Turner, Eric Gardner, 1911-1983

by P J Parsons

19 Apr 2016
978-0-19-726073-9 hbk

Extract relating to military intelligence work:

The war made at first relatively little difference. Academic life [at Aberdeen University] continued. Among recent arrivals in Aberdeen was a new lecturer in history. ... Turner proposed to her [Louise Barbara Taylor, lecturer in history at Aberdeen] on 19 September 1940, and they were married on 3 October in King’s College Chapel.

Meanwhile the wartime intelligence work at Bletchley Park had begun, deeply secret and long to remain so; and in January 1941 Turner was summoned to join the group. From 17 Feb. 1941 to 30 June 1945 he remained in the employment of the Foreign Office (ending with the grade of Temporary Senior Administrative Assistant). To begin with, he was billeted in a railwayman’s cottage, with a landlady whose garbled clichés enlivened a gloomy environment. Louise resigned her post at the end of the session, and joined him in his new billet in the village of Simpson. After a few months they moved to a house of their own in Woburn Sands, then a small village on the edge of extensive woodlands, in which Turner delighted to walk when shiftwork left him free for a few brief hours of daylight. He became a keen gardener, especially of vegetables; Louise served briefly in the Bletchley Police force, until their children were born (Hilary, 13 August 1942; Nicholas, 25 June 1944). Turner remembered friends from this period, notably Walter Ettinghausen (later, as Walter Eytan, to have a distinguished career in the Israeli Foreign Service); of his work for the project he never spoke.

(See: List of humanities scholars who worked in military intelligence in the Second World War)

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