Alan Turing items stolen from school 36 years ago to be returned to UK

David Dixon / Geograph

17 items belonging to Manchester icon and heroic World War II codebreaker Alan Turing are coming home to the UK after being stolen 36 years ago.

The treasured pieces of memorabilia – which included an OBE medal and letter signed by King George VI commending Turing for his secret wartime service – were snatched from Sherborne School and taken overseas to America in the 1980s.

Turing’s family had donated the items to the Dorset education facility to commemorate his time there as a pupil.

But the collection went missing for decades and was presumed lost until 2018 – when the items were found in a property in Colorado.

Wikimedia Commons

The culprit was caught after attempting to loan the belongings to the University of Colorado for display, claiming to be a Turing relative.

According to the BBC, the matter has since been settled out of court and the items are now due to be sent back Sherborne School.

The collection will be available to view in the Sherborne School archives.


Turing is well-known for his later life in Manchester – where he helped develop the Manchester Computers at the university.

He is regarded as an instrumental figure in providing the foundations for computer science, and his vital service cracking secret German military messages was depicted in the 2014 film The Imitation Game.

Turing was arrested in Manchester in 1952 for homosexual acts – which were considered “gross indecency” at the time.

He was posthumously pardoned in 2013.

Turing died in Wilmslow from cyanide poisoning in 1954, aged just 41.

Last year, the Bank of England confirmed that Turing would be the new face of the £50 note – set to enter circulation in 2021.

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