HRC Blog

Renowned Gay Codebreaker Pardoned by Great Britain

Alan TuringThe renowned English mathematician Alan Turing was officially pardoned by Queen Elizabeth this week.

Turing led the team that cracked Germany’s Enigma code, dramatically changing the course of WWII. He also developed an electromechanical device, the Bombe, which helped decipher the code. His pioneering work in computer science also secured his reputation as the “father of the modern computer.”

In 1952 Turing’s homosexuality resulted in criminal prosecution for gross indecency. He was sentenced to “chemical castration” and died two years later.

public campaign had been underway for the last few years calling on the British government to officially pardon Turing’s conviction.

British Justice Secretary Chris Grayling issued a statement on Tuesday calling Turing a national hero. "Dr. Turing deserves to be remembered and recognized for his fantastic contribution to the war effort and his legacy to science,” Secretary Grayling said. “A pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man."

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