41 TURBET, Claude Douglas

41 Claude Douglas TURBET
41 Claude Douglas TURBET

41 Claude Douglas TURBET

41 Claude Douglas Turbet was only 19 years old, born in Hobart, Tasmania.  His parents were William and Annie (nee Cook) – Before enlisting  he had made a career for 3 years as a mattress maker in Kent st, Sydney with Good Earls Ltd. He was living with his mother at Canterbury and was already serving in the 6th Field Co. Eng.  Claude had three brothers, Harold , Charles, Robert and his sister Ivy.

Claude’s older brother 748 Pte. Harold Albert Turbet  was married, a bootmaker from St. Peters Sydney who joined the Infantry 1st Battalion. Claude enlisted a few weeks before his older brother, however Claude and Harold were both farewelled at Woolloomooloo wharf when they left Australia together on the HMAT Afric on the 18th October 1914

Claude was one of the original pontoon builders with Lieut. Henry Bachtold on landing day at Gallipoli and received special mention for acts of conspicuous gallantry and valuable services.

Sappers building barrel piers. Coutesy AWM- A01507
Sappers building barrel piers in preparation for the Gallipoli landing. Coutesy AWM- A01507

Claude’s heroic efforts on the landing day with his fellow sappers was published in the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday the 22nd October. The headline read “Heroic Australians” and Claude was “Mentioned In Orders” by the Army Corps Commander with his fellow pontoon builders. Unfortunately his name was spelt as C.D Turtset in the SMH.

Heroic Australians
Unfortunately his name was spelt as C.D Turtset.

153 complimentary

On the 8th August at the “Battle for Lone Pine” Claude Turbett was “Killed in Action” by a shell.

In many respects Lone Pine was a battle of the ‘bombs’. The Turks, according to official historian Charles Bean, seemed to have an ‘inexhaustible supply’ of their cricket-ball style bombs and they had been well trained in throwing them. The Anzacs had come ashore without any kind of ‘bomb’ so a ‘bomb factory’ was hastily established near Anzac Headquarters at the beach. In this British official photograph, ‘bombs’ are being made by stuffing old jam tins with pieces of Turkish shell and barbed wire.

Bean wrote of the Lone Pine battle:
The Australians … were learning that bombs were the most powerful weapon for hand-to-hand fighting, and that – though they knew little of bomb-throwing and mistrusted the crude ‘jam tins’ – if they could obtain a constant supply they could keep back the Turks.  – Charles Bean, The Story of Anzac, Vol II, Sydney, 1924, p.539 AWM G00267

Sergeant Cyril Lawrence of the Australian Engineers wrote a description of the Lone Pine battlefield in his diary:
The whole way across is just one mass of dead bodies, bags of bombs, bales of sandbags, rifles, shovels and all the hundred and one things that had to be rushed across to the enemy trenches. The undergrowth has been cut down, like mown hay, simply stalks left standing, by the rifle fire, whilst the earth itself appears just as though one had taken a huge rake and scratched it all over.” The Gallipoli Diary of Sergeant Lawrence of the Australian Engineers, Sir Ronald East (ed), Melbourne 1983, pp 68-69 -AWM C01727

Claude Turbet’s burial was officiated by Chaplain Walter Ernest Dexter.

Chaplain W.E Dexter J05400
Chaplain W.E Dexter 

None were more aware of the human suffering at Lone Pine than the chaplains and padre’s who worked constantly to lift the spirits of the men in the trenches. Chaplain Walter Dexter’s diary reveals the conditions that prevailed during and after the attack at Lone Pine. His entry for Tuesday August 10 reads……….

“In the Lone Pine the moving of the dead goes steadily on. All hope of getting them out for burial is given up and they are being dragged into saps and recesses, which will be filled up. The bottom of the trench is fairly clear, you have not to stand on any as you walk along and the bottom of the trench is not springy, nor do gurgling sounds come from under your feet as you walk on something soft. The men are feeling worn out but are sticking it like Britons. The stench you get used to after a bit unless a body is moved. In all this the men eat, drink and try to sleep. Smoking is their salvation and a drop of rum works wonders … Had a funeral at 6 p.m. One is obsessed with dead men and burials and I am beginning to dream of them. I suppose it is because I am so tired.”

Source: Walter Ernest Dexter, diary, 10 August 1915, AWM PR00248

The following image is of the engineers memorial cross. To the left of this is the original burial place of Claude Turbet.

photo of Claude’s original burial and cross ( Left of frame)
Shrapnell Gully
Lone Pine Cemetery Memorial Plaque



Published in the The Sydney Morning Herald – 8th September 1915

“The brothers, Sapper Claude D. Turbet, killed in action, and Corporal Harold A. Turbet, wounded, are sons of Mrs. A. Turbet, of Canterbury. The brothers were at the first landing in the Dardanelles.”

On the 3rd August, just 5 days before Claude was killed in action,  Claude’s brother Harold was wounded at Gallipoli by a bullet wound to the arm. The day after news of “The Brothers Turbet”  was published in Australia ,  Claude’s brother Harold embarked for Australia carrying his wounds and a heavy heart with the loss of his brother Claude and the knowledge that he would have to return home without him after leaving together on the HMAT Afric just 12 months earlier.

 The following notices were placed on the anniversary of Claude’s death in 1916

Published  in Sydney Morning Herald.

Family Notices  8th August 1916

TURBET.-In loving memory of my dear brother and brother in law who was killed in action on the 8th August 1915, at Lone Pine.

He sleeps not his native land,

But neath the foreign skies,

Far from those who loved him best,

In a heroes grave he lies.

Inserted by his brother and sister-in- law, Mr and Mrs C W Turbet.

TURBET.-In memory of Sapper C D Turbet, killed in action Lone Pine, August 8th, 1915

He’s gone to rest his troubles are o’er,

He’s done with sorrow and pain,

The ill’s of this life which he patiently bore,

Will never distress him again.

Inserted by his sorrowing brother and sister in law, Harold and Rose.

Plan of Commemorative area showing which panel the name Claude Douglas Turbet's is located
Location on the Roll of Honour Claude Douglas Turbet’s name is located at panel 25 in the Commemorative Area at the Australian War Memorial (as indicated by the poppy on the plan).

Roll of Honour name projection

Claude Douglas Turbet’s name will be projected onto the exterior of the Hall of Memory on:

  • Thu 20 August, 2015 at 7:29 pm
  • Sat 10 October, 2015 at 11:37 pm
  • Sat 12 December, 2015 at 12:27 am
  • Mon 8 February, 2016 at 9:18 pm
  • Mon 4 April, 2016 at 8:20 pm
  • Fri 20 May, 2016 at 8:16 pm
  • Fri 1 July, 2016 at 8:25 pm
  • Sun 14 August, 2016 at 5:33 am
  • Mon 3 October, 2016 at 4:36 am

Story Copyright VanceKelly2015

Sources: AWM, NNA, NLA

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