News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.
Arnold’s Sheffield Life.
Arnold was born on the 3rd July 1892 at 110 Creswick St to Harry and Sarah [Critchlow ]Turner.
His father, Harry was born in Sheffield in 1850 and died 1925. He was in the precious metal industry as a Silver Chaser. Arnold’s mother was also born in Sheffield and before her marriage was a teacher.
Arnold was the fourth child in the family of five, having to brothers and two sisters. At the time of his birth the family were living in the home of Hannah Critchlow, a grocer, who was Sarah’s mother, at Creswick St.
The family moved houses several times, always in the Walkley area. By 1901 they were living at 175 Freedom Rd, by 1911 at 269 South Rd, and in 1917 at 25 Camm St.
By the time Arnold volunteered in the army he was an assayer in precious metals at The Sheffield Smelting Company.
Arnold volunteered in 1914, aged 22 years 70 days, in the 12th Batallion York and Lancaster Regiment (Sheffield Pals). He was described as being 5ft 5 1/4 inches tall with a pale complection, blue eyes and light brown hair.
As part of the Sheffield Pals, Arnold survived the first day of the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July 1916. The Pals were withdrawn from the front line on the 4th July then went back to the front at Neuve Chapelle, then Festubert where they were involved in the Battle of Ypres, before moving to the Somme at Hebuterne and Bucquoy.
It was at Bucquoy, on March 9th 1917, that Arnold Turner was reported as Missing in Action.
Orders were issued for the Battalion to take over the Front Line at Bucquoy near Pusieux. The Sheffield Battalion were to relieve the 14th Barnsley during the afternoon of the 9th March:
“It was a very foggy day,the area was a nightmare of mud,it was a quagmire of clinging filth where soldiers frequently saw dead horses and mules gradually swallowed up.All the roads had been destroyed,as far as the eye could see there did not appear to be a single square yard of land untouched.”
Tragically prior to the relieving operation the Barnsley Battalion had been attacked by a German Patrol and many of the Barnsley Section had been wounded and/or taken prisoner.
When the Sheffield Section arrived at 4pm they were ambushed.
According to Regimental Records:
“The enemy lay in wait and ambushed the relieving Garrison.There was a stiff tussle in which the enemy succeeded in gaining his objective.”
Arnold was reported as missing. In all likelihood he was captured as at the end of the War his ‘dog tag’ was passed on to the American Embassy in Berlin from the Germans.
This was the only effects of Arnold to be returned to the Family. His body was never found and his date of death was recorded as March 9th 1917, the day he went missing. One can only imagine the anguish the family went through. Whilst ever they were missing there must have been hope. It was it was seven months before he was reported dead.
By Audrey Buxton