Feature Page
Fusilier 14820366
Ronald Peter Turner
1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
Lucknow, India

Click on any photo to enlarge it

Part 1

"Ronnie" Turner was called up for Army service on the 15th August, 1944 from his home town of Blackburn.
He had been a member of the Home Guard for the two years prior to conscription and this helped him to quickly adjust to life in the Army and the 'joys' of basic training..

His first 6 weeks of training was undertaken at Omagh Co Tyrone, Northern Ireland.
Back of Photo

He was later posted to Formby, Southport where he completed a further 12 weeks of training. Ronnie was particularly
pleased to have been moved to Formby because this meant he could get home to Blackburn.

In early December, 1944 upon completion of basic training he and many other new recruits found themselves on their way out to India
on a Dutch Liner. He was particularly intrigued by the ship's crew who it turned out were Javanese.
At first he thought they were Japanese!!!

Ronnie and his fellow recruits arrived in India in late December, 1944 or early January, 1945 where he joined the
1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers at Lucknow. He was very pleased to find that the NCO's in the battalion were not as fierce
as those he had encountered during his training!!!
He joined A Company and the Mortar Platoon and remained with the battalion in India until their return to the UK in late 1947.
Ronnie travelled home on the HMT Georgic the same ship that brought "Minnie the Mule" back to the UK.
He can vividly recall her being kept on the rear deck
He was demobbed at York on 17th November, 1947 and following a short spell of Release Leave he resumed his
peace time occupation as a shuttlemaker.


Ronnie has generously provided the following stories / anecdotes of his time with the Lancashire Fusiliers.
They are not given in any particular order
They have been rewritten and given headings for this page

A change of Uniform

I joined the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers at Lucknow in 1945 and that's when I first came across RSM Stanley 'Kitner' Price
on his battalion Drill Parade (NB: Ronnie states that he was know Kitner Price.)

He looked immaculate, Bush Hat, Silk Shirt and shorts and without doubt the smartest soldier I have ever seen.

However, a Major (2nd in Command) who was tall and wore a monocle came on Parade, and shouted "RSM Price, get off Parade
and put on Army issue uniform, you look like a Chinese General!!!!!"

Even in Army issue shirts he still looked immaculate. I don't know what became of the Major but there were stories going around
about him riding the mules at night.
Never did see him again.

NB: Compilers note - RSM Price is known to have had specially made for himself a beautiful uniform made out of the finest silk!!!

The Major concerned is known to have 'departed' the battalion not long after this particular incident

RSM Stanley 'Kitner' Price and Lord Wavell

Anyone can make a mistake

Battalion Drill Parade was RSM Price's favorite pastime. One day during a Parade Kitner shouted at one of the Chindits
by name "Keep Still!" he screamed. After a short pause he shouted "I know you have gone home on leave!"

On another occasion during an RSM's battalion Drill Parade an Indian Postman made the mistake of passing the parade ground
with his pony and trap. Kitner ordered his Regimental Policemen to arrest the poor bewildered postman.
Kitner refused to listen to the Regimental Policeman who asked what they should do with the pony and trap.Kitner just shouted "Get them inside!" I think he had a very queer sense of humor,
knowing that hundreds were watching his every move.

On another occasion two of his Policemen came on Parade with a table. Kitner stood on the table so that all could see him
and he demonstrated how Arms Drill should be done. Immaculate!!!



Half the battalion was made up of these wonderful soldiers. It is said (wrongly) that Kitner had no friends.
At weekends these Chindits went to Lucknow and some of them had too much to drink. Kitner went to Lucknow
with his Policemen and what was know as his "hurry up truck" to collect his soldiers. No matter how drunk they were
he never put anyone on a charge. He had after all been to hell and back with them. The same did not apply to us young squaddies!!!


Hiding in the smallest room

One afternoon we were all off duty just lounging around our barrack room when one of the lads shouted
"Kitner's coming!"
and everyone scattered. I and four other Fusiliers hid in a toilet until he had gone!!!



The RSM used to go down with Malaria. On one occasion two orderlies were sent from the MI Room to Kitner's
Billet with a stretcher.

