back to article Missing Alan Turing memorabilia to be returned to Blighty from the US, 36 years after it went walkabout

Missing Alan Turing memorabilia is to be returned to the UK from the US, after it went missing from his old boarding school. The items – including photos, school reports, and Turing's OBE medal – disappeared from the famous British Sherborne School where Turing was educated decades ago. They turned up hidden in the Colorado …

  1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
    Holmes

    FTFY!

    It has been agreed that a plaque will be displayed near to it stating that it was stolen & as a result in Ms Turing's care from 1984-2020.

    1. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: FTFY!

      Indeed (+1)

      I wonder if the Mona Lisa will now get a plaque stating that it was in the care of Vincenzo Peruggia from 1911-1913 ?

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FTFY!

      Was that a British agreement? One with the unspoken extra clauses of "...in the fullness of time, at the appropriate juncture, when a suitable site has been identified."?

      I think Sir Humphrey was an old Wykehamist, but that doesn't have to stop Sherborne from learning from him.

  2. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

    As it should be

    However not a result that will be celebrated by many a British museum

    1. rg287 Silver badge

      Re: As it should be

      However not a result that will be celebrated by many a British museum

      As long as they're open and available for public research it doesn't really make a difference. The likes of the Science Museum and TNMoC can't afford to acquire, store or display everything of value. There will always be private collections.

      And there's nothing to stop them loaning items to relevant institutions of course.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: As it should be

        Have you ever tried to gain access to stuff they have archived away?

  3. steviebuk Silver badge

    Mail delay

    "Mail delays in America are holding up the case right now." With Trumps mate Dejoy in the Post Master General role who, as some suggest, been purposely delaying mail to affect mail in ballots, I wouldn't be surprised if the package went "missing" again. On the orders of Trump until BoJo agrees so say on TV "Trump won the presidental race". Sort of petty shit Trump would do.

    1. sabroni Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Sort of petty shit Trump would do.

      I WON THIS ELECTION! BY A LOT!!

      1. Danny 2 Silver badge

        Re: Sort of petty shit Trump would do.

        As the first person to report the Trump Tweet "I WON THIS ELECTION! BY A LOT" here, I claim my right to repeat that on the 13th of November the Royal Mail is releasing Star Trek stamps. How cool is that? You can lick the backside of James Tiberius Kirk. Can 2020 be any bester?

        [Disclaimer: Many of you know people who will die this year.

        Kirk became the first and only student at Starfleet Academy to defeat the Kobayashi Maru test, garnering a commendation for original thinking for reprogramming the computer to make the "no-win scenario" winnable. This carries a ten prison sentence today.]

        1. JJKing
          Facepalm

          Re: Sort of petty shit Trump would do.

          But, but, but JTK cheated to make that possible. Teaching children to code may not be a good thing after all.

        2. steviebuk Silver badge

          Re: Sort of petty shit Trump would do.

          You won't need to lick James backside as all stamps now presticky :)

  4. Huw D

    No mention of the fact that (as I understand it) Ms Turing's real name is Julie Schwinghamer and she changed her name to Turing in the 80s?

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Stop being nameist!!!!

      If people want to change how they identify then history must be changed to match,

      1. Huw D

        She was going by her former name when she stole the memorabilia.

  5. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge
    Devil

    Hmm ...

    "... a plaque will be displayed near to it stating that it was in Ms Turing's care from 1984-2020 ..."

    Presumably next to a plaque saying "Here be dragons lawyers"

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: Hmm ...

      And of course Ms Turing is definitely not some kind of bunny boiler.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: Hmm ...

      As Sherborne school wasn't a party to the agreement they're perfectly entitled to put up a plaque saying "That thief Julia Mathison Turing can FOAD, Turing isn't even her true family name". Under the Defamation Act of 2013 truth is an absolute defense.

    3. Peter X
      Mushroom

      Re: Hmm ...

      One hopes that *if* a plaque is legally required, that it is worded with a secret message encoded within; if the wording cannot be changed (due to legals), then encode something into the frame. Or gaps between words/letters. Or something.

      Seriously, now I've thought about it, I'll be most disappointed if it doesn't happen!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Hmm ...

        Will you need a Bombe and Colossus to decode it?

        1. Peter X

          Re: Hmm ...

          Or the app?! (I'm assuming there is one)

      2. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: Hmm ...

