The Soldier's Details
- First Name:
- Harold Raymond
- Nick Name:
- Regimental #:
- ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion
- Place of Birth:
- Perth, Western Australia
- Father's Name:
- Harold Herbert Turner
- Mothers's Name:
- Elizabeth Ellen Turner (nee Joy)
- Pre-war Occupation:
- Epitaph, Labuan Memorial, Panel 19, Age 25.
- Selarang Camp Changi, Johore Bahru, Adam Park, Selarang Barracks Changi
- ‘E’ Force Borneo
- 4/6736 & 1944
- Cause of Death:
- Place of Death:
- Sandakan No1 Camp
- Date of Death:
Harold Raymond (Ray)Turner was the only son born to Harold Herbert Turner and Elizabeth Ellen Joy who married 1911 Maylands, Western Australia. Harold Turner (Snr) was born in SA and Elizabeth was born Victoria Plains, New Norcia.
Harold Turner (Jnr) had three sisters.
Ray’s parents died in 1960 at Mt. Hawthorn, within months of each other. Harold was 75 years and Ray’s mother was 67 years.
When he enlisted Ray was living with his parents at Palmerston Street, North Perth. He was working as a storeman for Robur Tea.
Tea was of huge significance to Australians and their every day life. It was then the times of making tea in a teapot – nothing like the teabags of today. In fact tea was rationed during the war. You can learn a little about the importance of tea in Australia.
Below: Ray’s Grandfather Benjamin Turner died 1918 Bullsbrook where he had been storekeeper.
It was 3 months between the time of his enlistment 10th November 1941 until the 8th Division and the Allies capitulated 15th February 1942. As a reinforcement he no doubt lacked training and experience as did many soldiers who enlisted in 1940.
He was entrained from Northam Army Camp to Fremantle where the reinforcements boarded ‘Aquitania’ 15 Jan to sail for Singapore the following day. Turner joined ‘E’ Company, Special Reserve Battalion No. 3 Platoon under commanding officer Lt. Mazza who died in the Japanese ambush at Bukit Timah when SRB lost so many lives. No. 3 Platoon lost 7 of 25 men.
To his incredible strength of character and integrity Ray Turner hung on to life and survived at Sandakan until early May 1945. So many had fallen ill, had perished or were overcome by starvation and/or barbaric treatment by their guards; however Ray managed to remain alive for so long. Ray was fortunate – he died before the POWs were ‘tipped out’ of their huts at the end of May, and before the 2nd March and the Camp was burned down by their Japanese guards – those too ill to leave for Ranau were left lying in the open compound, on the ground without shelter.
His feat is to be admired. We ask ourselves today, in this world, how would we have fared in the same conditions?
The greatest tragedy is of course he never came home to his family and loved ones.
We salute RayTurner.
Height 5′ 5″
Ray Turner sailed with ‘E’ Company from Singapore on 2 Mar 1943.
TURNER, Private, HAROLD RAYMOND, WX17593, A.I.F. 2/4 M.G. Bn., Australian Infantry. 8 May 1945. Age 25. Son of Harold Herbert and Elizabeth Ellen Turner, of Perth, Western Australia. Panel 19.
Labuan Memorial, Malaysia
- Adam Park Camp - Singapore
- Johore Bahru, - Malaysia
- Selarang Barracks Changi - Singapore
- Selarang Camp Changi - Singapore
- Sandakan - Borneo ***
- Lintang Officers Camp, Kuching - Sarawak