He put them both on a charge and walked to the ambulance


Special Guard: Photograph of the Guard Detail Presenting Arms

It was a Special Guard that Kitner had for one of his social occasions. I think from memory it was red tunics and blue slacks.
He must have been pleased because he decided to have our photograph taken. The Indian photographer came and he had
one of those old box type cameras on a tripod. Kitner brought us to the Present Arms position and the Indian photographer
was scurrying away under the cloth canopy on the back of the camera. He came out from under the canopy
and made his way towards us to make some adjustments. Kitner had obviously become very impatient and began waving his
Pace Stick shouting "TAKE THE PICTURE!!!!!" The Indian ran back to his camera, stuck his head under the canopy
and took the picture. He was probably going to adjust my sleeve. That's me, centre front rank.


Lucknow Barracks

The barracks at Lucknow were clean and well spread out and the barrack rooms were built with verandas.
In general our living conditions were excellent but we did not have the luxury of flushing toilets.
A wagon shaped like a fuel tanker but much smaller came round to empty the toilet tubs every day.
The first time I saw this wagon was when I was on Drill Parade. As the wagon went past, it wasn't General Salute,
Present Arms, it was "Cadbury's Salute…Present Arms!!!"

If we were marching when the wagon went past it was " Eyes Right " or "Eyes left " for the Cadbury's Wagon!!!


Special Guard for demo's

We were on guard waiting for the arrival of a VIP and Kitner put us through our paces. He made sure we were ready.
He then took out his handkerchief got down and wiped the dust off our boots. I could not believe what I was seeing


Military Tattoo in Lucknow

I was in the squad who was performing 'silent drill'. The crowd appreciated the complicated routine and they thought
we were brilliant.
What they did not know was that our CSM was in the centre of the squad, dressed as a Fusilier,
giving the orders just loud enough for us to hear.


Stick Man

I was the smartest on the Guard Mounting a couple of times which meant that you didn't have to go on guard..
The next morning you had to report to the RSM and you were then the Commanding Officer's runner for a couple of hours.
I had to stand outside and ring the Ships Bell every hour. (the bell was the one from HMS Euryalus, the ship that landed the LF's at Gallipoli).
The bell was on a tripod outside Kitner's Office


Home Leave Request

Home Leave was for those who had been in India just coming up to two years. Once over 2 years service (and not having had leave)
you had to wait for demob. I had been in India for one year and eleven months and was getting desperate for some home leave.
'A' Company Commander said I would have to go on CO's Orders, which I did. The soldier next to me on CO's Orders was a cook,
overweight and very nervous. Kitner came to inspect us and make sure that we knew the proper drill. When he came to the cook
he could see that he was nervous, beads of sweat were rolling off him. Kitner assured the cook that he would be alright and not to worry.
Kitner went to the rear telling each and everyone "Get your haircut!!" He then stood behind the cook.
He shouted as loud as he could in the cook's ear
I always admired and respected Kitner apart from the fact I was frightened to death of him, but on this occasion he went over the top.

When I was eventually marched into the CO's Office all I said was" I want to go on home leave Sir". He said to the officer by his side,
"See that this man goes home on leave". When the list went up on the Notice Board, Fusilier R.P. Turner's name was at the top of the list!
The rest were in alphabetical order. I had a month traveling home, a month at home and a month coming back……..great!


Home Leave and a Holiday Cruise

I had a great time on my home leave and got together with my future wife Jean Margaret.
We had been friends from about the age of 14 years and have now been married for 57 years. I went back to India
after my home leave on the "Queen of Bermuda". There were only a few troops on board and most of the passengers
were civilians going back to India, Malaya or Singapore. We all had a great time on board and the two weeks it took was
like being on a holiday cruise.

