Dedicated to the memory of all the men and women of the Bridgnorth area who died during the two World Wars.
Edward Corben Turner was baptised at St Mary Magdalene, Bridgnorth, on 31 May, 1883. He was the son of Stephen Turner, a school teacher, and his wife Catherine. On leaving school, Edward worked as a carpet designer. He married Joyce Alice Littleford in 1909.
During World War I, Edward served in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He died at sea on 26th February, when the hospital ship HMHS Glenart Castle was torpedoed by UC56 off Lundy. The sinking of this unarmed hospital ship caused outrage in Britain. After the war an attempt was made to try the U-boat commander as a war criminal – but he managed to evade capture and lived to become the oldest U-boat commander to fight in WW2.
RSM Turner is commemorated on the Hollybrook Memorial, Southampton. There is a memorial to the HMHS Glenart Castle at Hartland Point, Devon.
Edward Turner’s brother, Bernard, also served in the War. He wrote a ‘letter from the war’ which was published in the Bridgnorth Journal of 26th June, 1915.
RSM Turner, 18391, was awarded the Victory Medal and the British Medal.
A VICTIM OF THE PIRATES. [Bridgnorth Journal, Saturday 2nd March, 1918] Sergt.-Major C. E. Turner, R.A.M.C., son of Mr. S. E. D. Turner, Bridgnorth, was on board H.M. Hospital Ship "Glenart Castle" when topedoed [sic] in the Bristol Channel early on Tuesday morning, and as nothing has been heard from him there is every reason to feel that he is drowned.
THE GLENART CASTLE – A SURVIVOR’S STORY OF STRANGE LIGHTS [Bridgnorth Journal, Saturday 9th March, 1918] Among the survivors of the Glenart Castle was Mr Reginald Mote, of Tottenham, a ward attendant, who on Sunday gave a Press representaitve an account of his experiences. When the explosion occurred, he says, he had retired to his quarters and was asleep. He ran to the deck with only his pants and shirt on, and found that his boat had been blown up. The captain was shouting, "Every man for himself; be quick." Mote, who was able to get into another boat, states that he did not see any of the nurses. The Glenart Castle sank immediately after his boat pushed off, only seven minutes after she had been struck. For over six hours the little craft floated with 22 survivors, some of whom thought they saw strange lights – which they took to be the lights of hostile submarine. Mote rowed for the whole time he was in the boat, being glad of the exercise to keep him warm. The night was pitch dark, and when a French schooner eventually picked them up the boat was almost water logged and would not have floated many more minutes. The last Mote saw of Captain Burt, of whom he spoke in high praise, was on the deck urging the crew into the boat. He is unable to give any information of others on board, as in the darkness he could see no one.
THE GLENART CASTLE OUTRAGE – STARTLING DISCOVERY IN THE BRISTOL CHANNEL [Bridgnorth Journal, Saturday 16th March, 1918] The "Liverpool Evening Express" is authoritatively informed that the body of one of the junior officers of the hospital ship Glenart Castle, which was torpedoed in the British Channel on February 25 by a German submarine, has been picked up not far distant from the spot at which the vessel was sunk, and that on examination the body, still wearing the life-belt, was found to have sustained two gunshot wounds, one in the neck and the other in the thigh. While there have been no reports that the pirates fired on the escaping crew of the hospital ship at the moment of the outrage, this discovery suggests that an attack was subsequently made on some of the boots, and is especially significant in view of the previous allegations that the pirates were shooting on crews after they had left the sinking ships.
This memorial has mostly been compiled from official sources. It would be good to be able to expand it with more personal material - memories, stories, photos, etc. If you have any suitable material or any corrections please contact Greg. For news of updates follow @BridgnorthHeros on Twitter.