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Capt Arthur de Bells Adam (MC)
1885 - 1916


CPL David Wallace Crawford
1887 - 1916


Lce-Corpl John Joseph Nickle
1894 - 1916


Pte 17911 Morton Neill
1897 - 1916


Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft
1883 - 1918
Lieut Edward Stanley Ashcroft

Pte 17959 Arthur Turner


  • Age: 23
  • From: Ashton upon Mersey
  • Regiment: The King's (Liverpool Regiment) 19th Btn
  • K.I.A Tuesday 11th July 1916
  • Commemorated at: Thiepval Memorial
    Panel Ref: P&F1D8B &8 C.

17959 Private Arthur Turner, 19th Battalion KLR.

Arthur Turner was born in the September quarter of 1892 in Ashton upon Mersey, Cheshire, the youngest of three children, to Charles Turner, and his wife Grace (née Gerrard). His father, was from Kennington, London and was born in the December quarter of 1859, and his mother,  was from Manchester born in July 1862. They married in 1883 in Prestwich, Manchester. Arthur had older siblings Charles Edward born in 1883 and Hannah Louisa, 1885, both born in Manchester.

In 1891, before Arthur’s birth, his family were living in Drake Street, Chorlton Upon Medlock, his father, 32, employed as a machine fitter.  

1901 finds his mother with three children at 5 Drake Street, Chorlton Upon Medlock, south Manchester.  His mother is 38, listed as married, working on her own account as a sick monthly nurse. Charles is 17, a clerk, Hannah is 15, and Arthur 8. His father is working away from the family home.

His father's tragic death was subject to a lengthy report in the Western Daily Express on 03rd February 1902: 

QUEEN SQUARE TRAGEDY  

The Crown and Dove Hotel, Bridewell Street, Saturday, the City Coroner (Mr Doggett) held an inquest on the body of Charles Turner, who was found dead at 4 Queen Square on Thursday evening under tragic circumstances.

Grace Turner, Drake Street, Averton Road, Manchester, stated that deceased was her husband, who was a trade fitter. She last saw alive about the beginning of December, in Manchester. He was employed by Messrs. Symonds, Mark Street, in that town, and was sent to Bristol in connection with a job that the firm had undertaken for Messrs. Grace Bros. He was not in good spirits, but she could assign no reason for his depression, beyond the fact that he had lost money. She last heard from him Thursday last, when he wrote a very rambling kind of letter, but he said nothing to alarm her. The same evening she received a telegram from Bristol informing her of his death. She had expected him to return to Manchester, as he had written and telegraphed to that effect, and on the 24th ult. witness wired to him: "Anxious. Explain silence. When coming home? Reply." This telegram was not answered, and was found in the same room as the body.

Maurice George Legg, 4 Queen Square, said deceased had lodged with his mother since about the end of August. He was a very pleasant man and noticed nothing wrong with him until after Christmas, when his health failed, and he complained of pains in his chest. He seemed to have some trouble during the past fortnight, and did very little work. On the 29th ult. he saw deceased sitting at the table apparently in fair spirit. His face looked drawn, and Turner said had had something rubbed in by the chemist. After he had gone to bed he heard a slight noise in his room, as though someone had kicked over a chair or table. He knocked at the door and asked "What's up?" Deceased replied, "All right. I knocked the table." They heard nothing more. Witness got up at 8.30, and went out. Deceased was not up when he returned a 1 o'clock. Witness's mother had called him for breakfast, but he had not answered. His younger brother went and called him for dinner and got no answer again, and this making them anxious, Mrs Legg and witness both went up, but got no answer. They tried the door, which gave but did not open fully. Mrs Legg looked in and could see deceased lying on the floor. They called the assistance of police, and when the room was entered deceased was found lying on his stomach with a razor in his right hand and his throat cut. He was dead and cold.

Police Constable Albert Randall, 37  said that on Thursday he was called by the last witness. The door of deceased's bedroom was jammed by a table being placed under the lock. Deceased was only partly dressed, and in the room were found the telegram from his wife and a copy of magazine, on the edges of the pages of which were written "God bless you, Grace, and forgive me. l am watched. I wonder why these people try to be so clever. All are watching." A bottle that had contained chlorodyne and bottle of neuralgia mixture were also found. 

Dr. Hedley Hill, police surgeon, also gave evidence. There was a terrible gash in the deceased's throat, and there was lot of blood about. Death was due to hemorrhage following the wound. The jury returned a verdict "Suicide whilst of unsound mind." 

[In 1848, whilst serving with the Indian Army, Collis Browne formulated a compound, the principal ingredients being morphine, chloroform, cannabis and laudanum. He called it Chlorodyne. The formulation of the compound coincided with a desperate outbreak of cholera in the region, and Collis Browne's Chlorodyne achieved remarkable success in the treatment of the disease.]

The death was registered in Bristol in the March quarter of 1902. 
 
By 1911 the family have moved to Stockport, where Arthur is living with his mother and brother at 8 Bournville Avenue, Heaton Norris.  Charles, the head of household, is 27, a letterpress lithographer, his mother, now listed as widowed, is 48, Arthur is 18, an apprentice lithographic artist (letterpress).