Queen of Bermuda 1939


Local Leave

My brother Fred was stationed on the North West Frontier (NWF) and he was a sergeant in the Royal Air Force working
at an ammunition depot in the Khyber Pass. I applied for and was given leave and permission to go and see Fred at Christmas 1945.
However, we had to get the Provost Marshall on the NWF to take responsibility for me, which thankfully he did.
I got a second class rail ticket for what was going to be a two day journey. However, I got into the first class carriages and
at one of the stops on the way a ticket inspector came on board the train. We went to the RTO (an office at main railway stations manned by British Military Personnel). The ticket inspector said that I would have to pay the first class rate. The upshot of it all was that he kept my ticket
and I had to travel all the way without a ticket. (a return ticket!!!).
I had to change at Lahore and I was on Lahore Railway Station when this Indian wanted to be my 'traveling companion'.
He was a FBI…..…F…….Big Indian!!! I went to the RTO and they put me with two sergeants so I was ok from then on.
I had a good Christmas leave with my brother. I traveled all the way back to Lucknow without a ticket.
I had been given a bottle of whiskey. I saw some LF's unloading a train so I joined them and went back to camp.


Hill Station in the foothills of the Himalayas

In June, 1945 'A' Company went to the Hill Station at Delhousie in the foothills of the snow capped Himalayas.
What a magnificent sight! The King's Own were also stationed at Delhousie at that time and it was great,
we played football against them and we all got on fine. Out every night dancing, it was like being on holiday in Switzerland.
At one dance I went to I got off with an excellent dancer. She was much older than me. I loved ballroom dancing and we were good together.
She was called Joyce, but I do not recall her last name. She was a captain in the WAC (1). One morning Joyce and I went for a
walk and as we were walking down the road a family of Baboons (about12) came down the steep hill side,
crossed the road and over to the other side. They were the biggest monkeys I had ever seen. We just stood still.
That night I went to the dance and found Joyce with an RAF Pilot Officer. That was my lot!



Coffee and the Earth moved

After the dance(s) finished we used to go for a coffee at a place that was built like a Fort.
One time when in the Fort (which was full) there was a severe earth tremor. It was so bad that coffee cups were being spilt
and the fans overhead were swinging about. Everybody was in shock and one idiot stood on a table and shouted…..,"stand fast the Lancashire Fusiliers!, WOMEN AND CHILDREN AND THE KINGS OWN FIRST".

We had got on well with the Kings Own up to that point


I'll show you mine if you'll show me yours!!!

One day we were on parade and just wearing shorts. Our CSM was covered in tattoos and I mean covered.
The old soldier next to me said, "Bill, turn round and show us the second house!!"

Gallipoli Day 25th April, 1947
Trooping the Colour (Lucknow, India) the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers

RSM Stanley 'Kitner' Price did a magnificent job with the battalion. He trained the Officers and us to a very high standard.
I am sure that Major General A.C. Curtis was well pleased as he took the salute. Kitner was a brilliant organizer,
a bit eccentric a total one off, but he was OUR Kitner.


Funeral Lucknow Cemetery

This was very sad and just near the end of the war. The battalion had gone to a Hill Station to get away from the heat.
I was with the rear party looking after the barracks. Our Corporal and I were looking for Chatties (a water vessel that kept the water cool)
and left under the bed of the lads who were away. However our Corporal and I were drinking from these Chatties.
He was a Liverpool lad, full of Liverpool humor a perfect gentleman. He died the next day from Cholera.

RSM Price picked me for the Burial Party. With no refrigeration he was buried the following morning at 8 a.m.
Kitner drilled us all afternoon and when it went dark he had us practice slow marching around the inside of his office.
The funeral was one of the saddest days of my life, we were such good friends.

The next funeral was for a WAC (1). She must have been a big girl, she was very heavy.
I remember Kitner saying to us "I have seen the Catholic Priest so watch what you are doing, he is not per pamphlet"


Hill Station with the Mortar Platoon at Rhaniket

The scenery of the snow capped Himalayas was magnificent the tallest one, Nanda Devi being the highest mountain in India.
Two members of our Platoon were Lance Corporal Eddie Holmes and Fusilier Dunne and they were my best friends.
I used to tag along with them. They were two of the nicest blokes I have ever met and it was they who got me interested in Classical Music.
Thanks to them I now have a wonderful collection.
They both wanted to go on a trek to the mountains in front of Nanda Devi so they went to ask the Platoon Commander
Captain Armitage for permission. He said "Yes, but I am coming with you and anyone who wants to go with you must be a volunteer".
About 12 of us went and I was assigned to be the Medical Orderly (absolutely no medical experience!!).
There were plenty of blisters to take care of after the first day. Our base camp was next to a stream and we made a dam
so we could bathe in the reservoir that formed. The locals complained. We must have been interfering with their water supply.
We couldn't fully understand what they were saying, but soon got the message

I have often wondered how much it would now cost to go on a trip to the Himalayas in 2005. It was an amazing experience.


