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Frederick Turner was born in Longridge in about 1892. He was the son of James and Alice Turner (nee Hornby) and was the eldest of four brothers who had all been born about five years apart from the next; Frederick, then Albert, then Edward and finally George.

At the time of the 1901 census the family were living at 7 Berry Lane, Longridge. Frederick was 9 years old and his father owned a draper’s shop.  The family appears to have also been involved in breeding and showing wolfhounds. Several adverts were placed in a local newspaper offering these dogs for sale for a few years after the turn of the century.

wolfhounds

When the 1911 census was taken they had moved further along Berry Lane to number 18. Fredrick and Albert were now both employed as assistants in their father’s shop and the younger two brothers were still in school. The family appear to have been doing well and employed a domestic servant named Elizabeth Crook.

At some point between 1911 and September 1914 the family moved again; to 10 Kestor Lane, Longridge, Preston which is where they would remain until 1920.

Frederick enlisted into the Territorial Force for a term of 4 years on 3rd September 1914 at Preston. He joined the 4th Battalion of the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment with the number 2311.

At his enlistment medical the doctor noted that Frederick was 23 years old, stood 5 ft 7.25 inches tall and had a 34.5 inch chest. He was described as being of good physical development and fit for service. He had no previous military experience and had been working as a draper with his father.

On the 21st September 1914 he signed the declaration that would enable him, as a Territorial soldier, to serve overseas. He sailed to France with the 1/4th Battalion on board the S.S Onward on 4th May 1915 as part of ‘A’ Company. They would be going into action only a few weeks later in which what is often referred to as ‘the great bayonet charge’.

S.S Onward

S.S Onward

Battle of Festubert, 15th June 1915

At 6pm on the 15th June the attack was launched by the 1/4th Loyal North Lancashire and the 6th Scottish Rifles. The attack was at first successful, the west end of the German salient was carried, and the attack pushed on to the main German line near the Rue d`Overt, and for a time the third German trench was occupied and held. Unfortunately the attack by the Division on the right of the 51st made little or no progress, and when night fell the 154th Brigade had penetrated the German line on a narrow front, but had both its flanks in the air. The attack consequently failed, but as stated in the Divisional History, “great praise is due to the 154th Infantry Brigade for their advance in the face of heavy artillery and close range rifle and machine gun fire. There is little or no doubt that had the operations on the flanks been successful, they would have had every prospect of holding their gains”.

Private Jack Whittle was involved in the battle and later wrote the following to his family in Preston. For more personal accounts of Festubert, click here.

“The charge was made in brilliant style, and the Germans were cleared from two lines of trenches. As we passed through their trenches an awful sight met our gaze, for dead and wounded Germans abounded everywhere, and in places they were piled up one on top of another. There were many who pretended to be wounded and pleaded for mercy. It was a creepy business having to run over their bodies as we advanced. I need scarcely say there were some awful sights and it almost makes me feel sick to write about them.

It was when we got into the open we began to lose our men, for what with their artillery and machine guns, it literally rained lead. Pals fell on all sides of me, and it was miraculous that I got through without being hit.

Unfortunately although we were quite successful in taking two lines of trenches we could not get in touch with our right wing and as it looked as though the Germans would surround us, we were ordered to retire

Private Frederick Turner was initially reported to be missing after the battle, it was later presumed he had been killed on this date. The following newspaper reported that he was shot through the head and died instantly.

2311 PTE FRED TURNER 1ST AND 4TH

Like many others, Frederick’s body was not recovered from the battlefield and as such he is remembered on the Le Touret Memorial and St Wilfred’s Church Memorial in Longridge. He had served just 269 days in the Army before his death.

ST WILFRED`S RC CHURCH LONGRIDGE ST WILFRED`S RC CHURCH MEMORIAL NAME PANEL

His parents later received their late-son’s 1914/15 Star, British War Medal and Allied Victory Medal in addition to a Memorial Plaque and Scroll in recognition of his sacrifice.

It appears one of his brothers was called up in February or March 1918 and had to place an advert offering his new motorcycle for sale.

turner brother

On the 100 year anniversary of his death, Frederick Turner is still being remembered. On 15th June 2015 a cross was placed (presumably by relatives) in the vicinity of where he died, looking back the opposite direction from the German first line towards rue D’Ouvert.

fred turner

Photo courtesy of Jon Porter – 15th June 2015

Rank: Private
Service No: 2311
Date of Death: 15/06/1915
Age: 24
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, “A” Coy. 1st/4th Bn.
Memorial: LE TOURET MEMORIAL

Paul McCormick
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Paul McCormick

Paul McCormick is the creator and administrator for the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment website. Since 2010 he has been researching the soldiers that served during the First World War and sharing their stories on his website. You can contact Paul through the website 'Contact Me' page or on Twitter and Facebook.
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One Response to 2311 PTE. F. TURNER. L.N.LAN.R

  1. Paul Turner says:

    I’m Fred’s nephew. Together with my son, we visited the battlefield on the 15 June 2015, the hundredth anniversary of Fred’s death.

    We left the remembrance cross on the battlefield. It was given to me by Longridge, St Cecilia’s teacher, Andy Gregson, following a church service at Longridge St. Wilfrid’s last year to commemorate the fallen of the parish in WW1. The school also carried out a very interesting project on the WW1 service men of St. Wilfrid’s parish.

    We also paid our respects to Fred at Le Touret Memorial. Somebody had left a poem about the ‘charge’ below the LNL panel in the Memorial, presumably Jon Porter, who took the photo of the cross on the battlefield.

    It unbelievable the massacre that took place in that field one hundred years ago. As far as we could tell, none of the hundred of soldiers killed that fateful day have a known grave.

    A very sobering experience for both of us.

    Paul Turner

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