Incredible scrapbooks tell a tale of two lives for Sheffield man

Auction of Sergeant Tommy Turnbull's Military Medal.. and scrap books with photograhs expert John Turnbull   'See Story Martin Slack Picture Chris Lawton   '24/01/13
Auction of Sergeant Tommy Turnbull's Military Medal.. and scrap books with photograhs expert John Turnbull 'See Story Martin Slack Picture Chris Lawton '24/01/13
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A PAIR of painstakingly-assembled scrapbooks are to go on sale, chronicling the wartime achievements of a battlefield hero - and his later more mundane life as a housing officer for Sheffield Council.

Thomas Turnbull - known as Tommy - was 31 when he was called up to join the 13th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery, in September 1939.

Auction of Sergeant Tommy Turnbull's Military Medal.. and scrap books with photograhs  ... Tommy Turnbull 'See Story Martin Slack Picture Chris Lawton   '24/01/13

Auction of Sergeant Tommy Turnbull's Military Medal.. and scrap books with photograhs ... Tommy Turnbull 'See Story Martin Slack Picture Chris Lawton '24/01/13

His meticulous skills as a clerk meant he left a fascinating record of what war, and his later life in Meadowhead, Sheffield, were really like.

Expert John Morgan said he had never seen anything like the painstakingly-assembled scrapbook which documents Turnbull’s exploits.

And he said a second scrapbook, which reveals the infinitely more mundane life he returned to as a housing officer for Sheffield Council, showed the huge contrasts men like Turnbull experienced during their lifetimes.

Turnbull was initially sent to Greece, but evacuated to North Africa as the Nazis invaded. He joined Montgomery’s Desert Rats and he immediately marked himself out as a leader.

He was awarded the Military Medal for his courage under fire, continuing to engage enemy tanks after a comrade was killed.

He later won an Oak Leaf after further bravery during the invasion of Italy led to a Mention in Dispatches, adding to his campaign medals which are also included in his immaculately-preserved collection.

Mr Morgan said: “What is unique is his scrapbook and the painstaking nature of his record-keeping.”

The remarkable collection is expected to fetch around £1,800 when it goes under the hammer at Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley on Friday, February 8.