George Turtle

1877 – 1917

George became an upholsterer but served in the army in 1900 – 1902. In 1915, aged 37 and the father of four, he was sent to fight in Salonika in Greece in the face of extreme heat, cold and disease.

New Inn Hall Street Chapel

George Arthur Turtle was born in Oxford in 1877. Most of his eight siblings were baptised at the New Inn Hall Street Wesleyan Chapel, before Wesley Memorial Church was opened in 1878. Their father was a shoemaker, but by 1881 he had become an insurance agent.

Mother died

George’s mother died when he was four years old, and after that it seems one of his older sisters kept house. Then when George was 16 one of his brothers died aged 18: the funeral was taken by a Wesleyan minister.

Married

George became an upholsterer, although from 1900 to 1902 he served in the 4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire Light Infantry. His unit did not go overseas. Then in 1903 he married and the couple lived briefly at Birkenhead, but returned to Oxford and eventually moved to Jericho and attended Walton Street Methodist Church. They had five children, though sadly one died at the age of two.

Sent to Greece

George was aged 36 when war was declared in 1914. He joined the 7th Battalion of the Duke of Edinburgh (Wiltshire) Regiment as a Private. They were deployed to Salonika in Greece arriving in November 1915. Conditions were severe with freezing winters and baking summers, and there were many deaths from disease.

Night attack

George’s unit were in action in August 1916, and again in the first Battle of Doiran on 24 April 1917. His unit had to cross a ravine at night under fire and lit by searchlights. He was killed and his body was not recovered. He was aged 39. He is remembered on the Doiran Memorial and also listed on the St Paul’s Church war memorial in Oxford.

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Comments about this page

  • Fascinating and very moving to read these accounts of the lives behind the names on the memorial plaques. Surely “his body was not recovered” is the saddest phrase demonstrating the waste of human life during war. Very thought provoking, thank you.

    By M Moore (07/11/2019)

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