Small Craft

Late 19th & Early 20th Century British Yachting

The Sailors: Amateur British & Irish Yachtsmen Before World War One

Edwin S. Turner, 1879–6 March 1919

I believe his full name was Edwin Syers Turner, and he was actually born in Port Said, Egypt. This is drawn from the 1911 census of England and Wales which lists only one Edwin Turner with an S in the middle name whose age could possibly work for our sailor. He is listed in 1911 as living with his mother and sister in Southminster, Essex and working as a salesman.

He quickly volunteered for the R.N.V.R. at the start of the war and was promopoted from Sub-Lieutenant to temporary Lieutenant (as noted in the London Gazette for 18 July, 1916)—at the same time as the same promotion for Donald Maxwell.

To be tempy. Lieut. -
Tempy. Sub-Lieut. Digby E. Easton. 17th July 1916.

The undermentioned tempy. Sub-Lieuts. to be tempy. Lieuts.: -
Edwin S. Turner. 6th Apr. 1916.
Thomas Sinclair. 17th June 1916.
Donald Maxwell. 24th June 1916.
William Robinson. 26th June 1916.
Turner served aboard the Motor Launches (M.L.'s) of the Auxiliary Patrol, first in the North Sea and then, later, in the West Indies. He married at Trinidad in December of 1917 while stationed there. Upon his arrival back in England in March 1919 (landing at Liverpool) he was already quite sick and died two days later—death attributed to complications from pneumonia (probably a victim of the influenza outbreak which killed so many at that time). The Yachting Monthly noted at the time:
Readers of the Y.M. will remember Lieut. Turner's many interesting contributions to our pages. He was an enthusiastic small boat sailer, and in Bab and Rani he did a deal of cruising; indeed, he was seldom ashore at week-ends the year round. He was a straight, good man, incapable of a mean thought or action, and to know him was to like and adminre him. He will be sadly missed among boat sailers (sic), for in every sense of the term he was a good fellow.
In the years leading up to the war Turner appears to have been good friends with Norman Carr with whom he seems to have regularly sailed. He documented one such cruise for The Yachting Monthly in a 1907 article entitled In Company to Holland which tells of a cruise to Holland and back in two boats, Turner's own Bab (which may actually have belonged to Turner's then-wife or she whom he would marry in 1917), and Carr's Rani IV. Within a few years after the cruise documented therein Turner was pleased to take possession of Rani IV himself. He discussed details of the boat in A Single Handed Cruiser printed in The Yachting Monthly in 1911.

Known Boats:

  • Bab
  • Rani IV