Turnbull, Alexander Miller

Turnbull, Alexander Miller (Alec)

Second Lieutenant

12th Squadron and General List Royal Flying Corps

Killed in action on Wednesday 25 April 1917 (aged 24)

Buried:

Vis-En-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt, France (Grave IV. F. 16)

Commemorated:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Memorial Plaque

Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) Memorial Plaque

Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB) War Memorial

Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB) Book of Remembrance

Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour

Apprentices to Solicitors Memorial, Four Courts, Dublin

BIOGRAPHY

In some records his surname is spelt Turnball.

A twin, Alexander Miller Turnbull, known as Alec, was born at 4.45 am on 16 April 1893 at 2 Windsor Avenue, Belfast and he was the eldest child of Martin Harper Turnbull and Agnes Edgar Turnbull (nee Edgar) who were married on 2 July 1892 in Elmwood Presbyterian Church Belfast.  Martin Harper Turnbull of Windsor Avenue, Belfast was a son of Alexander Turnbull, a gas manager.  Agnes Edgar of Elmwood Avenue, Belfast was a daughter of William Edgar, a merchant.

Martin Harper Turnbull was a solicitor and he and Agnes had four children:

Alexander Miller (a twin, born 4.45 am, 16 April 1893 at 2 Windsor Avenue, Belfast)

Ellen Harper (a twin, born 12.30 pm, 17 April 1893 at 2 Windsor Avenue, Belfast)

Martin Harper (born 16 April 1895 at 2 Windsor Avenue, Belfast; died 6 December 1955)

Edith Edgar (born 11 July 1899 in Groomsport)

In 1901 the Turnbull family was living at 5 Raglan Road, Bangor and in 1911 at 9 Chlorine Gardens, Belfast.  Alec Turnbull attended Royal Belfast Academical Institution (RBAI) and in 1911, at the age of 17, he described himself as a Solicitor’s Apprentice and Student of Law.  In 1912/13 he attended Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB) in the Faculty of Commerce and was a member of the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club, Holywood.

Second Lieutenant Alexander Miller Turnbull served with the Royal Flying Corps and he was 24 when he was killed in action during the Battle of Arras on 25 April 1917.  He was flying a Royal Aircraft Factory BE2d/e two-seat biplane over the village of Avesnes-le-Comte, south west of Boulogne.  He was buried in Vis-En-Artois British Cemetery, Haucourt, France and there is an inscription on his CWGC headstone:

TO LIVE IN HEARTS

WE LEAVE BEHIND

IS NOT TO DIE

Second Lieutenant Alexander Miller Turnbull is commemorated on the Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club Memorial Plaque; on the RBAI Memorial Plaque; on the QUB War Memorial; in the QUB Book of Remembrance (Page 53); in the Journey of Remembering Belfast Book of Honour (Page 635) and on the Apprentices to Solicitors Memorial, Four Courts, Dublin.

[There are two War Memorial panels in the Four Courts, Dublin to commemorate those members of the Irish legal profession who died in the First World War.  One plaque bears the names of 25 barristers and the other bears the names of 20 solicitors and 17 apprentice solicitors.]

Alec Turnbull’s father died on 24 February 1923 (aged 59) and his mother died on 5 December 1958 (aged 93).  Both were buried in Belfast City Cemetery (Grave K1. 389).