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James Turnbull b. 1897 and his award of DCM in WW1


Cuillodge
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Researching the above person in my family tree. James was born in Leith 12 Feb. 1897 He was awarded the DCM during the WW1. I am trying to find out, what regiment he was in, and why and where he was awarded this medal. Any help gratefully received. Many Thanks

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4 possibilities.... J T Turnbull 8192 Royal West Kent 1st Apr 1915,  J Turnbull 1850 9th Argyll & Sutherland High 30th Jun 1915., J Turnbull 25262 26th Fld Coy R.E.  3rd Jun 1915 and J.M Turnbull 148539 184th Tunnelling Coy RE 3rd Sept 1919.

The dates refer to London Gazette publication dates

Edited by EDWARD1
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50 minutes ago, Cuillodge said:

He was awarded the DCM during the WW1.

A prestigious award such as a DCM would be very likely to get reported in the press.

= I suggest you need to find out / let us know where he and his family were living during 1914 - 1919

Then check the press including the local newspapers.

The Britsh Newspaper Archive [Incl. in Find My Past] seems a popular source.

M

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41 minutes ago, EDWARD1 said:

4 possibilities.... J T Turnbull 8192 Royal West Kent 1st Apr 1915,  J Turnbull 1850 9th Argyll & Sutherland High 30th Jun 1915., J Turnbull 25262 26th Fld Coy R.E.  3rd Jun 1915 and J.M Turnbull 148539 184th Tunnelling Coy RE 3rd Sept 1919.

FindMyPast have indexed records for 148539 Royal Engineers as James Mackenzie Turnbull, born c1897 but links him to Edinburgh. I don't subscribe to FMP or Ancestry so can't check it out, but may well be worth a look.

25262 Royal Engineers has a Medal Index Card in the name of Joseph Turnbull.

1850 Argyll & Sutherland was a James Turnbull according to his medal index card - subsequently 76064 Highland Light Infantry. Edit. According to familysearch he was serving with the 7th Battalion when he enlisted in 1915 and was born Alnwick, Northumberland c1891. Surviving service records on Ancestry and FMP.

8192, (as L/8192), has a medal index card showing him as John T. Turnbull

Cheers,
Peter

Edited by PRC
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Oh, re: newspaper reports  / searches ...

It probably would be handy if you can also please give us

= his parents' names [especially if they were still alive]

= his wife's name [if married or living as such]

since they may offer an alternative search option(s)

M

Edited by Matlock1418
addit
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Could this be a likely candidate? The Scotsman 25th June 1915. 

 

47A8FF2C-38F2-4766-BB27-B9FEE343C1C7_4_5005_c.jpeg

Edited by Gunner 87
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I've edited my previous post - looking increasingly like the Tunnelling Company man is the strongest option of the four contenders identified by @EDWARD1

Citation can be found on page 11091 of the 2nd Supplement to the London Gazette of the 2nd September 1919. This supplement was published on the 3rd September.

1988759620_LGSupplement03091919Page11165DCMcitation.png.d7a2b3554e6e1db5a5a3198438e7648e.png

Image courtesy the London Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31534/supplement/1

Awaiting confirmation from @Cuillodge that this is the right family member before delving deeper and giving a shout out to our Tunnelling Company experts.

Cheers,
Peter

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This seems to be his family tree: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/family-tree/person/tree/113657916/person/402107681475/facts?_phsrc=WWn1558&_phstart=successSource

Born: 40 West Bowling Green St, Leith, 12 Feb 1897. Parents Oliver & Elizabeth.

1901: Living in 42 Balcarres Street, Edinburgh with his family

Married: Margaret Trench, Edinburgh 3 May 1919. Living at 9 Leith Street Terrace, Edinburgh.

Died: Edinburgh, 19 July 1946 aged 49 from TB.

