Private 17784 William Turner

Turner William 96 363x600Turner William 96 411x600
Photograph courtesy of Margaret Rhodes.

Killed in Action on Saturday, 9th September 1916, age unknown.
Buried in Grave I. G. 35. at Ovillers Military Cemetery, Somme, France.

7th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 33rd Brigade of 11th Division.

Husband of Mrs Louisa Turner, of 14 Lion Yard, Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed Balkans, 11th September 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/546305/

Genealogical Data

Birth of William Turner registered September quarter 1880 in Dudley.
Marriage of William Turner and Louie Duffield registered December quarter 1899 in Dudley.

1901 Census
9 House, 5 Court, Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
William Turner (20, Coal Worker - Horse Drive below ground, born Tipton), his wife Louie (20, born Tipton), and their son: Edward (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
10 House, 5 Court, Park Lane West, Tipton, Staffs.
William Turner (31, Coal Miner, born Tipton), his wife Louisa (30, born Tipton), and their 5 children: Edward (11, born Tipton), William (9, born Tipton), Florence (7, born Tipton), John (5, born Tipton), and Olive (1, born Tipton).
A fifth child, Gladys, was born on 19th January 1913.

Personal Data

After William's death, his army pay and allowances amounted to £3/2/4d (3 pounds, 2 shillings and 4 pence); this was paid to his widow, Louisa, in January 1917. His War Gratuity was £6/10/0d (6 pounds, 10 shillings), this was also paid to Louisa in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that William had enlisted in approximately March 1915.

William’s widow, Louisa, was awarded a pension of £1/7/0d (1 pound and 7 shillings) for herself and 5 children, effective from 26th March 1917.

Action resulting in his death

William arrived in Gallipoli on 11th September 1915, when the major battles for the South Staffs in the peninsula had already taken place and almost 200 South Staffs men had been killed. At this time the battalion was being re-built, and were mainly involved in holding the line and innumerable work parties. November saw violent storms and freezing conditions, with trenches flooded and widespread cases of frostbite. In December, Gallipoli was evacuated and the 7th South Staffs relocated to Egypt.

In July 1916, the 7th South Staffs arrived in France, initially being posted near Arras. They moved to the Somme battlefield in September 1916, taking over front line trenches in the Thiepval-Ovillers sector on 6th September 1916, "facing north between Thiepval and Mouquet Farm". They were shelled on the 6th and each subsequent day until they were relieved on the 11th September, having had 14 men killed, including 2 experienced company commanders, and 4 men from Tipton.

The Tipton men were: Job Lawley and John Price on 6th, William Turner on the 9th, and John Duffield dying from wounds on the 10th September.

9th September 1916
"..misty morning and therefore quiet. Again shelling became heavy towards the afternoon."

William Turner was most likely killed in the shelling, and is buried in Ovillers Military Cemetery, adjacent to the graves of John Price and Job Lawley who had been killed on the 6th September.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Gazette 6th October 1916
The Midlands names in the lists are given below:
South Staffords- Turner, 17784, W., (Tipton).