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  George Archer Turnbull Regimental Number: 415514   Battalion: 40th Battalion/5th Regiment Canadian Mounted Rifles Rank: Sergeant (40th Battalion) Private (Canadian Mounted Rifles ) Date of Birth: September 5, 1895 Place of Birth: Arcadia, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia Enlistment Date: April 5, 1915 Enlisted at: Digby, Nova Scotia Age at Enlistment: 19 Height: 5 Feet 8 Inches Civilian Occupation: bank clerk Married: Single Religion: Church of England Next of Kin: Mrs George D Turnbull (mother), Digby, Digby County, Nova Scotia George Turnbull, known by the name Archer, was born in Yarmouth County; however, the family moved from Yarmouth when Archer was a small child. They lived in Calgary for a short period but after December 1907 the family lived in Clark’s Harbour and soon after moved to Digby, Nova Scotia. Archer attended the Digby Academy and spent two years at King’s College in Windsor.  When the war started Archer was an employee of the Royal Bank of Canada in the town of Digby.  He joined the 40th Battalion at Digby in February 1915 at the age of 19.  He left Digby with the 40th Battalion for Aldershot and Valcartier and crossed to England a year prior to his death. In England he was offered a lieutenant’s commission and would have been made an instructor. |He declined the opportunity and asked to be made a private in order to get on the firing line as soon as possible.  He was sent as a reinforcement from the 40th Battalion to the 5th Mounted Rifles and was in France about three months when he was killed in action. The following letter was received by his mother:   His name is listed on the Digby Memorial and on the tablet that was located in the Royal Bank, Digby.  His name is also listed on the memorial located in Holy Trinity Church, Yarmouth, NS. Date of Death: September 15, 1916 Age at Death: 21 Cause of Death: Killed in Action Memorial: Vimy Memorial, Pas de Calais, France (While burial information was given by Sergeant Loggie, the ground was much fought over and the remains were never recovered or identified) Listed on the Nominal Roll of the 40th Battalion Commemorated on Page 175 of the First World War Book of Remembrance Displayed in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa on April 20
Private George Archer Turnbull
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Attestation Paper (click to enlarge)
Dear Madam  I would like to express my sympathy for the loss of your son who was in the same company as myself and was killed instantly on the afternoon of September 15. Two other companies of our battalion had taken a trench in the morning in conjunction with a general attack on both sides of us and it was when the Germans were retaliating that your son met his death in the trench our Company was holding. He was buried where he fell by his comrades just east of Mouquet Farm between Thiepval and Courcelette.  I only knew your son after he came to the battalion in June but knew him as a fine, clean soldier, absolutely unselfish and always helping others. Those who knew him will feel genuine regret at his death.  Surely a terrible toll of splendid young men is being taken that this great was may be won for right.  It seems sad that bright young men like Archer should be cut off at the threshold of their lives yet in the sorrow of your great loss you must be comforted I think in a very great pride in the nobleness of his sacrifice and I know Archer made his happily and ungrudging.  Never did I hear him grumble.  Always he was cheery.  ...  Sergeant W. P. Loggie 5th Canadian Mounted Rifles.