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The Papers of Admiral Sir (Arthur) Francis Turner

Reference Code: GBR/0014/TRNR

Scope and Contents

Churchill Archives Centre holds a small collection of Turner's naval papers. It includes material relating to his training and naval career and include some files on aspects of naval engineering and planned maintenance.


  • Creation: 1931 - 1983

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for consultation by researchers using Churchill Archives Centre, Churchill College, Cambridge.

Conditions Governing Use

Researchers wishing to publish excerpts from the papers must obtain prior permission from the copyright holders and should seek advice from Archives Centre staff.

Biographical / Historical

Arthur Francis Turner (known as "Attie") was born 23 June 1912, the son of Engineer Rear-Admiral A W J Turner and Mrs A M Turner (née Lochrane). He was educated at Stonyhurst College and joined the Royal Navy in 1931, completing a four year course at the Royal Naval Engineering College (RNEC) at Keyham, Devonport.

During the Second World War Turner travelled to Halifax, Nova Scotia, to commission and bring back HMS Newark to the United Kingdom; then spent a period at the RNEC and at HMS Condor (the Royal Naval Air Station at Arbroath), before joining the aircraft carrier Indomitable in 1944 as air engineer officer. Indomitable was the carrier squadron flagship in the British Pacific Fleet and Turner's department maintained a very high aircraft serviceability rate for the fleet's strikes. Turner was mentioned twice in despatches.

After the Second World War, Turner planned the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Air Arm. From 1954 Turner served in the Engineer in Chief's department at Bath, laying the foundation for the Navy's planned maintenance organisation. His other positions included: Captain Superintendent of the Royal Naval Aircraft Yard at Donibristle (1956-58); Director of Aircraft Maintenance and Planning in London; Chief Staff Officer (Technical) on the Central Staff, Mediterranean (1962-64); Director-General Aircraft (Navy) at the Ministry of Defence (1966-67); Chief of Fleet Support, Ministry of Defence (1967-71). In 1970 Turner made naval history by becoming the first officer of a non-executive branch to reach the rank of full Admiral. He was one of the Navy's first specialists in naval aeronautical engineering and pioneered the introduction of planned maintenance to improve the reliability of the fleet's machinery.

Turner married Elizabeth Clare de Trafford in 1963 and they had two sons. Turner died on 26 October 1991.


1 archive box(es) (1 box (8 files))

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

The collection has been catalogued and a paper copy of the catalogue is available for consultation in the reading room of Churchill Archives Centre and at the National Register of Archives in London.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers were deposited at Churchill Archives Centre by Lady Turner in 1991.


This collection description and catalogue were prepared by Natalie Adams of Churchill Archives Centre in January 2003, using information from Turner's obituary in the Daily Telegraph (30 October 1991) and from his entry in Who Was Who (A and C Black).


Turner, Sir Arthur Francis, 1912-1991, Knight, Admiral

2003-01-14 12:07:05+00:00
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Churchill Archives Centre Repository

Churchill Archives Centre
Churchill College
Cambridge Cambridgeshire CB3 0DS United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 336087