The Newhampton Road (Cranmer) Wesleyan Church Memorial and Roll of Honour, see picture, includes in alphabetical order172 names of men who served during the First World War, including Wilfred Turner. If you go to the following website you can read an interesting story about this Roll of Honour: http://www.wolverhamptonwarmemorials.org.uk/memorial_pages/Church/newhampton_road_cranmer.htm
“Private 513671 14th Bn London Regt (London Scottish) Killed in Action 24/11/1917 Grave/Memorial Reference: III. D. 16. Cemetery: MOEUVRES COMMUNAL CEMETERY EXTENSION.”
The Commonwealth War Graves website, to be found at http://www.cwgc.org/ has a plan of the cemetery, and this picture, and explains that Moeuvres is a village in France, 10 kms west of Cambrai. So, when Wilfred Turner died on 24th November 1917, it must have been at the Battle of Cambrai.
As an important rail centre, essential to bringing in supplies for the German forces, Cambrai became a target for an Allied attack. The Third Army attacked early on 20th November 1917, using a revolutionary method of co-ordinated massed tank-infantry-artillery-aircraft attack on the German trenches. The Germans apparently studied this method very closely and developed it into the German Army blitzkrieg methods of the second World War.
At the end of the first day the attack appeared a spectacular success; church bells in England were rung in celebration. The Germans took back most of the ground they lost, however, with heavy reinforcements and an effective counter-attack,
Wilfred Turner was just one of the Third Army’s losses (dead, wounded and missing) of approximately 44,000 men between 20th November and 8th December. German losses have been estimated at between 45,000 and 55,000.
Wilfred Turner was born at Wolverhampton on 15th June 1882. At the time of the 1891 Census, he was an 8 years old schoolboy. His father, Henry Robert Turner, was a Policeman. Both Wilfred’s father and mother, Martha, were born at Kingswinford. There were 3 more boys Walter 12, Arthur 10 and Nathan Ernest 6, and a 5 month old daughter, Martha. She seems to have been known as Patty, on the 1901 Census. By 1901 Wilfred was working at the age of 18 as a County Court Bailiff. He married Edith Florence Beck on 1st July 1909, and they were living at 14 Bingley Street at the time of the 1911 Census. There is no record of them having any children.
From his Army records, which are among those that survived bomb destruction in WW11, we see that Wilfred was aged 33 years 5 months, weighed 129 lbs and was 5 foot 7 inches tall with a chest measurement of 35½ inches, when he joined his Regimental. Initially his army number was 7781, but this changed to 513671
Dates: Attestation 8th December 1916. To Army reserve 9th December 1916. Mobilised 10th May 1916. Posted 10th May 1916.
Wilfred was ill with Scabies in 1916 for 63 days, from 9th October, until he was discharged as “cured” from the Holborn Military Hospital Western Road at Mitcham on 11th December 1916. Scabies is a contagious skin infection caused by a parasitic mite, developed in the field during the First World War because doctors had become unfamiliar with its early signs. Apparently many soldiers only reported sick after the condition was too painful to bear. By then the rest of the men alongside them in the trenches were infected, too.
Holborn Military Hospital was located in the Mitcham workhouse, used as a military hospital in WW1, and afterwards to house refugees from the Russian revolution.
On 5th July 1918 a letter was sent to Mrs Turner to advise her that she would receive a widow’s pension of 13/9 a week with effect from 22nd July 1918.. She was referred to as being the wife of Wilfred Turner on the Ministry of Pensions Form 3.
Probate was granted to her on 15th May 1919. Wilfred’s effects were valued at £249 13s 3d.
Among Wilfred’s army records this note can be seen.
3rd December 2013