Updated: Wednesday, 8th April 2020 @ 11:22pm

Alan Turing Institute recognises gay code breaker as 'true British hero', claims original pardon campaigner

Alan Turing Institute recognises gay code breaker as 'true British hero', claims original pardon campaigner

| By Josh Willacy – MM exclusive

Homosexual WW2 code breaker and Manchester icon Alan Turing’s posthumous honour of a £42million institute in his name is being hailed for recognising a ‘true British hero’.

The claim comes from William Jones, a gay computer programmer from Sale, who started the original petition to see Turing royally pardoned.

Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Budget 2014 that The Alan Turing Institute will be founded to ensure Britain leads the way in big data and algorithm research.

Mr Jones told MM: “I’m nowhere near as talented as him, but as computer programmer, and a gay man in this city I related to him. I was inspired him and saw how terribly he was wronged despite what he did for this country.

“I’m very happy he was pardoned and even happier that people are not just forgetting about Turing’s achievements since it has been granted.

“This new institute is excellent as it’s building on the success of the pardon, and building on Alan’s reputation which had been forgotten or is still unknown to some people in Britain, so this really is great news.

“He is a true British hero.”

Turing is considered to be the father of modern computer science and artificial intelligence, and played a major role in breaking the German Enigma code.

After his work at Bletchley Park, he was a reader at Manchester University and did some of his most influential work here.

The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Head of Policy and Engagement Darren Knight said: “Alan Turing has been recognised as one of The Lesbian & Gay Foundation’s Homo Heroes for the amazing impact that he had, both in computer science and his code breaking which helped to shorten the Second World War."

In 1952 Turing was convicted of gross indecency for having sex with 19-year-old Arnold Murphy. Once convicted, he was banned from working with the government, subjected to barbaric treatment, and was forced to undergo a chemical castration.

He died of cyanide poisoning two years later, which an inquest deemed as suicide. He was 41 years old.

Mr Knight said: “He’s an inspiration to many people, an icon for Manchester and the way that his life was drawn short due to legislation that criminalised homosexuality is something that we draw on to ensure that we continue to move forward with equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

“We are delighted at the news of the Alan Turing Institute and we continue to work hard to ensure that the lesbian, gay and bisexual scientists of the future, as well as everyone else, can work in a safe and positive environment.”

The latest announcement is a huge step forward for those who have campaigned to ensure that Turing be recognised for the ground breaking work that he did, but also vindicated for the cruel treatment he faced.

Image courtesy of Loz Pycock, with thanks.