war. What really set him apart was that his work set the stage for the digital computer. And he knew it and was part of the intellectual world that was bringing computers to life. Who knows what advances he might have thought up had he lived.

  10. Why would an individual who had achieved so much and had such a bright future, who new law concerning this matter take such a huge risk?

    Was it an aberration? A whim? A dare? Rebeliousness? An experiment? What?

    I submit, that it was for one reason, and one reason alone, he was acting normally! That was his nature. He couldn’t resist. He loved men.

    So, they chemically castrated him; I find it difficult to imagine how emotionally devastated it must have made him.

    I think we’ve moved on just a bit, haven’t we?

    • In reply to #26 by Stafford Gordon:

      Why would an individual who had achieved so much and had such a bright future, who new law concerning this matter take such a huge risk?

      Was it an aberration? A whim? A dare? Rebeliousness? An experiment? What?

      I submit, that it was for one reason, and one reason alone, he was acting normally! Tha…

      Doesn’t really account for why he wrote the police such a detailed confession according to this. I must read the biography again.

      Michael

  11. In reply to mmurray # 27.

    Thanks for the link Michael.

    Having read the article, the word that sprang to mind was ‘hubris’; although he did seem to have succumbed to the zeitgeist, in hoping that the “treatment” would work

    Altogether an enigma!

    To paraphrase the expression Feynman employed in the final sentence of his report on the Challenger disaster, the sex drive cannot be fooled.

    Stafford.

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