Harry Turgoose

lincolnshire regimental badgePrivate, 26283, 8th (Service) Battalion, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action 28th April 1917, aged 20

Born at Keadby in May 1897, Harry, elder brother of Herbert, was the eldest son and one of the ten children of George and Edith Turgoose (nee Walton). His mother was from Stairfoot, Barnsley and his father from Keadby. In 1901 his father was a porter on the Grand Central Railway and in 1911 a general labourer. The family lived in Friendship Terrace, Station Road, Keadby.

Harry also worked on the Grand Central Railway. In 1911 he was a ‘caller-upper’ and when he enlisted he had become an engineer’s labourer.

Harry attested for the Lincolnshire Regiment at Keadby on 12th December 1915. He was placed on army reserve and mobilised on 5th July 1916, reporting to Lincoln three days later. Following a period of training with the 3rd (Reserve) Battalion, he was sent out as a reinforcement in November 1916 arriving in Bolougne on 13th November 1916 then spending another two weeks at the base in Calais before joining the 8th Lincoln’s ‘in the field’, on 1st December 1916.

In April 1917 the 8th Lincoln’s participated in the Battle of Arras near Monchy-le-Preux where they suffered 250 casualties. After a period of rest they returned back to the line again on 23rd April where they were in action near Gavrelle during the 2nd Battle of the Scarpe, suffering a further 150 casualties.

As the attack of 23rd April had failed to reach its objective a further advance, the Third Battle of the Scarpe, was ordered for 28th April. The 8th Lincoln’s were again in the forefront of the attack with their first objective being Cuthbert Trench and then Greenland Hill beyond.The Offical History takes up the narrative:

The advance began punctually at zero hour, but owing to the darkness and smoke from the barrage, which completely enveloped the troops, direction was lost. Instead of attacking Cuthbert Trench, the troops must have turned north and north-east, for the trenches they attacked were Whip and Wish. Then happened a rather extraordinary thing : several of the attackers passed over and far beyond the two latter trenches, even beyond Why and Weak, nearly to Railway Copse. During this advance prisoners were taken and three or four batches were sent back, but were recaptured by the enemy probably about Weed Trench.

Gradually those who had advanced west of Cuthbert Trench returned as they were unsupported, and by nightfall the brigade was back again in its original line.

The casualties lost in the attack on Cuthbert Trench were 26 men killed, 65 wounded and 106 missing. Among the dead was Harry Turgoose.

Harry is buried in Chilli Trench Cemetery, Gavrelle. Like many men buried in the cemetery his exact grave is unknown and he is commemorated with them on the Special Memorial.

Harry is commemorated on both Althorpe War Memorials.