William Martin Turner in WW1


William was the only one on the War Memorial to be buried in England. His grave stands in Holywell churchyard towards the western boundary and is in remarkable condition. William’s mother, and brother, Charles, accompanied his body back to the village where it was to be buried with full military honours.

He was baptised on the 30th January 1898, son of Charles and Susan Ann Turner, at the age of 19 the youngest from the village to die and the only one to die in England. His brother Charles was enlisted in the Battalion.

William was a private, number 21064, in the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion, East Kent Regiment (The Buffs). Throughout the war this battalion was based in Dover. Its task was to train and prepare recruits for transfer to the fighting units of the Buffs.

Ernest Seekings was number 21061 in the Buffs and he and William joined the Army together. They did their training together and it is likely that they would both have fought in the 7th Buffs, as Ernest did. However William was to die before completing his training.

PoppySome 2 months after enlisting William died in the Military Hospital, Dover of an illness contracted whilst in the Army. In a sad war with millions of casualties this must have been a particularly poignant death. A fit young man he willingly left his home to fight in the service of his country and was struck down by illness before reaching the devastation and danger of war.

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The Huntingdonshire Cyclists Battalion was used mostly for home defence duties and were based in Yorkshire for a lot of the time, watching the east coast. For this reason they were know by many as the 'forgotten regiment'.

Many local soldiers who served in the army in World War 1 had been in the Cyclists Battalion first.

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