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Press Release

Historical Items Belonging to Alan Turing Returned to England

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Colorado

DENVER – The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces the return of historical items belonging to Alan Turing to the Sherborne School in Dorset, England.   

As part of a ceremony this week, several items belonging to Alan Turing were returned to his boyhood school, including the following items:  Alan Turing’s PhD diploma from Princeton University, the Order of the British Empire Medal, a personal note from the King George VI of England, a number of school reports, and various photos.  These items were removed from the school archives nearly 40 years ago.  They were recovered in Colorado, and subject to a forfeiture action filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Colorado. 

According to the Second Amended Complaint, the United States learned that certain items originally belonging to Alan Turing were located in Colorado, when they were offered to be displayed at the University of Colorado in Boulder in 2018.  An investigation by Homeland Security Investigations revealed that the items had been removed from the Sherborne School located in Dorset, England.  Alan Turing attended the school from approximately 1926 to 1931, and the items were originally placed there by his family.  In 1984, a person named Julia Schinghomes arrived at the school and took the items into her possession.  She later changed her name to Julia Turing.  After the United States filed the action in this case, the matter was resolved in a settlement.  Pursuant to that settlement, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado entered a Final Order of Forfeiture over the items in this case in May 2021.

“Together with Homeland Security Investigations, our office ensured that historical artifacts belonging to Alan Turing are now back in the place where they belong,” said U.S. Attorney Cole Finegan.  “We celebrate the accomplishments of Alan Turing and are thrilled that the historical significance of these artifacts will continue to be appreciated by scholars and generations to come.”

“Sir Alan Turing was named a national hero for the crucial role he played in cracking coded messages during World War II, enabling the Allies to defeat the Axis Powers,” said HSI Special Agent in Charge, Ryan L. Spradlin. “I’m very proud that HSI Denver investigators and our partners at the U.S. Attorney’s office were able to recover his effects after being missing for nearly 40 years.”

Alan Turing was an English mathematician and computer scientist instrumental in codebreaking during the Second World War.

The Sherborne School invited HSI Special Agent Greg Wertsch and Assistant United States Attorney Laura Hurd to attend the repatriation ceremony this week.  The repatriation represents years of hard work and the dedication of HSI Agents, the Department of Justice, and local law enforcement.  The event further signifies the importance of the Department of Justice’s work to return cultural property worldwide.

Case Number 20-cv-00152-STV

Updated August 22, 2023

Asset Forfeiture