Partition and Indian Independence 15th August, 1947

Pakistan came into being on this day and the country was in turmoil. We had to keep a low profile but the good news was
that would be going home at the end of 1947. The battalion left India at the end of the year on the HMT Georgic with "Minnie" on board.
On the 17th November, 1947 at York I was demobbed from the Army and after a weeks leave
(although having been granted 56 Days Release Leave) I returned to my peace time occupation as a "shuttlemaker".

HMT Georgic

Part 2
Ronnies Story

Military Prison and Detention Barracks – Lucknow

Early in 1945 I was attached to Lucknow Prison and the Military Prison was for Cashiered Officers, serious criminals, murderers and war criminal. Most were serving life sentences and the inmates came from all over India.

 The Detention Barracks was the “Glasshouse” type.

In the prison were three Dutch former officers who had committed serious war crimes. A day or two after VE Day one of them escaped. Was I glad I was not on duty that night! He was a very good all in wrestler and would have broken my neck if I had tried to detain him. They were afraid that they would be sent back to Holland as War Criminals.

One day I was placed in charge of a Burmese I don’t know why he was in prison. His punishment was to carry a bucket of water in each hand to the vegetable patch and back again. The heat was truly unbearable so I told to come with me and I put him in a cell then kept watch whilst he had chance to have a good rest.

One day I was on the Main Gate when a prisoner was brought into the prison. He was from my platoon. To see a mate of mine being “doubled” in full kit was enough for me. I asked to see the Commandant and asked him if I could back to my unit. He of course wanted to know why and I recall simply saying “I don’t like this type of duty Sir”. He let me go back to the battalion and I could not get the temporary Lance Corporal Stripe off quick enough. Some of our blokes enjoyed Prison Duty and lapped it up.


Cross Country


We once had an inter platoon cross country race and the Officers were betting crates of beer on who would be the first platoon to get back to camp. I cannot recall the distance but it was certainly a test of endurance and at one point we had to cross a main road.

The 2nd in-command was driving up and down this road in an armoured car like Field Marshall Rommel and was encouraging everyone to keep going. He shouted to Paddy Daley “How’s your feet Daley?” to which he replied “Not bad Sir, how are your tyres!!!”  


Old Sergeant


We had an old sergeant attached to the LF’s at Lucknow and he had spent most of his adult life stationed in India. Indeed it was said of him that when they sent him back to Blighty on leave it was like sending him abroad!

He lived in married quarters which were a beautiful row of cottages. No wonder he was content to stay in India.

Sadly he discovered that rooks were nesting in the thatch of his home and therefore decided that best option was to smoke them out.

" Sadly he burnt down a beautiful row of cottges"



Ronnies Wife 'R'is for Ronnie. Etiquette at the time meant that married women took their husband's full name the 3rd photo is Ronnie's sister Joyce Buck nee Turner who was a war time WREN



back row 8th from the left that’s me Ronnie Turner

first row standing 6th from the left is Ronnie Turner and sat at the front 5th from the left,“Chindit Bob” from St Helens,


A Dutch passenger ship built at Nederlandscae Sb hij in 1938 to carry 640 people.
Weight 14140 tons, Length 170.5 metres, Width 22 metres., Speed 17/18 knots it was converted to a
Troopship and chartered for the Ministry of War, Liverpool, in 1942, capable of housing 2681 troops,
no wonder it seemed crowded. It was broken up at Kaohsiung in 1968 after 30 years of service. In the
pictures below you see how the soldiers where accommodated, pictures could be a sister ship, or the
Tegelberg itself.

Looks like Hong Kong harbour.

Looking very smart, probably after modernisation, at Hong Kong, in 1962, passenger compliment
reduced to 378.

To see Ronnie's latest photo album Click here
Compiled by
Geoff Pycroft
August 2005 , September 2005
, and July 2007