TURNER, Alexander George

No.R/9363, Lance Sergeant, Alexander TURNER
Aged 18

1st Battalion, King's Royal Rifle Corps
Died of his wounds on 17th February 1917

Alexander George TURNER was born at 15 High Street, Haverhill on 22nd August 1898 (Risbridge Q3-1898 4A:780), baptised in St Mary's Haverhill on 21st September 1898, son of Frederick and Selina TURNER(née JOHNSON).

1901 census...Aged 2, he was at 15 High Street, Haverhill with his father Frederick TURNER [32] brewer's manager born Lavenham; his mother Selina [30] born Nottingham; sister Edith [6] and brother Frederick Eley [2], both born in Haverhill.

His father died in 1910 and his mother moved back to Nottingham with the children.

1911 census... Aged 12, he was at 87 Castle Boulevard, Nottingham with his widowed mother; sisters Edith (clerk) and Grace [6] born Haverhill; brother Frederick (contractor's clerk);aunt Agnes JOHNSON [46] milliner, born Nottingham.

His brother Frederick was killed serving in France in the Royal Air Force in 1918 see here

He enlisted in Nottingham.
The battalion war diary is too long on this operation for here, but in summary the attack on enemy trenches on 17th was carried out by 1st K.R.R. and 23rd Royal Fusiliers, with 22 R Fusiliers in support and 1 R Berks in Reserve. The assembly area presented it's own problem with a trench only 4 feet deep and in places no trench at all, the men sheltering in shell holes Battn HQ was at R.18.c.1.8. (just south of where Andanac cemetery is now) With the thaw, slippery ground, shelling and uncut wire progress was not easy. many platoons of all battalions were soon out of position. A German MG at R.11.d.2.9. was initially causing many casualties. Our own machine guns were late to arrive and the Stokes guns never did arrive.
The Battn had 20 casualties before zero hour. There were partial successes, but 18 Div. mopping up parties, having thrown bombs into the enemy dugouts rendered them useless to our troops and the smoke caused even more disorientation. Our own barrage was too thin and too fast, whereas the enemy had several of our parties pinned down. . "D" Coy did reach R.11.b.2.8.but a counter attack drove them back. At the close of day a link up had been established with 18 Div at R.11.d.1.7.

CWGC figures have 53 killed, 24 named on the Thiepval memorial, and all bar 2 of the rest buried in Regina Trench Cemetery.

Given the circumstance of Alexander's original burial it is likely he was initially seen to be wounded and then missing. On the image below the area marked is that swept for scattered graves and re-interment in Regina Trench Cemetery in March 1919

photo: Rodney Gibson

Alexander Turner is buried in Regina Trench Cemetery, grave 4:F:5

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

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