 

However, there is also James Murray Turnbull, born Leith c.1897, age 4 on the 1901 census, living with grandparents at 42 Jane St: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/discoveryui-content/view/4204149:1101?tid=&pid=&queryId=1192548d0d8e82545063b998ff960fc6&_phsrc=WWn1567&_phstart=successSource

James McKenzie Turnbull was 148539 RE, and was a miner living at 191 Gorgie Rd., Edinburgh when he enlisted on 12 March 1916: https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/1219/images/31239_205137-00379?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&queryId=11fd763404b4375c6c286b12b96bf52f&usePUB=true&_phsrc=WWn1573&_phstart=successSource&usePUBJs=true&pId=2011336

https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid=1219&h=2011336&indiv=try&o_vc=Record:OtherRecord&rhSource=7579

The father of James Turnbull (12 Feb 1897 - 19 July 1946) was Oliver (1866-1936). His father was also Oliver (1834-1883) who married a Jane McKenzie in 1855.

There is a James McKenzie Turnbull born 26 October 1897 and died Q1 1989 aged 91 in Tyneside:  https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?dbid=7579&h=8684692&indiv=try&o_vc=Record:OtherRecord&rhSource=1219  but he is NOT the man in the OP, who we are told was born 12 Feb 1897.

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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1 hour ago, PRC said:

I've edited my previous post - looking increasingly like the Tunnelling Company man is the strongest option of the four contenders identified by @EDWARD1

Citation can be found on page 11091 of the 2nd Supplement to the London Gazette of the 2nd September 1919. This supplement was published on the 3rd September.

1988759620_LGSupplement03091919Page11165DCMcitation.png.d7a2b3554e6e1db5a5a3198438e7648e.png

Image courtesy the London Gazette https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/31534/supplement/1

Awaiting confirmation from @Cuillodge that this is the right family member before delving deeper and giving a shout out to our Tunnelling Company experts.

Cheers,
Peter

Many pages of his service record held on FMP and Ancestry. A very quick look through shows:

Attested 20 April 1913, Private 3556 (TF) R.A.M.C.T.

Embodied 5 August 1914

Transferred 18 July 1915  1/9 Royal Scots

Transferred 12 March 1916 R.E. 184th Tunnelling Company

Next of kin shown as Mrs B Turnbull of 191 Gorgie Road, Edinburgh. (I searched for the mother of James and I believe that her given name was Elizabeth -- 'B' in next of kin name could be 'Betty' / 'Beth')

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Meant to add this image from his service record. (courtesy of Find My past)

Turnbull medal awards.jpg

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James McKenzie Turnbull's medal roll shows that he served with several units (Ancestry):

 

Turnbull.png

He moved from the Royal Scots to the RE in March 1916:

image.png.1534c0568fe1b0ec82d25162ff1d9093.png

He had initially joined the RAMC in 1913, aged 17 https://www.ancestry.co.uk/imageviewer/collections/1219/images/31239_205137-00408?treeid=&personid=&hintid=&usePUB=true&usePUBJs=true&pId=2011336

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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Hello, First of all Thank you so much for all your research.

I have looked at all your comments. These facts come to mind.

James married the widow of my Gt Uncle. (He was a Mercer Smeaton of R.E. He was killed in April 1918.)

James married her May 1919 and his DCM is recorded on the marriage certificate then so he must have been awarded it prior to then. James was 28 yrs old at that time.

James Turnbull does not appear to have a middle name on any of his birth, marriage of death certificates, so that appears to rule out several people in the running.

James' details are as per Ivor Anderson's post. That's my page on Ancestry!

James lived as a child at 42 Balcarrres Street, Edinburgh and before and after his marriage at 9 Leith Street, Terrace, Edinburgh. His parents were Oliver Turnbull and Elizabeth Campbell. He lived at Leith Street Terrace for the rest of his life.

I guess it would not surprise me to know that he could have been in R.E also. I noted that on his death cert. it states that he had been a Permanent Way Worker with The Edinburgh Corporation Tramways. A hint to his army history?

