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This article was submitted for inclusion by John Greenway, thank you.

Fred Turner, born 12.10.1886 died 19.07.1966

Fred was my maternal grandfather and was in the 1st / 4th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment.

I do not know when he joined the Army but I do know that he saw action throughout the First World War. His number was 2338 which, when the TF were renumbered in 1917 became 200541. Fred was in France and Belgium in the area around Ypres. He was awarded the Military Medal for an act that took place in January 1918 (London Gazette 19th March 1918) and the Meritorious Service Medal on 29th August 1918. I can remember my father asking him how he got this medal and his answer was that a lot of people had been very brave, all their names were put in a tin hat and his name came out. This was as much as our side of the family ever knew.


Many years after his death my mother met her cousin, the daughter of Fred’s sister Elsie. Somehow they got talking about the war and Dorothy was amazed that my mum did not know the story of the Military Medal. Apparently Fred saved his friend Frank Park’s life by giving him sips of brandy until he could be taken to the field hospital and afterwards Fred took him home when they were repatriated as Frank had no family to take him in and this is how he met Fred’s little sister Elsie.

My second cousin Gerard Mason who was the son of Fred’s other sister Annie wrote a book “Memories of a Lancashire Lad” and in this extract he mentions the story:

In 1914, dad joined the army, the Manchester Regiment, and went to fight in France where he was wounded and gassed. Dad was repatriated to England, and was in hospital when he be­came pals with three other soldiers. Two of them were brothers and were known to me as Uncle Fred and Uncle Walter. The third became my Uncle Frank. Walter was in the Royal Artillery and Frank and Fred were in the Loyals — the North Lancashire regiment. Frank had no living relatives. His only brother was killed in front of him in France when Frank was wounded. Fred, a sergeant, resuscitated him by giving him sips of brandy.

When fit enough, the four friends were sent to Preston and Frank moved in with Fred. Fred and Walter had two sisters, Elsie and Annie, and they all got on like a house on fire, my dad in­cluded.

Eventually, Frank married Elsie and my dad married Annie. Fred got engaged to Gladys from Shropshire and Walter married a lady called Rose who had been a theatrical artiste in her younger years.

I also know, because he told me, that he went to Mesopotamia, but I have no idea when. After the war I know that he stayed involved with the Army if not as an enlisted soldier. Indeed, his Marriage Certificate gives his occupation as “Clerk” and his address as 9, Hudson Street, Preston (this is 1921). My mother was born on 13.11.1931 and his occupation is given as “Civilian Clerk for Army” and his address is 97, Avenham Lane, Preston. He was certainly in the Territorial Army as he was awarded the Territorial Efficiency Medal in 1927. His post war service number was 3846001.


He must have still been in the Army or re-enlisted for World War Two as he is in uniform on the photo dated 1940. He would have been well in his fifties by then. I do know that during this war he and my Nan ran the Drill Hall in Stanley Street and his address in 1944 was certainly The Cottage, Drill Hall, Stanley Street, Preston. As far as I know wounded soldiers were sent here. My mother was evacuated to Benbecula for the duration of the war in the care of a daughter of the doctor nursed by my Nan. Gerard mentions visiting the Drill Hall in his book.



Picture dated 29.07.1940




Uncle Fred was the curator at the Stanley Street barracks. He lived there in a flat with my Auntie Gladys and my cousins Betty and Sheila. Sheila and I were about the same age. My mother used to take me there and we played together. I’ve never forgot­ten Sheila’s huge, three-wheel bicycle which she charged around the drill hall on. She’d let me have a go too. Great times


Sheila Turner Drill Hall, Stanley Street

One evening, mum, dad, Joyce and I went to the barracks to see Uncle Fred. There was a blackout as usual and as we walked up the slope that approached the flat, a sentry on guard shouted, “Halt. Who goes there? Friend or foe?”

“Friend,” dad shouted back.

Advance, friend,” said the guard. Then he recognised my dad, they were colleagues in the Home Guard and we were allowed in. I’ve always wondered what would have happened if had shouted, Foe.”

I am not sure of when he was promoted but at some stage he became a Sergeant. I also do not know when he left the Army but in the 1950s he worked a Solicitor’s Clerk for Houghton Napthen and Craven in Winckley Street, retiring in his seventies.

I have a book, ‘The Story of the 55th Division 1916 – 1919′, published in 1919 which belonged to him and in which he noted the dates of his service in France.


Paul McCormick
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