He enlisted at St George's Hall in Liverpool on 04th September 1914, joining the 19th Battalion as Private 17959. He gave his age as 20 years and 11 days (sic) but even if 11 months was intended, this age does not match his birth or census ages (he would have been 21 or just turned 22 years old). His occupation is stated as a lithographic reproducer who had served an apprenticeship at the Manchester Guardian.He is described as being 5’ 7 and three-quarter inches tall, weighing 120 lbs, with a sallow complexion, blue eyes, and brown hair.  He gives his religion as Church of England.  He states he has been living with his brother, and gives as his next of kin his brother, Charles Edward Turner, of Gorton Villa, Reddish Road, Stockport.

Formed on 07th September 1914 the 19th Battalion trained locally at Sefton Park and remained living at home or in rented accommodation until November 1914. They then moved to the hutted accommodation at Lord Derby’s estate at Knowsley Hall. On 30th April 1915 the 19th Battalion alongside the other three Pals battalions left Liverpool via Prescot Station for further training at Belton Park, Grantham. They remained here until September 1915 when they reached Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain. Whilst training at Larkhill Camp on Salisbury Plain, on 29th September 1915, Arthur was confined to barracks for 14 days and forfeited 4 days’ pay for overstaying his pass.

He crossed to France on 07th November 1915. Arthur had 2 spells in hospital in March and May 1916, the first occasion for roundworm and on the latter occasion being discharged to rejoin his unit on 17th May having recovered from a bout of influenza. 

He was killed in action at Trones Wood on 11th July 1916, although due to the confusion surrounding the fighting he was originally declared Missing on 11th July 1916. 

The murderous fighting that went on inside Trones Wood rendered it impossible to put specific dates on some of the casualties which is why many of the 17th Battalion losses have been bracketed as killed in action between 10th – 12th July 1916. The conditions are best described in the following passage from Everard Wyrall’s book The History of The King’s Regiment (Liverpool) Volume II. 

The remembrance of Trones Wood in July 1916 to those who passed through it is of a noisome, horrible place, of a tangled mass of trees and undergrowth which had been tossed and flung about in frightful confusion by the shells of both sides. Of the ghastly dead which lay about in all directions, and of DEATH, lurking in every hole and corner with greedy hands ready to snatch the lives of the unwary. The place was a Death trap, and although the attacks were made with great determination,   the presence of snipers who could not be detected and often fired into the backs of our men made the clearing of the wood impossible.   

His mother, address 265 Reddish Road,  appealed for information in the Liverpool Daily Post on 11th August 1916 and the Manchester Evening News on 30th August 1916:

“Missing - Private A. Turner of the Liverpool “Pals” is reported Missing since July 11.  Any information will be gratefully received by his Mother, 265 Reddish Road, South Reddish, Stockport.”
 
She also contacted the International Red Cross, seeking information on her son, “wounded and missing” since July, but received a response dated 19th September 1916 that they held no information on Arthur.
 
And in the Sunday newspaper with the widest circulation of any in the world, John Bull on 4th November 1916,  adding Arthur’s military details: 10th Platoon, 3rd Company.
 
His mother must have received word later that month that Arthur had officially been declared killed, as she posted a notice in the Alderley & Wimslow Advertiser on 24th November 1916:

“Officially reported missing, now reported killed in action on July 11, 1916, Private Arthur Turner 17959, King’s Liverpool Regiment. -  265 Reddish Road, South Reddish, Stockport.”
 

His service record notes, 02nd November 1916 reported killed in action and “buried near Bernafay Wood”.  

Arthur’s body was subsequently lost, as he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916. 

On 01st August 1932 the Prince of Wales and the President of France inaugurated the Thiepval Memorial in Picardy. The inscription reads: “Here are recorded the names of officers and men of the British Armies who fell on the Somme battlefields between July 1915 and March 1918 but to whom the fortune of war denied the known and honoured burial given to their comrades in death.”

 
His mother Grace, at 265 Reddish Road, South Reddish, Stockport, received Arthur’s Army effects, including a War Gratuity of £8-10s.  The pension card in her name does not show whether a pension was awarded (likely not as Arthur had not been living with his mother before he enlisted).
 
Arthur earned his three medals which his mother signed for, living at 13a Westbourne Gardens, Bayswater, London.  No personal effects were forwarded.
 
His Memorial Plaque and Scroll were sent to his brother, Mr. C. E. Turner, Gorton Villa, Reddish Road, Stockport. His brother Charles served in the Royal Navy from 1916 and transferred to the R.A.F. in March 1918.  
 
Arthur is commemorated in Stockport Memorial Hall and Art Gallery

His mother Grace appears on the 1939 register at "Thornhill", Bury New Road, Prestwich. 
 

We currently have no further information on Arthur Turner, If you have or know someone who may be able to add to the history of this soldier, please contact us.

 

 

 

Killed On This Day.

(108 Years this day)
Tuesday 18th July 1916.
Pte 27346 John Mawdsley
34 years old

(106 Years this day)
Thursday 18th July 1918.
Cpl 106108 William Alexander Unsworth
38 years old