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Private Tom Turrall VC


Mark Hone
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Doing some research on behalf of a pupil whose great-great-uncle was killed at La Boisselle in early July 1916 I was reminded that Private Turrall of 10th Worcesters who won his VC there is buried in Robin Hood Cemetery in Shirley, Solihull. Ironically I was only down at that cemetery a few weeks ago at the funeral of an old neighbour, a Dunkirk veteran, but of course I didn't look for Turrall's grave at the time. Do any Pals know what condition it is in?

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The excellent book "Monuments to Courage" has photos of all VC holders graves in it. Its expensive (£75) but worth it in my opinion. Perhaps another member could scan the photo and post it here. My scanner is not working...

Ray Westlake sells the book for £35 - last time I looked at his website anyway

With regard to your man. The best place to find out more will be the Victoria Cross and George Cross Association located in London. I know that this organisation run by Didy Grahame is presently evaluating all VC graves in the UK. Sadly many are decaying badly. What an utter disgrace!

I am applying pressure to the RN to have Captain Ronald Neil STUART's VC,DSO,RD,RNR headstone replaced. He is buried in Charing Kent.

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  • 1 year later...
Doing some research on behalf of a pupil whose great-great-uncle was killed at La Boisselle in early July 1916 I was reminded that Private Turrall of 10th Worcesters who won his VC there is buried in Robin Hood Cemetery in Shirley, Solihull. Ironically I was only down at that cemetery a few weeks ago at the funeral of an old neighbour, a Dunkirk veteran, but of course I didn't look for Turrall's grave at the time. Do any Pals know what condition it is in?

Hi Mark

Just picked up on this thread and can tell you that the grave is in excellent condition. Thomas Turrell was my Great Uncle so imagine how proud we all feel about him

Brummy

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Glad to hear that it's in fine fettle. I'll try to identify the exact location of the VC action for my forthcoming Somme battlefield tour. The pupil I mentioned in my original post will be laying a wreath at the 19th Division's memorial on our visit in July. Next time I'm back in my home town I'll also try to visit your great uncle's grave.

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Kevino

Can you tell us anything about Thomas Turrell's life after he left the Army; reports were that he was a bit of a character whilst serving and I would like to think he had a better life once he returned to civvy street

Stephen

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From VCs of the Somme.

Turrall was the son of Mr & Mrs Turrall of 23 Oakley Road, Small Heath, Birmingham. He was born on the 5th July 1885. As a child he attended Dixon Road School and later trained as a decorator. He joined the 10th Worcesters in 1915 when he was in his 30th year. After the award of his V.C. was announced, two thousand residents in the region of his home assembled at Small Heath Park to present him with £250 which they had contributed together with a gold watch. He was the third Birmingham citizen to gain the V.C. at that time and received congratulations from the Mayor who at the time was Neville Chamberlain who also presented him with a commissioned portrait of Turrall humself.

In 1932 a Brirmingham local newspaper carried a picture of Tom Turrall painting railings.He used to attend many regimental functions and was often the guest of honour. He also attended many V.C. and G.C. reunions. He became a well known and respected figure in Worcestershire and the Midlands.

On February 19th 1964 two days before he died re received a visit from two Lieutenant Colonels from the Regiment who found him in 'very good cheer'. Two days later he died in Sally Oak Hospital, Birmingham at the age of 78. He was given full military honours at the Robin Hood Cemetery, Solihull, Warwickshire and there was a large attendance. His coffin was draped with the Union Jack and buglers played the Last Post and Reveille. A pall bearing party of eight men was supplied from the Brigade Depot at Lichfield. After his death his six medals were left to the Regiment.

Tom Turrall in his 70s, in front of a photo of his younger self:

post-6536-1145310593.jpg

There is more about him on this Topic including the picture in the frame behind the older Tom.

http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/i...topic=50806&hl=

Steve.

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Thanks Steve - excellent

Kevino; did you ever meet the man himself

Stephen

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I'll try to identify the exact location of the VC action for my forthcoming Somme battlefield tour.

Mark

I tried to do that earlier this year; from the citiation, and the desciption in Michael Stedman's book, I believe it is out of the village to the North East; ie to the right of the road leading to Contalmaison on the high ground.

However there is a well respected Pal, who lives close by and , who may be able to tell us more

Stephen

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Pte. Turrall was on a charge prior to the July 3rd, 1916, attack, but T/Lt. R. Jennings ordered him to be released from custody, as the officer recognised Turrall's fearless qualities as a soldier. The man who Turrall subsequently rescued during his VC action was Gloucestershire-born Lt. Jennings, who sadly passed away due to the extent of his injuries. His body would most probably have been lost if Turrall had not brought him in.

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In the early 1950s, not that long after returning from active service in North West Europe and Palestine, my father returned to work in a branch of Lloyds Bank where Mr Turrall was a customer (could even have been Shirley); he recalled him signing his cheques with a flourish 'Tom Turrall VC'

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Here is a discussion forum which may be of interest to you. Borden Battery

Victoria Cross Forum April 2006

This small but specialized forum in both Dutch and English was formed in December 2004. The objectives of the moderators is to give the VC-recipients the honour they deserve and we want to get the Victoria Cross more known in the Netherlands and in Belgium. Currently the forum has about 65 registered members from around the world and 4000 postings. The topics are specific to the Victoria Cross, the recipients and the actions associated with the events.

http://www.dvdhoven.nl/Victoria-Cross/

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I've just come across this thread and thought I'd try to help out. Below is a pic of his grave as taken from Monuments To Courage. You might be able to read at the base of the headstone - "Erected by the Regiment".

Les.

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And here is a pic of his entry in "MTC".

If anyone wants the larger version I've got saved on my PC, let me know and I'll happily send you a copy (it's 818kb in size!!)

Les.

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