Trove Detective: A Turner Bonanza

Who’s Who in this WW1 Turner Family?article87312892-3-001

Whilst perusing Trove I came across images of ‘Two Patriotic Families’ in the South Australian Chronicle dated 24 June 1916. They were the seven Turner brothers and the seven Cooper brothers. Incredibly the Coopers also had pictures of the mother and father. Unfortunately, the names of the Turner brothers was rather hard to read but undaunted I searched the WW1 Nominal Roll at the Australian War Memorial until I found one of them. There was only one B.R. Turner and Two G.A. Turners.

Private Bernard Roy Turner, Service No. 384, Enlisted 10.4.1916, 5th Machine Gun Battalion, Returned to Australia 5.7.1919.

The WW1 Embarkation Roll shows he was aged 22, from Croydon, SA and his wife was Nellie May F. Turner. So far so good but still only a maybe.

Next was a search of the World War 1 service dossiers at the National Archives of Australia which showed that B R Turner was born in Quorn, SA; enlisted in Adelaide and his wife was Nellie May Fuller Turner.

Turner Bernard Roy : SERN 384 :POB Quorn SA : POE Adelaide SA : NOK W Turner Nellie May Fuller

Returning to the other brothers I found two George Alfred Turner’s in the service dossiers at the National Archives of Australia, and one was born at Quorn, S.A; enlisted at Oaklands, S.A. and his father’s name was William Turner.

Turner George Alfred : SERN 1429 :POB Quorn SA : POE Oaklands SA : NOK F Turner William. George Alfred Turner was aged 19 and a bicycle builder when he enlisted in December 1914.

A further search for Turner & Quorn of the dossiers also resulted in Turner Le(o)nard Kabanagh : SERN 1430 : POB Quorn SA : POE Oaklands SA : NOK F Turner William. On the Embarkation Rolls Lance Corporal Leonard Kavanagh Turner was aged 23 and a driver. George & Leonard had the same address and next of kin at Bowden, SA so were probably related.

Maybe these are three of the brothers. A quick google search found the whole Quorn Turner family. If this is your family you can check if the following details are correct.

William Turner was born on 15 Oct 1862 in New Hamburg, South Australia, Australia and died on 5 Aug 1920 at age 57. William married Julia Kavanagh on 24 Oct 1882 in St Laurence, North Adelaide, South Australia.12 Julia was born on 7 Nov 1864 and died on 11 Dec 1897 in Bowden, South Australia, Australia at age 33.They had eight children: Francis James, William, Mary Ellen, Sydney Joseph, Frederick John, Leonard Kavanagh, Bernard Roy and George Alfred.

This appears to match the names under the 1916 image. After checking the date of birth and next of kin against the family history I edited the article and left a comment that gave their names as follows:

1. Corporal J. Turner (Maybe Francis James or Frederick John? No Corporal?)

2. Lance-Corporal Turner (Leonard Kavanagh Turner SERN: 1430)

3. Farrier W. Turner (William Turner SERN:?) 

4. Private S. J. Turner (Sydney Joseph Turner SERN:?)

5. Private B. R. Turner (Bernard Roy Turner SERN:384)

6. Private G. A. Turner (George Alfred Turner: SERN 1429)

7. Private F. J. Turner (Maybe Francis James SERN: 4172 or Frederick John: 2478)

If you know this family, I hope this information helps. The details from the family history site are only a first step in verifying details such as date of birth or next of kin from the war records so please let me know if they need correcting or you know the service numbers for the brothers. Wouldn’t we all love to find a picture of seven siblings together or better still with their parents?

This entry was posted in Australian War Memorial, Australian War Records, National Archives of Australia, National Library of Australia, Trove, Trove Detective, Turner, World War I and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Trove Detective: A Turner Bonanza

  1. Marnie Phillips says:

    This is my Dad ,G.A.Turner & his brothers

    • Lovely to hear from you Marnie. Perhaps your related to another person who contacted me and has some photos. I looked on the State Records of SA, Australian War Memorial & sa.ww1anzac and they don’t seem to have any photos of George Alfred Turner.

    • Rodney James Phillips says:

      Hello Marnie, Francis James Turner was my grandfather, my mother was Shirley Betty Phillips born Turner. Can you let my know your families names etc for my family tree. Regards Rod

  2. belinda turner says:

    The Turners from Quorn are my grandfather (George Alfred) and his six brothers. They all fought in WW1, and all returned. I have a photo of all 7 of them together in their uniforms I think. I also have a photo of my grandfathers regiment.

    • Hi Belinda, I’t’s great to hear from two Turners in one day. I haven’t found any other photos of GA Turner. Would you like me to add those photos to the blog for others to find? I’d like to see a decent photo of all the brothers together. Are George or his brothers on any memorials in South Australia? They should be on the Quorn & District Memorial Hall which shows all those who fought in WW1 but I didn’t find a photo to check.Perhaps someone can check it for us.

  3. jonathon Turner says:

    I have posted a photo of the brothers to your facebook page, maybe you can add that photo to this page. Thanks Jonathon Turner grandson of George

  4. Rodney James Phillips says:

    Francis James Turner was my grandfather, his youngest daughter Shirley Betty Phillips born Turner was my mother. I was aware of this story, mostly oral history. I have my photos at home will start a search. Regards Rod Phillips

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