Christopher Collan Morcom

Christopher Collan Morcom

Bromsgrove District, Worcestershire, England
Death 13 Feb 1930 (aged 18)
Bromsgrove District, Worcestershire, England
Burial Catshill, Bromsgrove District, Worcestershire, England
Memorial ID 140865246 View Source
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To understand the place Morcom held in Alan Turing's life, read Andrew Hodges‘ Alan Turing: The Enigma, the definitive biography.

What is essential to understand is that Chris Morcom’s death not only devastated Turing emotionally, it also ignited him intellectually, as he tried in his grief to make sense of the fact that a mind that had been so present, so active, and so loved just the day before was apparently gone on this day, February 13, 1930.

In 1928 Turing met and became close friends with new classmate Christopher Morcom. The two shared countless impassioned conversations about science and mathematics, often passing notes back in forth in class to share commentary on various puzzles and postulates in math or physics. Christopher even invited Alan home to meet his mother, Mrs. Morcom, who was an artist. Soon a deep attachment bloomed between the boys, and Alan developed a purportedly unspoken crush.

But in February of 1930 Christopher died unexpectedly of bovine tuberculosis, an illness which he had contracted years earlier from tainted milk. Deeply affected by the loss, Alan became obsessed with unraveling the nature of consciousness, its structure and its origins. As his conversations with Mrs. Morcom reveal, he longed to understand what had become of Christopher, of that essential aspect of him: mind. Of course once a question piqued Alan’s interest, he focused with singular obsession. And any field of knowledge that might bear relevance had to be explored, its concepts recombined in ways totally his own. Thus he immersed himself in related works of biology, philosophy, metaphysics, and even mathematical logic and quantum mechanics. And because he so enjoyed tinkering with and redesigning various gizmos and mechanical parts, it was natural to him to think about the mind as an intelligent machine, one whose processes could be modeled and predicted with mathematical logic.

Funeral service was held on February 15 1930 at Catshill. Turing visited Chris’topher's “grave” in August 1930.

Actor Jack Bannon portrayed Christopher Morcom in the 2014 film The Imitation Game.

Obituary and pictures

Read more at: The Turing Centenary

Stained Glass Window in Christopher's honor

Family Members


Church Interior: Carving in stone under window. In love and thankfulness for the beautiful life of Christopher Collan Morcom born 13th July 1911 at The Clock House, Fockbury. Died 13th February 1930.
In churchyard. Side 1. Chris the dearly loved younger son of Reginald and Isobel Morcom born at The Clock House Fockbury July 13th 1911 and died February 13th 1930. Though the brilliant promise of his intellect was unfulfilled here his 18 and half years were perfect in their short measure full of happiness, love and courage.
Side 2. Frances Isobel Morcom dearly loved wife of Reginald Morcom and daughter of Sir Joseph Wilson Swan died February 25th 1941 at The Clock House. Reginald Keble Morcom born at Madron in Cornwall on April 23rd 1877 died on May 5th 1961 at The Clock House, Fockbury.