William Wagner Turner EM

b. 01/09/1876 Glasgow, Scotland.  d. 04/01/1948 Assynt, Scotland.

DATE OF EM ACTION: 29/10/1909 Darran Colliery, Bargoed, Wales.

William Wagner was born on 1st September 1876 in Glasgow, Scotland, the third of eight children born to Daniel and Ruth Turner (nee Robson). His father was a house painter and by the age of 14, William had become an apprentice working with him. This was not William’s preferred choice of career however, and by 1901, he had become a medical student. After qualifying as a doctor, William moved south and settled in Gelligaer in South Wales, where he boarded with the Evans family. He was involved in the Darran Colliery Explosion on 29th October 1909 which led to the award of the Edward Medal. Soon afterwards, he returned to his native Scotland, and on 15th November 1915, in Glasgow, he married Annie Theresa Sutherland Wilson. They had no children, and following his retirement from medicine they moved to the Highlands. William died on 4th January 1948 in Assynt, and he was buried in Inchnadamph Old Kirkyard.



An explosion of coal-dust occurred at the Darran Colliery, Deri, in the Cardiff district by which twenty-seven persons lost their lives, five succumbing during the rescue operations. Mr Evan Owens, the Under-Manager of the Colliery, Mr Evans, Pit Carpenter, and Mr Edmund Davies, the day fireman, were among the first to enter the mine, and made determined and continued attempts to succour the unfortunate men who had been affected by the explosion. They were at all times seriously affected by the noxious air and only desisted when their services were no longer of any avail.

Dr. Turner, who was the first medical man to reach the mine, displayed great courage by promptly going down the ladders in the upcast and pumping shaft – an awkward descent to any one unacquainted with mining work. He rendered all the assistance he could, and nearly paid for his bravery with his life, as he was severely affected by afterdamp.