Private Robert Turner

Private Robert Turner, 1st/7th ( Territorial ) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action in France on 15th September 1916 during the Battle of the Somme, aged 30 and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Thiepval, Somme, France. He was the grandson of the late Thomas Turner and the brother of Miss Turner of River View, Horncliffe. He was an old member of the Horncliffe Volunteers  and was a fine shot having won the Gold Rifle Shot trophy. He was a Battalion sniper and had already been wounded at Ypres in 1915. Before enlisting he had been slater and plasterer to trade. He fell in an attack on German trenches near the notorious High Wood. The Battalions on either flank could not get forward and the attack failed with heavy casualties many of which were apparently caused by the British artillery barrage falling short. 3 Officers were killed with a further 6 wounded. Other Rank casualties were 40 killed and 219 wounded. A further 74 men were posted missing which in Great War parlance usually meant dead. The artist’s impression gives an idea of the type of grim fighting that took place in and around the Somme woods. In particular High Wood was infamous and took nearly two months to completely clear with very heavy loss on both sides. The photograph shows the impressive Memorial raised to commemorate the 50th ( Northumbrian ) Division of which the Battalion was part until February 1918. It was erected near the village of Weiltje in the Ypres Salient where nearby the Division had fought its first action on the 26th April 1915 during the Battle of St. Julien only days after landing on the Continent. The other photos show troops on the Somme.

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