This WWII Hero Was Rewarded With Castration. Today, He Got The Justice He Deserves.

The Royal Pardon of World War II Hero Alan Turing comes 60 years after he committed suicide. Without Alan Turing, WWII may have gone a different way. Is the Royal Pardon too little too late?

Cover image via

Famed Codebreaker and computer pioneer Alan Turing has been finally given a royal pardon – 61 years after his death

On Tuesday, December 24 and almost 60 years after his death, Turing was granted a pardon from Queen Elizabeth II for his criminal conviction of homosexual activity.
Image via

Turing was a major player in the Allied Powers’ fight against Germany in World War II

He singlehandedly gave the Allies quite a boost when he deciphered the supposedly “unbreakable” Enigma code used by Nazi Germany. The guy was smart and he put his brains to good use.

Turing in slate at Bletchley Park, Bletchley, in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK.

Image via

Turing’s Bombe, the device he developed to break the Nazi’s code, was an early ancestor of the computer.

The Bombe was the brainchild of mathematical genius' Alan Turing and Gordon Welchman, and enabled Bletchley Park's Cryptographers to decode over 3000 enemy messages a day breaking the codes created by German military Enigma machine during World War Two.

Image via

“His brilliance was put into practice at Bletchley Park during the Second World War where he was pivotal to breaking the ‘Enigma’ code, helping to end the war and save thousands of lives,” British Justice Minister Chris Grayling said in the pardon statement.

Why did a war hero like Alam Turing need a royal pardon?

Because in 1952, homosexuality was still a crime in Britain (it remained so until 1967).
Image via

Turing was convicted for having sex with a man – the punishment for which was chemical castration.

It didn’t matter if he helped the British win WWII; in the eyes of the law Turing was a homosexual, a criminal.

The conviction of gross indecency and subsequent castration drove Turing to suicide two years later, at the age of 41.

What took so long to get Turing a pardon?

Royal pardons in Britain are very rare: there have only been three other notable cases since 1945.
Image via

But there has been an active campaign for Turing, led by some of today’s most notable scientists, including Stephen Hawking. A petition to the British government for Turing’s pardon received over 37,000 signatures.

British Prime Minister David Cameron called Turing a “remarkable man” and the “father of modern computing”

[Turing’s] life was overshadowed by the conviction for homosexual activity, a sentence we would now consider unjust and discriminatory … a pardon from the Queen is a fitting tribute to an exceptional man,” read the pardon statement.