A number of items from the World War II-era have now resurfaced after 36 years. They are a topic of historical scrutiny. How did these items become so sensational? Well, because they were stolen from a regular school in the United Kingdom. Additionally, these stolen items belonged to Alan Turing, a significant figure working for the Allied Forces in World War II.
Who was Alan Turing?
If one has heard of the Turing Machine, one knows who Alan Turing is. Alan Mathison Turing was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. Turing’s contributions in the early 1900s shaped the artificial intelligence that we know today. One of his well-known accomplishments is the Turing Machine. It is a general blueprint of the computer as we know it today. He is also widely regarded as “The Father of Artificial Intelligence”.
In World War II, Turing’s contributions as a codebreaker led to several crucial victories for the Allied Forces. One such incident was the Battle of Atlantic, the longest naval battle in history. The main hindrance to an Allied victory in that situation was the construction of the U-boats. Alan Turing and his team, with the help of the Royal Navy, developed an ‘Enigma Cipher’, which help the Allies understand the U-boats and hence defeat them in combat.
In spite of Turing’s significant contributions in history, his work went mostly unrecognized in his home country due to prevalent homophobia. He died at the age of 42 due to suicide by cyanide poisoning.
Alan Turing was a brilliant child, and his talent lay in science and mathematics. He was enrolled in Hazelhurst Preparatory School, a small public school in Sussex, at the age of 6. At the age of 13, he went to a different public school called Sherborne School. Sherborne was one of the top private schools, and Turing received the best secondary education.
From the top private school, he went to the top College University of Cambridge to study mathematics. Graduating in 1934, he leaped closer to his profession of being a codebreaker by going to the United States in 1938. There, he enrolled himself in Government Code and Cypher School. Along his educational journey, he has collected many medals and other prizes for his immaculate work. Upon his death, the prizes were returned to his old secondary school Sherborne.
Unfortunately, in 1988, a woman introduced herself as Alan Turing’s relative. She entered the school on the pretext of viewing the items. Later, she proceeded to steal the items and take them back to her own home in the United States. The items included a letter sent to Turing by King George VI, presenting him with his OBE honor, Turing’s Princeton University Ph.D. certificate, school reports, and photographs.
Returning the Stolen Items of Alan Turing
Ms. Julie Turing, the thief of these items, attempted to loan these items to the University of Colorado in 2018. Firstly, she claimed she was a relative of Alan Turing. She wanted the items to be on display at the University of Colorado. However, due to the mysterious circumstances surrounding these items, the police issued an investigation. Hence, the items were traced back to Ms. Turing’s home in Conifer.
In a court case against Ms. Turing, she expressed her interest in Alan Turing’s life. This led to her subsequent theft of Alan Turing’s possessions. However, she agreed to return the items to the United Kingdom, where it can be praised by the people who truly know Alan Turing’s legacy.
Sherborne school has accepted the items since Turing was the most notable alumnus of the school. The students of Sherborne remained unaware of the legacy surrounding their alumnus for the longest time. However, the stolen items of Alan Turing have now been returned to the school. Finally, the students will truly be able to cherish and peruse the historical items at their will.
Apart from Sherborne School, the only other places believed to hold more personal belongings are Cambridge University’s King’s College and Bletchley Park.
If you are interested in Alan Turing’s academic journey, you might want to know about computational biology.
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