- Ernest Sackville Turner
Ernest Sackville (E. S.) Turner (born
Liverpool, England, 17 November 1909; died Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, England, 6 July 2006) was a freelance journalistand authorwho published 20 books, and contributed to the English weekly satirical magazine"Punch" for more than 50 years.
E. S. Turner, as he was professionally referred to throughout his life, was a descendant of Sir Barnard Turner, officer in charge of troops attempting to control the
Gordon Riotsin 1780, [http://www.lrb.co.uk/v20/n20/ohag01_.html Sir Barnard Turner] , notable ancestor: London Review of Bookswebsite.] and who became a Member of Parliament in 1784.
Turner was educated at, amongst other schools,
Orme Boys Schoolin Newcastle under Lyme. He was an otherwise unremarkable pupil and never went on to attend college or university.
However, at the age of 17 his father, Frederick, presented him with a
second-handtypewriter, and this fuelled his desire to write. After having a piece published by the "Dundee Courier" in 1927, he managed to secure a position with the " Glasgow Evening Times", progressing from humble copy boy to become sub-editor, reporterand gossip columneditor. After moving on to the " Glasgow Evening Citizen", he then joined the "Scottish Daily Express".
Turner met a girl called Helen Martin, from
New Yorkin the USA, who impressed him so much that they married in 1937. They would go on to have two daughters, Patricia and Jill, before Helen's death in 1968.
After the onset of war in 1939, he continued to write for various publications, even after he joined the
Royal Artilleryin 1941. He was able to contribute during his spare time in the Army, being based in the UKthroughout the hostilities. At one point, whilst he was on leave, his anti-aircraft unit actually saw action when they shot down a German bomber.
Realising his writing talents, the Army 'top brass' decided to put him to work in a more appropriate area - helping to set-up and publish "Soldier", the magazine of the British Army. This contributed to his promotion to the rank of major in 1946, coinciding with his appointment as editor of the magazine. He held this title even after 'demob', until 1957.
In 1948 'Michael Joseph', the publishers, released his first book, "Boys Will Be Boys: The Story of
Sweeney Todd, Deadwood Dick, Sexton Blake, Billy Bunter, Dick Barton, Et Al" - usually truncated to "Boys Will Be Boys". This was an in-depth examination of the "Boys' Weekly" genré, also known as ' story papers', ' penny dreadfuls' or 'bloods' (due to the violent nature of the prose). He carried out research for the book, ploughing through numerous back-numbers of the various publications. [ [http://www.guardian.co.uk/obituaries/story/0,,1822759,00.html Obituary - E. S. Turner] : Jonathan Sale, Guardian Unlimitedwebsite.]
For his second book, however, he changed direction completely, producing the 1950 non-fiction work "Roads to Ruin: A Shocking History of Social Progress", which was a forthright insight into the British class system, and the resistance of the upper class to significant change. The
politician Tony Bennoften quoted passages from the book in the House of Commons to illustrate points he was trying to make, and especially in 1992, during one particular debateon foxhunting. [ [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199192/cmhansrd/1992-02-14/Debate-2.html Tony Benn foxhunting quotation] : HansardDebates, 14 February 1992, "House of Commons".] Turner was also quoted by another politician, Gerald Kaufman, during a 1996 debate on homosexualityin the Armed Forces. [ [http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm199596/cmhansrd/vo960509/debtext/60509-29.htm Gerald Kaufman quotation] : Hansard Debates, 9 May 1996, "House of Commons".]
During the 1950s, as a now permanent freelance writer, Turner contributed regularly to "Punch Magazine", the leading satirical magazine with the accent on humour and pastiche. This source of income enabled him to concentrate more on writing books. In all, some 20 works by Turner were published in book form during his lifetime, including two
novelsunder the pseudonymof 'Rupert Lang'†.
Soon after his first wife Helen's death in 1968, Turner met an Irish housing manager called Roberta Hewitt whilst travelling in
Samarkand. They married in 1971, and were childless.
Turner's literary flexibility was illustrated two years later when he wrote a Betjeman-style pastiche for the Royal wedding of
Princess Anneand Mark Phillipson 14 November 1973, subsequently quoted in an obituary by Miles Kingtonin 2006. [ [http://news.independent.co.uk/people/obituaries/article1188860.ece Pastiche for the Royal wedding] : Miles Kington, The Independentobituaries.]
At the age of 89, he published "Unholy Pursuits", which took as its subject the incidence of
Anglicanclergymen working anonymously as journalists (a profession considered well beneath them at the time). Its 1998 release coincided with him being dropped by his regular publishers. [ [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?view=DETAILS&grid=&xml=/news/2006/07/17/db1701.xml "Unholy Pursuits"] , a book by Turner released in 1998: Telegraph.co.uk website.]
E. S. Turner contributed many pieces in his later years to publications such as the
Times Literary Supplementand the London Review of Books, [ [http://news.scotsman.com/obituaries.cfm?id=1051642006 Latter years] : contributions to publications, The Scotsmanobituaries.] culminating in his final article, which was published posthumously in the magazine "The Oldie" in September 2006. [ [http://www.nw-enquirer.co.uk/news/obituaries/obituary:_es_turner,_author_200608041432.html Obituary - E. S. Turner] : "The North West Enquirer" website.]
Main Body of Work [ [http://www.kingkong.demon.co.uk/ngcoba/tu.htm New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors] ]
*Boys Will Be Boys, published 1948 by Michael Joseph: ISBN 0718112822
*Roads To Ruin, published 1950 by Michael Joseph:
*The Shocking History Of Advertising, published 1952 by Michael Joseph:
*†The Third Pip, published 1952 by Constable & Company:
*†Maiden Voyage, published 1954 by ?:
*A History Of Courting, published 1954 by Michael Joseph: ISBN 0860258173
*Gallant Gentlemen, published 1956 by Michael Joseph:
*Call The Doctor, published 1958 by St Martin's Press:
*The Phoney War On The Home Front, published 1961 by St Martin's Press:
*What The Butler Saw, published 1962 by Penguin: ISBN 0141390832
*Turner's major employer, [http://www.punch.co.uk Punch magazine] : their website.
* [http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:wHRxxrGvYqsJ:www.soldiermagazine.co.uk/ll/comment.htm+%22+ernest+sackville+turner%22&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=8&gl=uk "Soldier" magazine] : Announcement of the passing of their former Editor-In-Chief, "Google" cache from
26 March 2007.
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