A last minute donation from the National Heritage Memorial Fund has saved the papers of Alan Turing, Wartime code-breaker, for the nation.
Turing was a gay computer scientist, born in Manchester in 1912, and was persecuted for his sexual orientation and forced to undergo chemical castration. He has been hailed as the father of modern computing for his work to intercept Nazi communication and for cracking the infamous ‘enigma code’.
Ending his life tragically by suicide following conviction of homosexuality offences in the 1950s, Turing received a posthumous apology from former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009, a move warmly welcomed by the LGBT community across the world.
To the delight of campaigners, saving the Turing papers for Bletchley Park, where he carried out his wartime work, was given further momentum at the end of last year. Prime Minister David Cameron pledged his support to the campaign to save these important documents following a question asked in the House of Commons by Conservative MP, Iain Stewart, whose constituency includes Bletchley Park.
Commenting on today’s news, Matthew Sephton, Chairman of LGBTory, the Conservative Party’s LGBT group, said:
“I am thrilled that Turing’s papers have been saved for the nation. The tragic life of this genius is a stark reminder of the harsh laws under which people were convicted of homosexuality offences in our own country just a few decades ago. It is right that his amazing work, without which we may never have won the war, should be preserved in his memory.”