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The Turvey Website The history and families of Turvey in Bedfordshire, England

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Turvey in Wartime

Many Turvey residents still remember the impact of war on the village.  Some, like my grandfather, served abroad in terrible conditions.  Some stayed in the village, perhaps with reserved occupations, keeping the home-fires burning.  Many gave their lives so that their families and friends might be free.

I dedicate this page to all those people and thank them for their courage and patriotism.

Community spirit is at its highest in wartime. The women of Turvey united to help each other out with child care, cooking and cleaning.

With your loved ones away fighting, keeping a home and family was a very tough job.

These ladies were proud, strong willed individuals who helped keep the village functioning throughout the two World Wars.

My Nan was one of these ladies, at one point in World War II my grandfather was reported missing in  action, presumed dead.  It was a good few weeks before news reached my Nan that he was alright.

Members of the Home Guard, affectionately known as 'Dads Army'.

These gentlemen were often Great War veterans or men in reserved occupations who could not serve in the conventional army.

Despite their frequent lack of guns (or ammunition!) and the fact that some were quite infirm, these chaps bravely trained to defend their village should 'Jerry' ever invade.

In the lower picture they are marching into the churchyard.

Click either picture to enlarge.

Mr Colin Mackenzie has compiled a detailed account of Aircraft Crashes Around Turvey 1939-1945 on his website.  Well worth a read.

First World War cavalry soldiers saluting the Parish Church in Turvey in 1917.

Click the picture to enlarge.

Local boys all ready to go off to the War in 1914.

Click the picture to enlarge.

Turvey in World War I - 1914-1918

These chaps are cavalry soldiers from the Great War.  They were billeted at Turvey Abbey.  Many of them are clutching their saddles or harnesses - perhaps the photographer disturbed their tack cleaning duties!

Whilst billeted at Turvey, these soldiers are helping install new telephone lines for the village.

Click to enlarge.

Turvey in World War II - 1939-1945

Here we see World War II soldiers and nurses marching proudly through the village, past the Tinkers Inn, at the end of the war.  It must have been a most remarkable time, with thoughts both joyous at the end of the destruction but with sadness for those who would not be returning.

I have a page dedicated to the Turvey War Memorials and the men listed on them.

WW2 People's War is an online archive of wartime memories contributed by members of the public and gathered by the BBC. The archive can be found at

Here are links to some memories recorded by local people, about Turvey.

Francis Bailey remembers Turvey in World War II

Mrs Nancy Water (nee Dix) remembers being a school girl in Turvey during the War

The Bedford Museum People’s War Page - links to memories from around Bedfordshire

Waiting for the train at Turvey station.

Click the picture to enlarge.

This is the top of a bamboo walking stick. These stick were presented to Turvey soldiers who served in World War I.

The silver plaque (shown left) reads:









William Henry Cockings was my great-grandfather.

Click either image to enlarge.

If you would like to know more about British soldiers in World War 1, I have republished “Tommy Atkins at War” by James A. Kilpatrick.

It is a light and very fascinating read about the bravery, lives and humour of the men at the front.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.

Rare picture of World War 1 British tanks, damaged and abandoned in woods in France.

Click to enlarge.

Buy From Amazon