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THOMAS 'HARRY' TURNER - COPP 3

 

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Ashford, John

Booth, Jim

Brand, David

Crane, Jack

Harbud, Robin

Kennedy, Lawrence

Ogden, Smith, Bruce

Palmer, P

Scott-Bowden, Logan

Smith, Philip

Turner, Thomes

 

 

October 1941 - ‘Harry’ was called up for the war at 16 years and 8 months, a lot younger than was required due to a false story given at the register office.

March 1942 – On his second convoy aboard HMS Bridlington (a wooden fishing trawler with a crew of 8) to Iceland the vessel was attacked off the coast of Yorkshire by German Fighters.  Chris Whitbread, a great friend of Harry, was fatally wounded at his side.  Six crew were either dead or badly wounded.

 
Whether by luck or skill of firing, one of the aircraft was hit and crashed into the sea.  By bringing the little boat a ‘seaman stoker ‘back to Hull, Harry was decorated with the Distinguished Service Medal, given to him shortly after at Buckingham Palace by King George VI.  At the same time Harry had a brief encounter with the then Princess Elizabeth who gave him a kiss on the cheek … oh did he get in trouble for this later!
   
May 1942 – Volunteered for Special Services who wanted young healthy men who were excellent swimmers.  The start of six months hard training with all kinds of hand guns, knives, explosives, and the use of two man chariots i.e. human torpedoes, canoes known as cockle shells.  All this to explore and carry our damage to enemy installations.  This became the Special Naval Party based in the yachting club on Hayling Island.   
 

The groups carried out all kinds of operations in Norway, Belgium and French coasts including assessing the beaches of Normandy for the D Day Landings.  This was a close knit group who worked in pairs; Harry was paired with an Officer L/T Ian Alcock.  Soon after it was decided to combine three or four Special Forces to operate in the Far East. This was the start of COPP and the SAS.  Each group had 40 men. 

July 1944 – Harry and the rest of his group were in Ceylon, home to the Special Forces in Far East.  It was here he was introduced to H.M.S. Torbay which took him on most of his missions.  He travelled to Kandy to meet The Chief of Operations Lord Mountbatten.  By this time the forty was down to 12. 

October 1944 – L/T Ian Alcock, L/T Ian Hughes, L/S Arthur Ruberry, Sergeant Fredrick Cammidge, Field Captain William Johns and L/S Turner (Harry), were taken three miles off the island of Morib off the Burma Coast.  An operation was successfully carried out to destroy 8 Heavy Guns concealed in the trees.  After the cleanup of Japanese soldiers, the team were allowed to go ashore; low and behold the island was only about 300 to 400 yards square but was riddles with fox holes with approximately 200 to 300 Japanese troops!  But to good fortune never knew what the team was up to. For this the team were awarded by Lord Mountbatten: L/T Ian Alcock and L/T Ian Hughes the D.S.C, Field Captain William Johns the M.C., Sergeant Fredrick Cammidge M.M.  L/S Arthur Ruberry and L/S Thomas ‘Harry’ Turner bars to D.S.M. 

Harry died in 2012.

   
   
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