University of Oxford
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Wilfred Harry Turberfield's Memorabilia

online resource
posted on 2024-06-05, 17:17 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Wilfred Harry Turberfield. He joined the army when he was sixteen but told the army that he was eighteen. He was in the 8th Army in Africa and ended up in El Alamein.

He was promoted on the battlefield, so he rose through the ranks, from private to warrant officer. Then he was promoted to left tenant on the battlefield and he was also mentioned on dispatches.

Also Royal Artillery badges that they could buy for people at home. This was the one he bought for my mum when he was in Africa.

He talked about it (the war) a little bit but I have a feeling that he was also sent into Belgium towards the end of the war because my mum has she Belgian lace handkerchiefs. And I can't work out where else he would have got them from at this time. So, I think he went through Belgium and as I understand it the fighting was particularly nasty there. And so that bit he never talked about ever. So, he did talk about India, which he enjoyed. He liked living in India. And had fond memories of it. And he talked a little bit about the battles where he was a gunnery sergeant and was responsible for quite a lot of stuff really. He never talked about this (the oakleaf and mention in the dispatches) "¦I don't know what it was for.

Did your dad keep in touch with anyone? No he didn't. He was a regular soldier and after the war I think he found himself sort of out of place. I don't think he adjusted to civilian life very happily. He had jobs and all that sort of thing and we didn't have a bad family life. But I always got the feeling that he was missing the army life that he'd known since he was sixteen and he always used to take us on camping trips where he would make us yomp across hills and things like that. I think that was part of him trying to recapture it in a way.

He was a regular soldier and he only left when they demobbed everyone at the end of the war. I don't think he would have left, given the choice.


Item list and details

1. Unit photos 2. Enlistment paperwork 3. Oak leaf 4. Colours 5. Uniform button 6. Artillery broaches 7. Promotion notice 8. Large photo

Person the story/items relate to

Wilfred Harry Turberfield

Person who shared the story/items

Marie Jean Rhind

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor


Type of submission

Shared at Halifax Central Library and Archives, West Yorkshire on 4 December 2023.

Record ID

110802 | HAL009