TURNER, Charles

No. 13520, Private, Charles TURNER
Aged 22

7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment
Died as a Prisoner of War on Thursday, 10th October 1918

Charles Turner was born in Soham 10th April 1896 (Newmarket Q2-1896 3B:533), baptised in Soham on 8th May 1896, son of Clarke and Annie Mary TURNER (née LAKIN) of Clay Street, Soham.

1901 census...Aged 4, he was at the Cottage, Clay Street, Soham with his father Clark TURNER [40] carpenter born Soham; his mother Annie [34] born Hugglescote, Leicestershire; sisters Rhoda [9] born Soham and Annie [3] born Soham; brothers Willie [8] born Newmarket and Edward [6] born Soham.

1911 census...Aged 14, newspaper boy, he was at Clay Street, Soham with his parents; brother Edward (newspaper boy); sisters Annie and May [6] born Soham. His father died in 1912.

The Register of Soldiers Effects lists brothers William L, Edward C and sisters Annie, Florence M and Rhoda E. It would seem at least some of the family had moved to Leicestershire from the International Red Cross records and it does seem likely that the Annie M Turner whose death was recorded in Ashby de la Zouch in December 1917 was his mother

He enlisted in Norwich.
He was captured on 27th March 1918 at Albert. His address recorded by the Germans was 140 Church Lane, Whitewich, [Whitwick] Leicester. Unfortunately that is all that is on line from the International Red Cross archives.

"The History of the Norfolk Regiment" F Loraine Petre OBE informs us that on the 27th March 1918, in the morning, the battalion received heavy shell and machine gun fire and the right flank had to retire, but the attack was not pressed by the Germans and their fire slackened. Te right flank was now on the air and the location of the Suffolks was unknown. Much machine gun fire and aircraft action ensued and a Lewis gun party was sent out, but could not maintain itself, a similar fate meeting a second such party. Eventually a post was established 400 yards to the right.
At 11 am the Germans were advancing in strength on AVELUY where both flanks of the Norfolks were in the air and Col.Rees ordered the battalion, as well as reinforcing companies of the Essex and Northants to fall back in three waves to a crest in the rear with their left on the Bouzincourt-Aveluy road. This was done despite heavy artillery and machine gun fire. In the afternoon the position became precarious, the Germans working round to the left and enfilading machine gun fire ensued. 3 Vickers guns were ordered in support but these never arrived. At dusk the Germans had almost surrounded the post which they then rushed but most of the garrison managed to escape.
The Norfolks' casualties in this heavy fighting totalled 19 officers and 282 men over 3 days. 5 officers died and 6 OR, the rest were missing or wounded. (CWGC gives the eventual figure of O.R. dead as 26)

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Charles Turner is buried in Landrecies Communal Cemetery, grave 3 (among the civilian graves).

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