Rifleman Lionel Fitzherbert Turpin was a Guyanese soldier of the British Army who fought during the First World War.

He was born in 1896, in Georgetown, British Guiana. A merchant seaman, Turpin enlisted in the army in August 1915, at York, in England. He was sent to the Western Front in February 1916, with the 2nd Battalion, The King's Royal Rifle Corps.[1]

On the Western Front, Turpin fought in the Somme Offensive, and later sustained severe wounds from a gas shell which necessitated his hospitalisation in England and eventual placement in a convalescent home near Hill House, Warwick. His lungs had been burnt, while the shell inflicted a gaping wound to his back.[1][2]

Turpin settled in Leamington Spa after his discharge, and married Beatrice Elizabeth Whitehouse, with whom he had five children. He became an iron-moulder at a gas stove works, but his wounds deteriorated over time, requiring full-time care and the partial removal of a lung. He died on 6 March 1929, at the Ministry of Pensions Hospital in Highbury, Birmingham.[1][3] Two of his sons, Dick and Randolph, became middleweight boxing champions. He was a famous black soldier, that did well in his life.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Turpin, Jackie (2012), Battling Jack Turpin: You Gotta Fight Back, pp. 3-5.
  2. Phillips, Caryl (2007), Foreigners: Three English Lives, pp. 89-90.
  3. Scott A. G. M. Crawford, ‘Turpin, Randolph Adolphus (1928–1966)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 accessed 4 Sept 2015
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