Ernest was the fourth son of Charles and Harriot Turner of the property ‘Ascot’ north of Inverell. He was a farmer prior to enlisting at the age of nineteen years and eight months. He embarked from Sydney with the 1st Light Horse 6th Reinforcements aboard HMAT Clan McEwen (A65) on 28 June 1915. During his service he was mustered to the rank of Trooper.
Trooper Turner died of wounds received in action on 21 April 1917; he was just 21 years of age. He is buried at Dier El Belah Cemetery, Palestine. The following was part of a letter written to his parents by his commanding officer Lieut. S.M.Moore following his death:
‘Your son had been in my troop for the last 18 months and I have never had reason to complain of either his conduct or work. He was one of the boys who became endeared to me by his character and good work. He was always of a quiet and retiring disposition and never complained of the hardships he had to undergo. I might add that his character has been an influence and an example amongst those with whom he had been living during the last two years and several of his mates have since remarked to me what a true, noble and moral life he always led. I grieve deeply at the loss of one so young and brave. But with us who have been his comrades he is missed as a true and noble friend and, I might add, a lad whom I was proud to have under my command. You have lost a noble son whose place can never be filled. He has given his life for his country and those whom he loved, and, ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’.’
Trooper Turner’s name is inscribed on the Inverell Cenotaph and Honor Roll. He was one of the 215 men for whom a memorial tree was planted in Kurrajong Parade, Inverell in 1919. His younger brother, Frank, also enlisted and was one of the First Contingent of The Kurrajongs.
Photo and story contributed by family