Could he have been J.Turnbull  25262 of 26th Field Coy R.E, DCM awarded in 1915, The only thing about this person is it was mentioned that he was called Joseph. Could it be a mistake?

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A Update James and his family were still living in Balcarres Street Edinburgh in 1911.

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9 minutes ago, Cuillodge said:

Could he have been J.Turnbull  25262 of 26th Field Coy R.E, DCM awarded in 1915

As previously noted, the fact that he was Joseph rules him out (MIC & medal roll off Ancestry):

image.png.ef90068384b6d39ec08a1f3cf3894fb7.png

image.png.bd6bcfa66763f2433b90cd2288517f96.png

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31 minutes ago, Cuillodge said:

James married her May 1919 and his DCM is recorded on the marriage certificate then so he must have been awarded it prior to then. James was 28 yrs old at that time.

If he was 28 in 1919 that doesn't tally with being born in 1897? Perhaps he and his wife both lied about their age (she was 12 years older?). Both adjusted by 6 years?

Can you post the image of the marriage certificate as it may give a clue?

Her first husband Mercer Smeaton 178375 served with the 5th Tramway Co., RE: https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/casualty-details/2938846/m-smeaton/

image.png.0d216cb1076cbc84f60ddcd053e4f769.png

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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17 hours ago, PRC said:

1850 Argyll & Sutherland was a James Turnbull according to his medal index card - subsequently 76064 Highland Light Infantry. Edit. According to familysearch he was serving with the 7th Battalion when he enlisted in 1915 and was born Alnwick, Northumberland c1891. Surviving service records on Ancestry and FMP.

This guy would match the age on the 1919 marriage certificate. Are you sure you haven't got the wrong man re your other details? Ancestry:

image.png.3eeefa1d4aacc5882379e8db5abe8bc4.png

image.png.af342c6d9797f1fc06175f776f4ff76a.png

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29212/supplement/6405

image.png.e649adf950927ca502b650255ca7d594.png

EDIT: Later Pension Card 31311 Scottish Rifles (b.1886?): https://search.ancestry.co.uk/cgi-bin/sse.dll?indiv=1&dbid=61588&h=1370976&tid=&pid=&queryId=25cb7355834b105f551c58b7833a85d0&usePUB=true&_phsrc=WWn1690&_phstart=successSource

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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6 hours ago, PRC said:

1850 Argyll & Sutherland was a James Turnbull according to his medal index card - subsequently 76064 Highland Light Infantry.

Pension Index Cards at WFA/Fold3 have: Cpl James Henry TURNBULL, A&SH, 76064, HLI and 31311, Scottish Rifles [onto their Z Army Reserve] - DCM

Transfered to Z Army Reserve, 14/2/19, with a Provis[ional] pension of 14/3 from 15/2/19

Pension region 1 = Scotland

Claim MORT [Dead] before or on 3/11/31

M

Edited by Matlock1418
correction
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1 hour ago, Ivor Anderson said:

This guy would match the age on the 1919 marriage certificate. Are you sure you haven't got the wrong man re your other details?

FMP military records doing a search with optional keyword "Argyll" and Soldier Number "1850" brings up this set of results.

453860422_FMPmilitaryrecordsscreenshot310322.png.e254b759a153729101b4b89ac736d58a.png

If it is the right man then note the Medical Admissions Register entry from 1916 when his birth year has been calculated as 1887.

Using that Service Record information and checking the familysearch website for a "James" "Turnbull", born between 1890 and 1895 with any reference to "Alnwick, Northumberland" brings up:-

1864988720_familysearchJamesTurnbull1891militaryrecordsscreenshot.png.09b3fb01e0c0d9652b4f42671ad7e59b.png

Which leads us back to the OP giving a birth date of the 12th February 1897 and birth place of Leith which is incompatible with the information on those two records.

However:-

2 hours ago, Cuillodge said:

James married her May 1919 and his DCM is recorded on the marriage certificate then so he must have been awarded it prior to then. James was 28 yrs old at that time.

