Alan Turing World War Two notebook to go on sale

A notebook from the 1940s belonging to Alan Turing, the British scientist and mathematician, is to go on sale by auction.

Alan Turing was hired by the British Government during World War Two to crack the elusive German Enigma Code, which is the method by which the Nazis transmitted secret messages and manoeuvres during the war.

The notebook is expected to fetch around £600,000.

It dates to around 1942 when Alan was working at the famous Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire to crack the code.

The notebook shows that Alan often wrote in note form, with few words and everything was short and to the point.

The book features almost 60 pages with Alan’s own handwritten notes, numbers and calculations.

The book also features writings of Alan’s friend and also a mathematician, Robin Gandy to whom Alan had given the book.

Gandy donated many of Turing’s papers and work to King’s College Cambridge, but kept the notebook himself. The current owner is anonymous, and has decided to sell the book via Bonhams’ in New York. The sale comes as the movie ‘The Imitation Game’ tells the story of Alan’s war time achievements.

Alan’s success in cracking the Enigma Code is heralded as the reason that World War Two was able to end in 1945. Many believe that without his success the war may have continued for another two to four years, and no doubt killing thousands more people.

Alan’s work also contributed the start of computer science and artificial intelligence.

Unfortunately, after the war Alan was put on trial for being homosexual, which was at the time against the law in Britain. It was ruled that he would undergo medical hormone therapy to prevent his homosexual tendencies rather than go to prison. Finding it difficult to cope with his medical treatment, Alan committed suicide in 1954, the Express reports.

In 2009, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, issued an official apology for the way Alan was treated in the 1950s. Meanwhile Queen Elizabeth II also granted Alan a pardon in 2013.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE