Who's Who - Sir Richard Turner

Sir Richard Turner Sir Richard Ernest Turner (1871-1961) served in active field command positions with Canadian forces during World War One.

Turner came into the First World War - with Canada entering the war in support of Britain in August 1914 - with a reputation as a war hero.  During the South African War of 1899-1902 Turner established a record for distinction, during the course of which he won the Victoria Cross.

Given command of a brigade on the Western Front Turner was widely believed (to the present day) to have fared less successfully in the more mechanised method of warfare evidenced in France, with a particular failure of command at St Eloi in April 1916 (where Canadian forces were decimated by their own artillery barrage, suffering some 1,300 casualties).

This did not halt his progress however.  Moving on to a divisional command he was appointed commander of Canadian forces operating in Britain and became the Canadian government's chief military adviser in December 1916.

Turner, who was knighted by King George V in 1917, rose to become Chief of the Canadian General Staff in May 1918, with consequent responsibility for all Canadian forces operating overseas.

He died on 19 June 1961.

An "incendiary shell" is an artillery shell packed with highly flammable material, such as magnesium and phosphorous, intended to start and spread fire when detonated.

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