Clarence (Clarrie) enlisted on 2 Aug 1940, was appointed Acting Lance Corporal on 11 Aug 1940, promoted Acting Corporal on 2 Nov 1940 and Lieutenant on 1 Mar 1941. He was an original member of the unit, embarking aboard “ZEALANDIA” on 8 Dec 1941 for Timor as a Lieutenant, Officer Commanding, No 3 Section, “A” Platoon.
After the campaign on Timor, he embarked with the unit, for Australia aboard the Royal Dutch destroyer “Tjerk Hiddes” on 11 Dec 1942.
He was discharged on 6 Jan 1944.
Clarrie Turner was born in 1917, the fourth of eight children and was educated at Capel School and later, Narrogin Agricultural College. At seventeen, he returned home to work in the family Butcher shop and did both shop work and slaughtering until he joined the Army in December 1939.
He completed his elementary and Non-Commissioned Officer training and in late 1940 completed his Officer Training on the banks of the Hume Weir at Albury-Wodonga.
He underwent commando training in 1941 at Foster on Wilson's Promontory in Victoria and the 2/2nd Independent Company of commandos was formed shortly thereafter. The unit traveled by train to Alice Springs and then by truck to Katherine in the Northern Territory.
Along the way, Clarrie's butchering skills were called upon to slaughter an alleged stray sheep. It was later discovered that the sheep was half of a local farmer's flock and there was hell to play. The commandos embarked for Timor from Darwin in December 1941 and Clarence recalled that the officers had to draw their own maps of the area, as there were very few maps of Timor in existence at the time. He used this map throughout his time on Timor and brought it back to Australia with him.
After the tough Timor Campaign he arrived home in early February 1943 and on the 27th of that month married Grace in "All Souls "Church across the road from the Murnane horse stud. They only had a three-day honeymoon before Clarrie had to report back. He left the Army a year later, but continued his association with the commandos for the remainder of his life. He and Grace enjoyed great friendships and many good times with them and their partners for many, many years.
Clarrie had No.3 Section of "A" platoon in Timor which included Bernie Langridge, Arthur Marshall, Bill Rowan-Robinson, Eric Weller and Alf Hillman to name a few. Clarrie was a good officer and was well respected by his men. Clarrie and Grace were loyal and generous supporters of the Association of which he was a Life Member.
He was entitled to the 1939-45 Star, Pacific Star, War Medal and Australian Service Medal 1939-45, pictured below.
Edited by Peter Epps