TURNER, Walter Charles

No.17967, Private, Walter Charles TURNER
Aged 39

2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Monday, 9th April 1917

Walter Charles Turner was born in Alpherton, Sudbury in 1877 (Sudbury Q3-1877 4A:488), son of Robert and Sarah TURNER (née SMITH).

1881 census...Aged 3, he was at Cottage near school, Borley, Essex with his father Robert TURNER [30] gardener born Hundon; his mother Sarah A.[31] born Alpheton; sisters Amy C. [10],and Alice [5] born Alpheton and Annie M [1] born Borley; brother Alfred [8] born Alpheton.

1891 census...Aged 13, he was at Hundon Road, Great Bradley with his parents (father now stockman); brothers Alfred (farm labourer); George Albert [5] and Ernest Fred [4]; sisters Annie M. and Elizabeth F [8]. The new siblings all born in Alpheton.

1901 census...Aged 24, a horsekeeper, he was boarding at 15 Brisbane Street, Camberwell with Joseph and Ester SONES, with 3 opthers from Suffolk including George Pearson from Alpheton. His parents and brothers George Albert and Ernest Frederick were in Great Bradley

He married Phyllis Jessie PALFREY [24--1879] in Emmanuel, Camberwell on 25th July 1903.

1911 census...Aged 32, farm labourer, he was at Flempton with his wife Phyllis Jessie [31] born Fornham All Saints; daughters Alice Christine Edith Annie [13-12-1903] born Camberwell, London, Queenie Carina [30-10-1905] born Camberwell and Nellie Pyllis [222-1909] born Great Bradley.

There were 2 more childen, Nancy Lilian [29-5-1913] and George Walter [23-5-1915].

He enlisted in Bury St.Edmunds.
The 2nd Battalion, Suffolk Regiment were successful in the battle of Arras in April 1917. From the caves in Arras, they moved into the assembly area in support of the 4th Royal Fusiliers. When the Fusiliers reached a certain point, then the Suffolks were to move through and carry on to the north and east sides of the redoubt known as the HARP. At zero the Fusiliers advanced, crossing a valley under 5.9" shelling. The Suffolks moving in artillery formation got through virtually unscathed.and by noon battalion HQ was moved into The HARP. No counter attacks were made and in the afternoon 8th Brigade moved through and in the evening the Suffolks returned to the old Hindenburg line.
Lt Col Murphy's "History of the Suffolk Regiment" says casualties were comparatively light, scarcely exceeding one hundred all told!. In point of fact CWGC record 20 killed, 2 named on the Arras memorials, 18 buried in Tilloy.

The Bury Free Press of 5th May 1917 reported:-

Quite a gloom was cast over this quiet little village when it became known that Prvt Walter Turner, aged 39 years, of this place, had been killed in action. He joined voluntarily under the Lord Derby scheme. Deceased leaves a wife and five children. The Rev.Canon Ebsworth made feeling allusion to the sad occurrence in his sermon at Flempton Church on Sunday evening. The deepest sympathy is extended to Mrs.Turner and family in this heavy trial.....letter from Chaplain E C Danvers...letter from Lieut W.H.Simpson....and in a letter from Captain C.B.Nichols :- "18th April 1917..Dear Madam - I am sorry to have to tell you that your husband Prvt W.Turner 17967, X Company, 2nd Suffolk Regiment, has been killed in action by a shell, on 9th April, in an attack on the German trenches. His effects will be sent to you. Your husband, whom I knew well, was one of our most reliable men. He was my servant for a time, so I knew him well. Always cool, he did his work well and thoroughly, and we shall miss him very much. I expect the officer to whom he was servant, has already written to you, but I want to take the opportunity to offer you the very sincere sympathy of all the officers and men of the Company. Please write to me if there is anything I can do; I am indeed sorry.

The Harp, where Walter was found before reburial in 1919 in Tilloy cemetery (about 100 metres away).

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Walter Turner is buried in Tilloy British Cemetery, grave 4:F:21

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details