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Turrall, Rupert Guy

Date of birth:
October 27th, 1893
Service number:
British (1801-present, Kingdom)


A geophysicist with an engineering degree from Cambridge University; Major Turrell served in the Royal Engineers in the First World War and was twice Mentioned in Despatches. At the start of the Second World War he was offered an appointment with the Intelligence Corps and sent to the Middle East. In 1941, while a Lieutenant attached to the Frontier Battalion of the Sudan Frontier Force, he was awarded the Military Cross (see citation below). He was eventually recruited into SOE and became involved in a variety of missions with Force 133 on the island of Crete. In 1945 Turrall moved to the Far East to join Force 136 (SOE's Far East organisation) where he won his DSO.

(Biography and photo kindly provided by the Military Intelligence Museum - Shefford/ Bedfordshire)

10 februari 1916: Temporary Lieutenant
21 augustus 1918: Acting Captain
1 oktober 1918: Temporary Captain
24 oktober 1940: Lieutenant

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Second World War (1939-1945)
Frontier Battalion, Sudan Defence Force (SDF), British Army
Awarded on:
September 9th, 1941
"During the night 25/26th March Lieutenant Turrall carried out a mortar attack on the south flank of the strong enemy positions covering Debra Marcos later withdrawing his force across the enemy's flank to the north of their position. These operations lasted during the whole night and it was learnt that considerable casualties had been inflicted on the enemy as a result of them. On 28th March Lieutenant Turrall took up a position on the northern flank of the same defences and successfully bombed them with the three inch mortar inflicting a large number of observed casualties. On the night of 31st March - 1st April Lieutenant Turrall in conjunction with El Bimbashi MacDonald carried out a night bombing attack with hand bombs on the rear of these same defences. El Bimbashi MacDonald was killed while only five yards from the enemy position and Lieutenant Turrall took charge of the operations and at their conclusion himself with two NCOs carried back El Bimbashi MacDonald's body a distance of some five miles in the dark. These operations were carried out in pouring rain and a high wind under the most trying conditions. As a result of these night and day attacks in all of which Lieutenant Turrall displayed coolness, resolution and courage the enemy were forced to hasten their withdrawal from the strong covering positions west of Debra Marcos, and lost a large number of killed and wounded."
Military Cross (MC)
Second World War (1939-1945)
Temporary Major
Force 136, Special Operations Executive (SOE), British Government
Awarded on:
November 7th, 1946
Distinguished Service Order (DSO)
"This officer, who, at the age of 54, commanded the original 'blind' parachute jump of Force 136 personnel to PYAGAWPO on 25 February 1945, organised the reception of operations OTTER and FERRET a few nights later in spite of Japanese forces having arrived in the area from PAPUN. He also organised and trained several hundred Levies who eventually became the hard core of Operation HYENA. On 15 April 1945, he personally led the successful attack on KYAUKKYI which resulted in enemy supplies, spare arms and a W/T set being destroyed. Later he operated in the area East of KYAUKKYI and with his Levies killed over 500 Japanese and gave intelligence for air strikes and artillery which resulted in 924 estimated enemy casualties. For his outstanding powers of leadership and great gallantry shown on numerous occasions I recommend very strongly that this officer be awarded the Distinguished Service Order."