The DCM for the tunneller James Turnbull was awarded for action in March 1918 and September 1919 is a longtime for a notification to appear in the gazette. Also the September 1919 appearance goes straight in with a citation - in my experience it was not uncommon for just a name and unit to appear first, and then the citation to appear many months afterwards, if at all. Indeed if you look at the opening page of the London Gazette supplement I pointed you at it references that the first awards citations are for DCM's that were originally gazetted in January 1919.

What follows is pure speculation on my part.

I've not had cause to check out DCM's like this in the past but normally with Military Crosses the citation entry will also reference the London Gazette where the award first appeared. But in this edition there are so many DCM's I wonder if that date has got "lost" in among the entries. Indeed even a January 1919 original entry would have allowed him to wear the ribbon and declare himself a D.C.M. at the time of his wedding in May 1919.

It should not be forgotten that there a lot of errors and ommissions in the London Gazette, and correcting entries abound. So if there was an error in the details in the original publication there may well be a card out there in sources like the National Archive that document it with the same incorrect details. When his citations then appeared in September 1919 with the correct details, the record clerks won't have been able to find the original card and so probably raised another one just in case.

2 hours ago, Ivor Anderson said:

If he was 28 in 1919 that doesn't tally with being born in 1897? Perhaps he and his wife both lied about their age (she was 12 years older?). Both adjusted by 6 years?

Can you post the image of the marriage certificate as it may give a clue?

Whole-heartedly agree. There may be a very simple explanation, along with why he dropped the middle name Mackenzie, but it's just too much of an inconsistancy at this point.

Cheers,
Peter

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ScotlandsPeople_M1919_685_02_0118Z.jpg.b9fbd65dc6187ccfb541ee7b5e08e1fe.jpgScotlandsPeople_B1897_692_01_0050Z.jpg.e72a963b8233d36e11cfd598a6147ef7.jpg

I Hope I have done this ok! Birth and Marriage certs. You are correct re ages on marriage cert. I never noticed that. Think there was a bit of story telling going on !

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Great. The more detailed Scottish BC & MC confirm that your man was the same person who was born on 16th February 1897. It looks like they averaged their ages in 1919! :)

He was proudly claiming his DCM award. This rules out James McKenzie Turnbull 3556/148539 and James Turnbull 1850/76064. Also Joseph Turnbull 25262!

Edited by Ivor Anderson
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J T Turnbull 8192 Royal West Kent 1st Apr 1915 is a John Thomas Turnbull who enlisted in 1905 according to his SWB entry - too old!

 

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For an address, can I suggest you try his Mothers Death Certificate, I see an Elizabeth Turnbull age 50 with a registered year of Death of 1918 in Leith South, as you know that costs 6 credits on Scotland's People. If it is her, as a 20/21 year old in 1918, I'm assuming his address will be the same as his parents.

 

Sam

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5 minutes ago, roughdiamond said:

For an address, can I suggest you try his Mothers Death Certificate, I see an Elizabeth Turnbull age 50 with a registered year of Death of 1918 in Leith South, as you know that costs 6 credits on Scotland's People. If it is her, as a 20/21 year old in 1918, I'm assuming his address will be the same as his parents.

 

Sam

 

5 minutes ago, roughdiamond said:

For an address, can I suggest you try his Mothers Death Certificate, I see an Elizabeth Turnbull age 50 with a registered year of Death of 1918 in Leith South, as you know that costs 6 credits on Scotland's People. If it is her, as a 20/21 year old in 1918, I'm assuming his address will be the same as his parents.

 

Sam

Just found this. Its him.              James Turnbull -The Scotsman 13 Oct 1915

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Hi Sam, The family appear to live in Morningside at Balcarres Street. They are there In 1901,1911 and are still there in 1915 when this newspaper article was written. The article was in The Scotsman on 13th Oct 1915.

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