TURNEY, William James
William James Turney enlisted as a Private into the 6th Beds and Herts Bn., TA on the 29th January 1940 and was quickly promoted Acting Lance Corporal. He volunteered for the Independent Companies (Ind. Coy.) and on the 26th April 1940 was attached to No 3 Ind. Coy. Having reverted to Private in order to get into the Ind. Coy. he was quickly promoted to Lance Corporal on the 1st May. On the 4th May he along with the whole of No 3 Ind. Coy. sailed with Scissors Force to join the expeditionary force in Norway (Operation Avonmouth).
Returning to the UK on the 9/10th June 1940 he was promoted Acting Corporal in August and then when the short lived restructuring to Special Service Battalions happenned, he was promoted in November to the War Substantive rank of Corporal within 'B' Company, No 1 Special Service Bn., at Paignton. Promoted Acting Sergeant on the 20th January 1941, he joined the newly raised No 2 Commando on the 4th March 1941.
In June 1941 No 2 Commando were engaged in a series of training exercises in and around Dumfries, and these included demolition exercises. The 2 Commando War Diary notes on the 17th June a Court of Inquiry was held after "people had been injured in a demolition exercise". On his service record William Turney is shown in hospital on the 25th June. On the 7th July he is shown as being taken off the strength of No 2 Commando due to his being placed on the 'Y' List ( being ill or injured and hospitalised for more than 21 days). This date would suggest that he was hospitalised on or around the time of the aforementioned demolition exercise, ie. 16/17th June, and that this was the reason he was hospitalised.
On the 28th January 1942 he is taken off the 'Y' List and posted to the Commando Depot. Achnacarry. His record shows he remained there for the remainder of the war as a Weapons Training Instructor having attended and passed courses in instruction on weapons training, 3" mortars, and gas. In this time he is again promoted finally attaining the rank of CSM. There came a brief posting to the Holding Operational Commando at Wrexham immediately before he was released from service on the 8th February 1946.
His testimonial, completed by Major D. E. Murphy who was officer in charge of Weapons Training at Achnacarry, records his service as Exemplary and his ability as an instructor and supervisor as excellent.
William James Turney then returned to his former occupation as a grocer.
(Sources: Army Service Record , No 2 Cdo War Diary June 1941, and his son Andrew Turney.)
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