William Tom Turner, Captain, 7th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment
Killed in action 10th August 1915 at Gallipoli, aged 27
William Tom Turner was born in 1888 in Bolas Magna, Shropshire, the son of Catherine Ellen and William Lloyd Turner, a farmer. In 1891, 3 year old William Tom was living with his parents and sister Margery, aged 2, at Winterton Farm near Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire. William was educated at Harrow House School in Bognor, and in 1901 at the age of 13 he was the oldest pupil listed there out of a total of 12 boarders.
Ten years later in 1911, William was living with his parents at Springfield House, off Beech Lane, Tytherington and employed as a chartered accountant’s articled clerk.
On 14th September 1914, William married Dorothy White at St Mary’s Church, Northampton. An announcement was printed in the Macclesfield Courier on 19th September:
“MARRIAGE: TURNER-WHITE. – On the 14th inst., at the Parish Church of St Mary, Northampton, by the Vicar, the Rev. J. H. Riddell, M. A., William Tom, elder son of Mr. and Mrs. W. L. Turner, Esthwaite Lodge, Hawkshead, to Dorothy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. L. White, Sutton, Macclesfield.”
A similar announcement in the Liverpool Echo of 18th September added that William was a lieutenant in the 7th Battalion Cheshire Regiment and that he was the grandson of the late Mr. J. Brown of the Waterloo High School.
William attested at Macclesfield, joining the 7th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment.
Following a period of training in various locations in the south of England, the 7th Cheshires, as part of 159th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division, received orders to equip for service in an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean. In July 1915 they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria in Egypt, then on to the island of Lemnos on the 4th August.
On the evening of 8th August, the Battalion arrived off the coast of Gallipoli and the following day landed at “C” Beach, Suvla Bay. Having landed, they came under shell fire at about 8.30am and so moved north along the edge of the bay; they then received orders to attack in the direction of a dip in the hills behind Anafarta Saghir.
At 8am on 10th August the Battalion was ordered to attack Hill 70. This was unsuccessful and the Battalion suffered severe losses. A second unsuccesssful attack took place at 5pm. By the end of the day, Captain Turner was missing and he was assumed to have died on 10th August 1915.
Captain William Turner has no known grave and is commemorated on Panel Ref. 75 to 77 on the Helles Memorial in Turkey. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission holds casualty details for Captain William Turner, and he is listed on the Imperial War Museum’s Lives of the First World War website.
The floral tributes laid when the Macclesfield Park Green War Memorial was unveiled on 21st September 1921 included one which simply said “Mrs. William T. Turner.”