D Company 10th Battalion Cheshire Regiment
7th Brigade 25th Division XV11 Corps 3rd Army
On 26 September, 1915, Souchez was taken from the Germans by French troops, who handed the sector over to Commonwealth forces the following March. The village was completely destroyed. The "Cabaret Rouge" was a house on the main road about 1 kilometre south of the village, at a place called Le Corroy, near the cemetery. On the east side, opposite the cemetery, were dugouts used as Battalion headquarters in 1916. The communication trenches ended here, The cemetery was begun by Commonwealth troops in March 1916, used from August 1917 (largely by the 47th (London) Division and the Canadian Corps) until September 1918; these original burials are in Plots I to V inclusive. It was greatly enlarged after the Armistice when more than 7,000 graves were brought in from the battlefields of Arras and from 103 other burial grounds in the Nord and the Pas-de-Calais. The cemetery now contains 7,655 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, more than half of them unidentified.
Son of John and Hannah , he had a brother James, and a sister Sarah Anne.
Married to Edith in 1904 he had 3 children Frederick, Mary, and Alice.
William worked as a house painter.
William attested into the Cheshire regiment on the 4th September 1914, he was posted to the 10th Battalion on the 15th of September the same year.
The 10th Service Battalion The Cheshire Regiment was a Kitchener Battalion, raised at Chester in September 1914. After training in Chester, at Codford St Mary, Bournemouth and Aldershot, they proceeded to France. The Battalion joined 7th Brigade, 25th Division in October 1915. William sailed from Folkestone on the 26th September 1915. For the next 7 months the Battalion’s time was spent alternating between tours of duty in the frontline and periods in reserve where they would carry out training and undertake fatigues work.
German attacks north of Arras
After a short period away from the front line, the Cheshire’s returned to the trenches near Mont-St-Eloi on May 17th 1916. This is a small village 8 kilometres northwest of the French town of Arras, named after the nearby hill . The Cheshire’s trenches were at the foot of the hill, near the hamlet of Ecoivres. It was a comparatively quiet sector although casualties could be expected on an almost daily basis.
The Germans had increased their activity in this sector for several days prior to the 21st at a high cost to the Cheshire’s, with some 24 men losing their lives. During the morning of the 21st the communication trenches leading to the front line were shelled causing some damage, at 3.45pm an intense bombardment was opened on all communication and support trenches, particularly to the left of the sector held by the Cheshire’s. The war diary records The bombardment continued with unabated violence for 4 hours at the end of which time most of the trenches were levelled and a very large proportion of the men killed or wounded. At 7.45 the enemy attacked and took the outpost and front line trench on the left , as a result of the bombardment practically nobody was left to oppose them. A counter attack was delivered at 2am which was successful in retaking the front trench. The war diary notes that 33 men had been killed ,101 wounded and 41 were missing. In the event a total of 48 men were eventually recorded as fatalities.
Stockport Advertiser 1916
Within the last few days Mrs Turner of Park Lane has recieved from Mr D Tait Patterson Chaplin to the 10th Cheshire's , a letter dated May ,28th intimating that her husband is reported missing. The letter is as follows. Dear Madam your husband was reported among the missing on the 21st . I fear there is little chance of him being alive, should i hear of anything definite i will write to you at once. Meantime, be assured of my deep sympathy and prayers in the suspence and sorrow that has fallen upon you.
It appears that Turner a short time ago was buried for an hour in the trenches and since then he has had a presentiment that his life would be short. Naturally his wife is anxious since the receipt of the letter And the sympathy of all who know her will be with her in her trouble.
Lance Corporal William Turner was reported missing in action on the 21st May 1916 .Details of his death were received from Germany through the American Embassy on the 26th July.
He had been severely wounded in action and taken to Billy Montigny where a German army field hospital (Feldlaz) was located. But unfortunately died of his wounds on the 24th May.
William was buried near to the Feldlaz, his body was exhumed early 1920s, and reburied at Cabaret Rouge.
Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank Phil Underwood for compiling this page on William.