Charles and Bernard Turner

Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918

The Cottage seen from Chapel Lane
EnlargeThe Cottage seen from Chapel Lane
This was the only Totley family to lose two sons during WW1, both in 1917.

Charles and Bernard were sons of Charles and Hannah Turner who lived in what is now the Old Orchard on Hillfoot Road. The house where the family lived for three generations was a small cottage and still stands, although now part of a much larger property.

Their grandparents were Edward and Keturah Turner who married in the spring of 1849, Edward recorded as both agricultural worker and cordwainer (shoemaker), and Keturah as a laundress.

Edward died in 1880 leaving Keturah with her daughter born prior to their marriage, and three other children, the youngest of which was Charles aged 15, known as Charlie, and who would become the father of Charles and Bernard who died in the war.

In 1881 Charlie was an errand boy but ten years later he was recorded as a scythe smith, a common trade in Totley as the mills on Old Hay Brook had been used for this purpose during the 19th century. However, by the end of the Victorian era these were becoming derelict or had been converted to farm use, so it was possible that he would have been working at Abbeydale Works, now the Hamlet.

In 1890 he married Hannah Bingham from Dore with Arthur, the first of their five children, being born in October of that year. There still exists an indenture dated 10 June 1895 in which Keturah gives the cottage and land to Charlie....

"in consideration of the natural love and affection of the said Keturah Turner for her son the said Charles Turner".

The Cottage on Hillfoot Road
EnlargeThe Cottage on Hillfoot Road
Charles Turner's memorial
EnlargeCharles Turner's memorial
Hannah died in 1903 leaving her young family ranging from age 2 to 12, including Charles junior (aged 10), and Bernard (aged 5). She is buried at Christ Church, Dore. Their grandmother Keturah lived on until 1907, dying at the age of 82.

Born on 16 August 1892, Charles Turner junior was at Totley All Saints School from September 1898 until leaving at the age of almost 13 to begin work. He is recorded as a scythe smith, like his father, in the 1911 census and still living at home.

He enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry as Private PO/1399(S), although his records are lost and dates unknown. He was killed on 17 February 1917, aged 24, on the western front south of Arras in France and is buried at Queens Cemetery Bucquoy in Grave Reference I.J.5.

Born in early January 1898, the school records for Bernard Turner have not been found but he is recorded in the 1911 census as a scholar. He is named as one of the children in the Pageant of King Ecgbert, performed in 1909, and written by Mrs Sarah Milner, the mother of Roy Denzil Pashley Milner, another of the men named on Totley War Memorial.

Bernard's service records have survived and give us details such as:

Date of enlistment-- 13 September at Chesterfield. Pte. No. 01896

Bernard Turner's memorial
EnlargeBernard Turner's memorial
Age-- 18 years 9 months

Height-- 5 ft 3 3/4 inches
Chest fully expanded-- 32 1/2 inches
Occupation-- wood working machinist
Regiment-- Royal Scots 2/8th Battalion

He was transferred to the 2/7th, and finally the 9th Battalion on arrival in Etaples, France on 25 June 1917. There is one entry in his records prior to being reported missing:

14 July 1917-- Deprived of 6 days pay for losing his rifle through neglect in the Field.

He was fighting in the Battle of Menin Road, near Ypres in Passchendale, when he was reported missing on 20 September 1917. His death was officially recorded on the 23rd with the War Office being informed the following day. He was 19 years old and is remembered at the New Irish Farm Cemetery, memorial reference XX.D.17.

It appears Bernard's body was found. In November 1921 his father received "2 discs and 1 numeral" which he was asked to acknowledge.

Arthur, Charles' and Bernard's eldest brother, also fought in WW1 and was taken prisoner of war but returned safely to live the rest of his life in the family cottage. He died in 1978 aged 88.

Their father Charlie died in 1944 having outlived three of his five children and is buried in Christ Church, Dore with his wife and daughter.

Totley War Memorial Project Group