Sumbitted by John Young.
My great uncle David Stevens Gibson Turnbull, the elder brother of my grandmother, was born in Edinburgh on 7th September 1890. Educated at The Edinburgh Academy and Uppingham School he went on to Edinburgh University. There he learned to fly, although he did not qualify as a pilot at that stage.
He married early in 1914 and emigrated to Australia where he planned to start life in Harvey, West Australia, as a fruit farmer. However, following the outbreak of war on 4th August 1914, he returned to Scotland to fight for his country.
Initially he joined the Black Watch as the family had strong connections with my home town of Auchterarder in Perthshire. He was posted to 3/6th Battalion one of the sister battalions to that in which his brother-in-law (Major TE Young) was already serving. However, he had the flying bug and on 25th March 1916 he joined the Royal Flying Corps. He initially trained as an Observer but after a short period with No3 squadron RFC in France he returned to train as a pilot. He gained his pilot’s licence at Shoreham on 5th June 1916.
He joined No 10 Squadron RFC, equipped with BE 2c aircraft, on 8th July 1916 and a few days later made his first operational sortie. He flew on operations for the next 7 months; engaged in artillery spotting, light bombing and aerial photography. Having survived this operational tour he was posted back to England for duty as a ferry pilot with the Air Ministry Directorate of Aircraft Equipment.
On 11th April 1917 he was detailed to deliver a brand new BE 12a from the factory at Coventry to a training unit at Ripon racecourse. Unfortunately he was blown off course and ended up near Preston where he had to make a forced landing after a stay wire broke. After 3 days he took off for Ripon but for some reason landed at Knaresborough. After checking his bearings he took off from the short field on Crag Tops but failed to clear the hedge at the end of the field. The aircraft struck trees and plunged in to the River Nidd, killing Lieutenant Turnbull instantly. His widow found his body in the river ten days later and he was buried in Dean Cemetery in Edinburgh. A plaque in his memory is near the door in the parish church at Knaresborough.
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John was born in Leeds on the 31st July 1892. He was the eldest of five children. The family obviously moved round the country a lot as the 3rd youngest child was born in Liverpool and the two youngest children were born in Nottingham. John’s father originated from Norfolk, his mother from Hawnby in the North York moors. At some point the family settled in Great Yarmouth, the 1911 census giving an address as 86 Churchill Road. It was in Great Yarmouth that John married Dora (Dolly) Mary McQueen in September 1924. By 1939 they were living in Richmond, John’s occupation being a Secondary School Master, with Dora doing unpaid domestic duties. There does not appear to be a record of any offspring. John was obviously heavily involved with the town of Richmond and the people as he served as town mayor in 1957/8. John died on the 23rd November 1982 aged 90. At the time of his death he was living at 8 Gilling Road. During WW1 John served as a pilot, with the rank of Captain, in the Royal Flying Corps. John had joined the 10th Squadron RFC at Abeele, an airfield near Ypres Belgium, in May 1917. The 10th had been formed at Farnborough on the 1st January 1915. In April 1918 it would be re-designated the 10th Squadron RAF. Initially John flew De Havilland BE2s, a 2 seat biplane until the Squadron was re-equipped with Armstrong Whitworth FK8s, general purpose biplanes with a synchronised Vickers machine…
Kevin Robinson of Dalton on Tees visited the Green Howards museum to tell us about his great great grandfather, Sergeant Henry Robinson MM. Henry joined the Yorkshire Regiment (the Green Howards) as a very young man and soon left the UK to serve in the Boer War. Henry had several service numbers during his career with the earliest (and therefore a low number) being 421. On returning from the Boer war he then went to serve in the First World War both in France and Belgium, Henry and his division engaged in 2nd & 3rd Battle of Ypres, 1st & 2nd Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Arras to name a few. He is believed to have been a very accomplished horseman. His army career spanned some 4 decades as a Territorial reservist. During this time he picked up a proud chest-full of medals including the Military Medal awarded 10th October 1916. Adding a Bar to his MM in October 1918, other medals believed to be Queens South Africa Medal, 1914 Star, British War Medal, and Victory Medal with Oak Leaf (Mentioned in Despatches). Henry was also a Hero when not serving his country he was serving children with fun, Henry and his wife Elvira lived in a motor home at Derby Street / Cooper Street / Canon Street Common in Middlesbrough. They operated several fun fair rides which included swing boats and a roundabout. They continued to run the fun fair rides for several decades into the…
Thomas Holman, great-grandfather of Carl Watts, the Green Howard Museum’s Learning Officer, worked as a boiler maker at the Wellington Foundry in Lincoln. At the outbreak of war the company which owned the foundry, Fosters, converted production from agricultural vehicles to war machinery. It was here that the first tanks were developed under the management of William Tritton. Secrecy was of the utmost importance, and the original code name for the revolutionary new vehicle was ‘The water-carrier for Mesopotamia and Russia’. Bill Rigby, chief draughtsman and designer recounted in the mid-1980s that eventually a group of the boiler makers came to is office, fed up with the long winded code name. Their suggestion that it should just be referred to as ‘the bl**dy tank!’ has stuck with the vehicle and its successors ever since. Thomas Holman is pictured with colleagues back row, third from the left in front of ‘Lurcher’ a Mark IV male tank in November 1917. His brother George Edward Holman served with the 6th battalion Lincolnshire Regiment at Gallipoli, Egypt and France. The efforts of the brothers were combined on 15 September 1916, as 6th Lincs were at the Battle of Flers Courcelette – the first battle to see the use of the tank.