TURNER, Frederick Eley

2nd Lieutenant, Frederick Eley TURNER
Aged 21

20 Squadron, Royal Air Force
formerly West Yorkshire Regiment
formerly 71809 Notts and Derby Regiment (Sherwood Foresters)
Killed in Action on Friday, 27th September 1918

Frederick Eley TURNER was born at 15 High Street, Haverhill on 15th November 1896 (Risbridge Q4-1896 4A:759), baptised in St Mary's Haverhill on 7th September 1897, son of Frederick and Selina TURNER(née JOHNSON).

1901 census...Aged 4, 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 Alexander George [2], both born in Haverhill.

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

1911 census... Aged 14, a contractor's clerk, he was at 87 Castle Boulevard, Nottingham with his widowed mother; sisters Edith (clerk) and Grace [6] born Haverhill; brother Alexander; aunt Agnes JOHNSON [46] milliner, born Nottingham. He was employed by G A Pillatt at 92 Sherwood Street, Nottingham form 1909 to 4th August 1914.

He worked from 1909 to joining the Army in 1914 for G.A.Pillatt,92 Sherwood Street, Nottingham.

His brother Alexander was killed serving in France in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in 1917 see here

His address and that of his mother for the RAF was 9 Wellington Square, Lenton Sands, Nottingham. He served in the West Yorkshire Regiment and was attached to 20 Squadron Royal Air Force. He arrived in France on 11th September 1915. He was gazetted 2nd Lt on 20th September 1918, (effective 29th August 1918) He was killed in aerial combat over Marcy in France one week later and buried there in the German Cemetery. This cemetery was closed and all the graves exhumed, Frederick being re-interred in Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery in 1924.

There is a discrepancy between the CWGC who have his other crew member as 2nd Lt C.E.CLARKE, removed from grave 62 at Marcy Chateau, and the German documentation held by the International Red Cross who have that partner as 2nd Lt R.F. HORNE in grave 62. CWGC have no record at all of such a man, so it is assumed the Germans had mis-identified him. This is quite possible since it seems they were identified by scraps of clothing (Tuchlappen geststelt). The scraps of clothing were buried with them but in Frederick's case, his pay book was sent in,although where it is now is unknown, unless a trip to the National Archives is more successful..

He enlisted in Nottingham.
20 Squadron was formed at Netheravon on 1st September 1915. By the time of the formation of the Royal Air Force (1st April 1918) they were equiped with Bristol Fighters (the "Brifit") for their role as fighter/reconnaissance. They were not granted their badge until 1937. At the time of Frederick's death they were operating from Proyart (roughly mid way between Amiens and Peronne). They were the highest scoring squadron in the Great War

His final letter on 9th September 1918, from the 'Church Army Recreation Tent', reads:-
Dearest Mother, Am at last with the squadron up the line, a place where Fritz has retired dozens of miles. The place where we are now, used to be a German Aerodrome'.

In September 1918, No. 20 Squadron were operating from Proyart. At 16.30 hrs on 27th September, Bristol F.2B fighters of No. 20 Squadron were in aerial combat over Marcy claiming four Fokkers shot down for the loss of one of their aircraft, No E2566, being flown by 2nd Lt. F.E. Turner & his observer 2nd Lt. C. E. Clarke, over Fontaine Notre Dame.
The Casualty Report states: 'Last seen north east of St Quentin in combat with an enemy aircraft. Reported missing, presumed killed in action.'
Frederick was initially found by the enemy and buried in a German Cemetery.

photo from www.ww1cemeteries.com

Frederick Turner is buried in Grand-Seraucourt British Cemetery, grave 9:B:10

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

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