James Alfred Turner signature

On this day in 1916, James Alfred Turner enlisted in Toronto, where he was working as a machinist. He stated that he was born in Deseronto on April 4th, 1898 (the 1901 census gives his date of birth as March 4th, 1897). His parents were Alfred Turner and Maria (née Bruyea) and they had moved to Toronto by 1901. Alfred died in 1903 and Maria got married again to Thomas Hughes. She had four boys from her first marriage and by 1911 she had another four children. She died in 1914.

James joined the 208th Battalion with the regimental number 249136. He was five feet four and a half inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes and fair hair. James gave his next of kin as Miss Nellie Verrall, his aunt, whom he was living with at 26 Ashburnham Road, Toronto. James’s brother, Charles Ross Turner (born in Toronto in 1895) signed up on April 1st, 1916, giving the same address and next of kin and joining the same battalion. Charles was five feet five and three quarter inches tall, with a medium complexion, blue eyes and brown hair.

James’s service record shows that he sailed from Halifax on the SS Justicia on May 3rd, 1917. In June 1918 he was admitted to hospital with bronchitis, and in October he was wounded by a gas shell and spent another month in hospital, being discharged on November 13th, 1918. He came back to Canada on the SS Empress of Britain in February 1919 and was demobilized in Toronto on March 31st.

Both James and Charles Turner survived the war and in the 1921 census were still rooming with Nellie Verrall and her husband, Alfred, at 204 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto. James was working as a salesman and Charles as a clerk. Charles was still at this address in 1933 when he died of a fractured skull after falling off a ladder on May 22, 1933 at Glidden Ltd., 382 Wallace Avenue. Information from a family tree on Ancestry suggests that James died on June 24th, 1980.

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