        > Seriously, now I've thought about it, I'll be most disappointed if it doesn't happen!

        Just another plaque next to the first with a ROT13 "Lawyers made us display this plaque."

        I can't help but think that the Streisand effect will apply here. Also the article says that the school weren't party to the agreement. So if they refuse to put the plaque up what can the woman do? She can't sue if they haven't signed anything.

        1. Best Before:

          Re: Hmm ...

          Ynjlref znqr hf qvfcynl guvf cyndhr.

          1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
            Joke

            Re: Hmm ...

            > Ynjlref znqr hf qvfcynl guvf cyndhr.

            I said ROT13 not Welsh!

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Hmm ...

              You guys&gals should stop trying to scar(e) the children.

              It's clearly ROT39.

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Re: Hmm ...

        If a plaque is legally required, just put a noite that the display of the plaque is required for legal reasons

        Most people will put 2+2 together fairly quickly, especially if there's a note saying that things went missing ni 1984

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Mail delays in America are holding up the case right now"

    Not just this, but a president-elect too.

  7. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    No mention in the story of how they came to be stolen and ended up in this woman's "care"?

    1. Dabooka Silver badge

      There's a link right there

      In the article and it takes you to it.

      Basically she nicked it hence me being baffled about settlements and plaques.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: There's a link right there

        Basically she nicked it hence me being baffled about settlements and plaques

        Don't forget that this is in the US, where justice is bought and extremely expensive, so it's probably much healthier for the school's finances to just let bygones be bygones and agree to put up a plaque to placate the mad old bat's delusions...

        1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: There's a link right there

          In the cold light of my day, I wonder if It (The sign) can be on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard'.

      2. Jaybus

        Re: There's a link right there

        Well, there's evidence that she possessed it, not that she nicked it. Plus she will claim that she didn't know the items were stolen when she "obtained" them, meaning probably not really enough evidence to bring charges or to extradite. After 36 years, they are likely short on valid evidence. A settlement (through arbitration?) was probably the expedient choice.

        1. Cheshire Cat

          Re: There's a link right there

          Maybe the plaque should say "These items were stolen back in '84 by persons unknown. They then spent the next 35 years with this woman who was so obsessed with Turing she changed her name to his. But we cant prove who stole them. Bit of a coincidence though dont you think?"

  8. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    And the next story will be ....

    .... that the UK government is requesting that she be extradicted to stand trial in the UK for:

    The theft of the items,

    Illegally smuggling the items out of the UK,

    Identity theft for using Julia Elliot's name during the theft,

    Illegal dog walking,

    Coughing without due care and attention, (this one is quite serious these days)

    Walking on the cracks in the pavement,

    Walking around in a loud shirt during the hours of darkness,

    and walking around with an offensive wife! (though this one is in a little doubt)

    But of course the USians will not agree to this because they do not agree with the UK government loading up all of the extra 'junk' charges. And anyway, the extradition treaty only actually works one way.

    1. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: And the next story will be ....

      You got to go back in time, when I was a kid in the 50's Alan Turing was considered to be a criminal in Britain because he was gay. So nobody back then would have cared about his history being "stolen" - most likely if the items had not been removed then, in those days, they would all have just been thrown away and we would not have them any longer.

      So we think that taking Turing's property was a crime, but keeping the Elgin Marbles is not? Effectively both "crimes" have resulted in the preservation of history.

      1. Rosie Davies

        Re: And the next story will be ....

        I get what you're saying but the article says 1984. By 1984 we had Frankie gos to Holloywood, Culture Club and everything. Downright progressive it was, for a given definition of progressive.

        Rosie

        1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

          Re: And the next story will be ....

          Sure, but while being gay in the 80's wasn't a crime, it was still seen as bad. I never thought so but I dealt with a lot of people who thought that being gay sucked back then. I often got crapped back then for saying that gender was irrelevant.

      2. anothercynic Silver badge

        Re: And the next story will be ....

        Comparing apples with oranges since Turing's stuff was stolen in the 80s, not the 60s, although I am very much of the opinion that the British Museum can make plaster casts of the Marbles, keep the casts and send the originals back to Greece. That's where they come from, that's where they belong.

        1. chololennon
          Unhappy

          Re: And the next story will be ....

          "...the British Museum can make plaster casts of the Marbles, keep the casts and send the originals back to Greece. That's where they come from, that's where they belong."

