Private James William TURNER

Royal Fusiliers
(Formerly: 8th Training Reserve Battalion)
(Initially: Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry)
Posted 3rd Battalion (London Regiment)
Service Number:
(Formerly: TR/5/30733 8th Training Reserve Battalion)
(Initially: 49956 Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry)
Date of Death:
23 August 1918 - Died of wounds
Cemetery / Memorial:
Grave Reference:
Q. III. I. 11.

Personal History:

James was born in the September quarter 1899 at 9 Manchester Old Road, Rhodes, Lancashire , the son of Henry (Cotton cloth bleacher) and Hannah (née Nield) Turner. James had two older brothers, Fred and Leonard, and an older sister, Maria Alice (1901 Census RG 13/3824).
In 1911 (Census RG 14/21305) the family were living at 69 Buxton Road, Newtown, New Mills, Derbyshire. Father, Henry, was employed as a "Foreman Calico Bleacher" (probably at 'Potts, Oliver and Potts') and 12 year old James was still at School. In February 1919 James' mother, Hannah, received £19 6s 7d [£19.18] allowance, with a further £5 10s [£5.50] in October 1919. (£24 16s 7d is the equivalent of about £1,110.00 today [2016].)

Military History:
James' Service papers have not survived and his Medal Index Card indicates that he was posted to France with his Battalion after the end of 1915, as he was not eligible for 1915 Star Medal. He enlisted at Buxton, though at the time was living in Stockport, Cheshire. James probably initially enlisted in the 11th (Reserve) Battalion, the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (Private 49956) and his Service Number suggests he joined up in April 1917. In May 1917 this became the 8th Training Reserve Battalion. [Men who were posted to the T.R. battalions were not allocated to any particular regiment when the time came for them to be posted.]

From that Battalion James was posted to the 3rd Battalion (London Regiment) of the Royal Fusiliers. On the 3rd January 1918 the 1/3rd Battalion had transferred to 173rd Brigade in 58th (2/1st London) Division. At the same time it absorbed the disbanded 2/3rd Battalion and renamed the 3rd Battalion as part of a general reorganisation. Presumably, and bearing in mind his age, it was sometime after then that James joined the Battalion in France.

James' Division were engaged during The Battle of St Quentin (21st - 23rd March 1918) (a phase of the First Battles of the Somme). This action was followed by The Battle of the Avre (4th April); The Battle of Villers-Bretonneux (24th - 25th April) and The Battle of Amiens (8th - 11th August). During The Second Battles of the Somme 1918 further action was seen at The Battle of Albert (22nd -23rd August).

James died of his wounds on the 23rd August, although, without his Service Papers it is not possible to say where he received his injuries. However, over 50 of his comrades from the 3rd Battalion were killed in action during the period covered by The Battle of Amiens (8th - 11th August). He is buried in St. Sever Cemetery near Rouen.

"During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city. Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot. A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920." - CWGC

· I am grateful to Paul Le Trevier for the photo of James' grave
· I am also grateful to Steven, David, John and Ron of "The Great War Forum" for their advice on James' Service
· National Army Museum; Chelsea, London, England; Soldiers' Effects Records, 1901-60

Commemorated on:

Link to CWGC Record
Pt James Turner's grave