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Bletchley Park veterans gather to celebrate 70th anniversary of remarkable computer

The Colossus on display at the The National Museum of Computing. Credit: The National Museum of Computing

A group of veterans will gather at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes today to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the world's first electronic computer.

The Colossus allowed the British to gather crucial intelligence. Credit: National Archives

The Colossus was developed for British code-breakers during the Second World War to help them read and intercept high-level German army messages.

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Students unravel Enigma

Children from Kettering in Northamptonshire have been getting hands on experience of one of the most significant wartime inventions.

The German Enigma machine generated codes which proved almost impossible to break but were deciphered at Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes.

Students try out the machine Credit: ITV

Students at Latimer Arts College were given the chance to try out an original machine and learn about the formula used to decode messages.

Auditions for living history Codebreakers project

Bletchley Park

Auditions are being held today for a living history project at the Bletchley Park wartime code-breaking centre in Buckinghamshire.

Local actors will play characters that were at the centre in 1941, when Britain was in great peril. They will be performing during half term next month.

Bletchley's code-breaking past to feature on ITV prime time drama

Bletchley Park will take centre stage in an ITV drama Credit: ITV News Anglia

Bletchley Park is to take centre stage in a new television drama on ITV.

The estate, near Milton Keynes, is world famous for its role in breaking the German Enigma and Lorenz codes during the Second World War - often attributed to shortening the conflict by between two to four years.

As a hub for pioneering computer science, Bletchley Park is also often deemed to be the birth place of the modern-day computer.

The drama, The Bletchley Circle, will transport the site back to the 1940s and 50s for a two-part story to be shown on ITV next week.

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Turing's 'distress' letter sent to friends before conviction

A letter sent from Alan Turing to his mathematician friend Norman Routledge shows the codebreaker's worries and "distress" ahead of pleading guilty to gross indecency in 1952.

An excerpt from the communication is printed on the website Letters of Note, citing a Turing biography by Andrew Hodges.

I've now got myself into the kind of trouble that I have always considered to be quite a possibility for me, though I have usually rated it at about 10:1 against.

I shall shortly be pleading guilty to a charge of sexual offences with a young man.

The story of how it all came to be found out is a long and fascinating one, which I shall have to make into a short story one day, but haven't the time to tell you now.

No doubt I shall emerge from it all a different man, but quite who I've not found out.

Glad you enjoyed broadcast. Jefferson certainly was rather disappointing though.

I'm afraid that the following syllogism may be used by some in the future.

Turing believes machines thinkTuring lies with menTherefore machines do not think

Yours in distress,

Alan

– Letter from Alan Turing to Norman Routledge
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'Old police trick' revealed Turing's gay relationship

A statue of Alan Turing on a bench in Sackville Gardens, Manchester. Credit: Flickr / Bernt Rostad under Creative Commons agreement

Alan Turing revealed he was gay to the authorities by falling for an "old police trick," New Statesman legal writer David Allen Green reports.

Reporting a theft to police in 1952, Turing was forced to fabricate details of the account to conceal his relationship with a man.

Asked to repeat the account a week later by police, Turing was unable to accurately remember some of those fabricated details, Allen Green writes.

On realising his lies had been exposed, the brilliant mathematician produced a five-page letter admitting untruths as well as describing graphic details of his homosexual relationship.

The statement was enough for police to convict Turing and arrest his partner.

Bletchley codebreaker's royal pardon for 61-year conviction

Alan Turing worked at Bletchley Park during the Second World War Credit: ITV News Anglia

Second World War codebreaker Alan Turing, has been given a posthumous royal pardon for a 61-year-old conviction for homosexual activity - still an offence in the UK in the 1950s.

The Cambridge mathematician has been hailed a national hero for his work to help break the German Enigma Code at Bletchley, near Milton Keynes during the war.

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Turing Royal Pardon 'just reward' for code-breaker

News of the royal pardon granted posthumously to Alan Turing has been applauded as a "just reward" for the code-breaker.

Iain Stewart, Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South, who was involved in the campaign to secure a royal pardon, said: "Alan Turing was an incredibly important figure in our history. He was the father of computer science and the originator of the dominant technology of the late 20th century."

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell said that the granting of the royal pardon was "long overdue" and called for the same treatment to be given to others convicted in similar circumstances.

He said: "Singling out Turing just because he is famous is wrong. Unlike Alan, many thousands of ordinary gay and bisexual men who were convicted under the same law have never been offered a pardon and will never get one.

"An apology and pardon is due to another 50,000-plus men who were also convicted of consenting, victimless homosexual relationships during the 20th century."

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