          Not only the marbles, a lot of things in the BM were stolen or acquired in a suspicious manner :-(

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: And the next story will be ....

            In the case of the marbles, they were purchased and would most likely have been destroyed if left where they were(everything left behind was)

            That doesn't mean they can't or shouldn't be returned now. Times have changed and there's an appreciation forthe items that didn't exist then

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the next story will be ....

      running over and killing a young lad outside a US airbase.........

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And the next story will be ....

      You forgot "wire fraud". They always add "wire fraud".

      1. Why Not?

        Re: And the next story will be ....

        old habits die hard!

        Tax evasion is popular too

      2. KittenHuffer Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: And the next story will be ....

        I did think of that but it's not illegal in the UK, whereas the rest of them are!

  9. Danny 2 Silver badge

    We didn't deserve it

    Turing was only posthumously pardoned in 2013, for the heinous crime of being homosexual. Before that the UK didn't deserve to host any of his legacy and memorabilia.

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: We didn't deserve it

      Neither did a thief.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: We didn't deserve it

      "the heinous crime of being homosexual."

      That wasn't a crime.

      1. Eclectic Man Silver badge

        Re: We didn't deserve it

        Correct, I believe that Turing was charged with 'Gross Indecency' for engaging in some form of sexual activity with another man.

        Andrew Hodges' biography of Turing is very good. I met his only research student, Robin Gandy once and asked him about the book, and Gandy reckoned it was very accurate, although he disagreed on a few points (didn't tell me which ones).

  10. Dr. G. Freeman

    With all this pulling down statues malarkey and stuff (which I don't agree with, but anyway), why not put one or two up of Old Alan in their place?

    1. diggerb

      What a strange irrelevant comment to make.

      If this comment was meant in good faith you should be suggesting Paul Dirac.

      1. Why Not?

        Why irrelevant? we need modernish heroes, given the choice between Turing or BOJO& Dunkers contributions to history I know which one I would celebrate.

      2. Dr. G. Freeman

        Yes, it was in good faith- not just Alan Turing, and Paul Dirac, but statues of other greats like Dot Hodgkin and Rosalind Franklin. People to look up to

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        Why not Turing AND Dirac?

  11. jake Silver badge

    In light of this great celevration ...

    ... presumably the contents of the British Museum will be repatriated to the countries from which it was looted?

    1. Winkypop Silver badge

      Re: In light of this great celevration ...

      “Repatriated pieces”

      Coming soon to this site.

      BM Towers. (previously the British Museum)

      Luxury inner city accommodation.

  12. JJKing
    Flame

    What would it be like if.....

    I wonder how further advanced IT would be today if Dr Turing hadn't been persecuted for what was not a crime with women (thanks to Queen Victoria) and had progressed with his work.

    His work during WWII helped save so many lives (and resulting £££) yet he was thrown away when not desperately needed anymore.

    1. Jaybus

      Re: What would it be like if.....

      In all fairness, the court would not have been privy to that information in the mid 1950's. His WWII contributions were classified and not declassified until the mid 1970's. Matter of fact, I learned of Turing's universal machines in a formal language theory course in 1980 and had no idea of his code breaking contributions at the time.

  13. Andy the ex-Brit

    Wow, I googled her and found this old opinion piece she wrote. Delusional for sure!

    https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/08/14/comment-its-of-great-concern-that-alan-turings-life-is-being-rewritten-for-the-benefit-of-hollywood/

    1. anonymous boring coward Silver badge

      She's all over the place, yes.

      But the film was very, very bizarre too.

    2. cd

      Thank you, it all reads like she saw Turing's legacy not being respected or well-remembered in the UK and was determined to salvage what remnants there were and defend his representation in films.

      Quite an effort, if one figures in the name-change, and the recent times come around to meet it. She could have kept all the stuff at home and no one would have known; it's obvious that she cares about his legacy.

      The story and comments here were not answering the motivation question, because those items were likely not valued at the time.

      Not excusing any actions, but it makes sense now.

      1. gargantua

        >>

        She could have kept all the stuff at home and no one would have known; it's obvious that she cares about his legacy.

        <<

        Ehhhhh if she hadn't falsely claimed to be his daughter and offer the stuff to a museum, the act would seem as selfless as you describe. But she did...

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