65273 Private George Turkington -  Wellington Infantry Regiment

George Turkington was born on 10th September 1892 the fifth of eight children[i] born to Elizabeth Ann (nee Fox)
and William Turkington. Elizabeth and William originated in Ireland immigrating to New Zealand in 1882/1883[ii] the
first child Robert James Turkington is registered as born in New Zealand in 1884[iii].

It is probable that William worked on the Manawatu and Wellington Railway as the family moved into the Parparaparumu area in 1893/94 where David[iv] and possibly George were born and by 1900 where at Longburn, Palmerston North
where both Minnie and William were registered in Sunday Schools. The family then moved from Longburn to Dannevirke about 1910.

George Turkington was employed as a clerk in the New Zealand Railway Company based in Wellington he married on
4th April 1917 Matilda Kennedy. When George entered military camp he listed Matilda Turkington, Roseneath, Wellington as his next of kin. Matilda’s address was later changed to her mother-in-laws address in Dannevirke when George left for overseas service.

65273 Private George Turkington entered camp on 19th September 1917 with elements of the 34th Specialist Company following basic training Private Turkington left for overseas service on 2nd March 1918 with the 35th Specialist Company.  Private Turkington spent six weeks in Egypt before being transhipped to England arriving on 15th May 1918. 
Private Turkington was attached on 25th May 1918  to the Wellington Company at Larkhill Military Artillery School then
on 6th July 1918 to the Sling Military Camp where he graduated as a 1st Class Signaller on 21st August 1918.
Private Turkington was shipped to France on 30th September 1918 joining the 2nd Battalion, Wellington Infantry Regiment ‘In the Field’ on 8th October 1918. The 2nd Wellington Battalion as part of the NZ Division was in positions near the
Le Cateau-Cambrie Railway putting pressure on a retreating enemy. In November the 2nd Battalion Wellington Infantry
was committed as part of the NZ Division assault of the historic fortress town of Le Quesnay. It is possible that Private Turkington was involved in the following action on 4th November 1918:

          'The 2nd Battalion, moving through the woods on the steep Rhonelle bank, encountered little opposition.
          A small party of 2nd Battalion signallers under
          Lance-Corporal J. H. Griffiths came upon three 77 m.m.
          guns of the enemy still in action. Such a chance was
          too good to miss. The signallers promptly dropped
          their wire, and charged the guns. They captured the
          guns and took two of the enemy prisoners, the others
          making good their escape.'

          Germay Artillery crew firing 

The Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918 and
while it is not indicated in his military files Private Turkington
probably was part of the Occupation Army that moved into

Private Turkington as one of the later reinforcements was one of the later repatriations he did not leave England until
23rd April 1919 arriving back in New Zealand on 24th July 1919. Private Turkington was given a month’s leave and discharged from the NZEF on 29th August 1919 ‘on termination of period of engagement.’

George returned to Dannevirke and also employment with the NZ Railways. In 1924 George was appointed as the Stationmaster at Mangatainoka. George and family left Mangatainoka in 1926 with George taking up the role of Stationmaster at Plimmerton. Two of George and Matilda’s older children were enrolled at Plimmerton School, Mervyn
in 1926 and Doreen in 1927. The Turkington family move to Tawa in 1929 when George was appointed as the Deputy Controller of the Railway Refreshment Branch.

                                                                          Living in Tawa Terrace, Tawa in 1951 George became the first chairman of the                                                                                  original Tawa Flat Town Board commissioners, and first mayor of the Tawa                                                                                        Borough Council 1953-54, resigning this position when appointed to the
                                                                          Local Government Commission.[v]

                                                                          George died on 31st August 1971 and is buried in the old Porirua Cemetery,                                                                                      Matilda was bruied in the family plot when she died in 1985.
                                                                          Family grave Porirua Cemetery 

George’s younger brother David served: 74839 Corporal Turkington, 43rd Reinforcements
Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files
History of the Wellington Infantry Regiment 1914 – 1919
Paperspast Online
Myheritage Online

Grave Porirua Cemetery records online
NZ Signallers - Royal RSA collection National Library 

[i]  NZ BDM
[ii] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files:65273 Private George Turkington
[iii] Myheritage: Turkington
[iv] Archway Archives New Zealand Military Files: 74839 Corporal David Turkington
[v] TawaHistory.org.nz; street names  
NZ Signallers running wire Western Front 1917