6th September 2011
Alfred Turner, or ‘Jack’ as he was known as a young man (and to his sisters and brothers) lived a long and varied life. His emergence from his schooldays coincided with the outbreak of war, and his earliest work experiences were as a Post Office messenger boy in the London blitz. As soon as he was old enough he was called up. His first preference was the Navy, but his Post Office background led him into the Royal Signals, and he remained a member of the Signals Association throughout his life.
His posting was to the Middle East which made a deep impression on him at an impressionable age. He remained fascinated by the story of Lawrence of Arabia, discussing his later career with the Vicar only a few months ago. In retirement he had made the adventurous journey to Petra (that “rose-red city, half as old as time”). One of his prized possessions was an Arab headscarf which he would lend out to children making an appearance in a Christmas play. Events unfolding in Iraq and Iran stirred memories of those places where his wartime was spent. A few years ago he wrote a little illustrated book on his war experiences, which he had printed for circulation to family and friends.
After the war he trained as a policeman and met Doris (who became his wife) at Hendon Police College where she too was training to be a WPC. He moved to Norwich in the late 1940s. With a growing family – two daughters, Suzanne and Molly, and a son, Bruce – it was something of a struggle, but a time which also allowed some pleasant activities, like the Tug of War team. He had an exemplary career as a police constable, being fondly remembered by his colleagues. He was my father-in-law, who died at the age of 88 on Sept 6th, 2011.
He had several recommendations as a policeman, including one for arresting some burglars he and a colleague surprise in a shop. The miscreants were determined to escape, but Alfred was equally determined that they should not. A fight ensued during which Alfred was hit on the head with an iron bar but bin the end the forces of law and order prevailed.
Luckily not all his work was as traumatic as that. On his retirement from the police force he was engaged on a new career with the Civil Service as a Car licensing officer. This involved travelling all over Norfolk checking up on motor vehicles where there was some question mark over their legality. Naturally enough this kind of work involved him once again with some questionable characters. This involved the purchase of a new car for his use, a red VW which he kept for many years and which he gave to my wife. In turn this little Beetle became our family car during our children’s childhood. He enjoyed a long and productive retirement, filling much of his time with activities involving his grandchildren. He was always keen to keep all his grandchildren in his thoughts, but he was most involved with my son Peter, as we lived the closest to him. They went on many trips together, including a visit to the Science Museum in London and a ferry crossing to the continent. Later on when Peter was at the Norwich School he spent many afternoons carrying him back from the Cathedral Close.
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