b. 24/12/1883 Glasgow, Scotland. d. 01/07/1916 Anthuille, France.
James Yuill Turnbull (1883-1916) was born at 49 Park Road, Glasgow, Scotland on Christmas Eve 1883. His second name has also been spelt Youll and Young. His father, also James, was a master joiner, employing two apprentices. His mother was Elizabeth nee Dunlop, who was a dairymaid before their marriage in 1870 in Kirn, Argyll. James had four siblings: John, Thomas Dunlop, Gavin Yuill and Elizabeth Bruce Turnbull. Gavin would be killed in action on 17th October 1917 as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers.
James was educated at Albert Road Academy, Glasgow. He was then employed by Messrs Wallace, Scott & Co, who were speciality tailors, and later worked for William Chalmers of Oban. He was a keen footballer, playing for Third Lanark Volunteers FC, which formed in 1872 and was one of the founder members of the Scottish League. He was also a keen athlete and yachtsman.
James served in 3rd Lanark Volunteer Battalion of the Cameronians. He enlisted on 13th September 1914 and went to France on 22nd November 1915. On 1st July 1916, at Leipzig Salient, Authuille, France, when, having with his party captured a post apparently of great importance to the enemy, he was subjected to severe counter-attacks, which were continuous throughout the whole day. Although his party was wiped out and replaced several times during the day, Sergeant Turnbull never wavered in his determination to hold the post, the loss of which would have been very serious. Almost, single-handed, he maintained his position, and displayed the highest degree of valour and skill in the performance of his duties. Later in the day this very gallant soldier was killed whilst bombing a counter-attack from the parados of our trench.
James was buried in Lonsdale Cemetery, Authuille following the recovery of his body. As he never married, his VC was presented by King George V to his father and sister at Buckingham Palace on 2nd May 1917. In addition to the VC, he was awarded the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal 1914-20, and Victory Medal 1914-19. The VC is held privately.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: NOT PUBLICLY HELD.
BURIAL PLACE: LONSDALE CEMETERY, ANTHUILLE, FRANCE.
Cemetery Plan courtesy of Kevin Brazier
PLOT IV, ROW G, GRAVE 9
Royal Highland Fusiliers Museum, Glasgow
War Illustrated, 23rd December 1916
War Illustrated, 22nd September 1917
People's Palace, Glasgow (Thomas Stewart)