Arthur James Turner was born in 1874 and baptised in Ditchingham in Norfolk on 27th September 1874. His parents were James and Hannah (nee Dodman) who had married in 1868. Hannah died and was buried in Hedenham, Norfolk on 22nd October 1880. She was aged 34 and left a husband and five children. Arthur James was aged only six.
Times must have been hard for the family. James was an agricultural labourer and in 1883 was summoned to the Petty Sessions in Loddon by the School Attendance Officer, for neglecting to send two children to school. He was fined 2s 6d in each case. Perhaps they were need to work in the fields.
We have been unable to find the family in the 1891 census. Arthur James would have been sixteen by this time. Around March 1894 he joined the army. He sent time in India with the Royal Field Artillery and was drafted to England to train recruits during the Boer War. In 1902 he married Lizzie Gertrude Stanley. Their first child, Cyril Arthur Stanley Turner was born in Ireland in 1903 and Leslie Alan followed in 1905 and Vera Evelyn in 1907. The family were living at Bulford Camp, in Wiltshire at the time. Their fourth child, Urban H Turner was born in Rugby in 1912.
Arthur James had been was appointed Battery Sergeant-Major and Instructor in Gunnery to the Rugby Howitzer Battery in March 1910.
According to the report in the Rugby Advertiser 7th Oct 1916
“After the general mobilisation in August 1914, Sergt-Major Turner was appointed to the Divisional Ammunition Column. He finished his term of 22 years in March last, but signed on again for the period of the war, and was transferred to another Division.”
At his death he served in “B” Bty, 95th Bde, Royal Field Artillery (No 3291)
He “was killed in action on September 19th. Mrs Turner has not received official news of her husband’s death, but the Chaplain of the Division to which he was attached has written saying that her husband’s battery had been in action where the fighting was hottest, and he was one of the brave men who had given their lives for his King and country. The Chaplain added that he had read the Burial Service over his grave, near the Battery position. B.S.M. Turner who was 42 years of age, had served 22 years in the R.F.A.
He is buried at Caterpillar Valley Cemetery, west of Longueval, where many of the dead from the Battle of the Somme were buried.
He is also remembered on the Croop Hill War Memorial in Rugby. His widow lived at 64 Victoria Avenue, New Bilton. She died in 1947, aged 76.