Maurice Turnbull (1906-1944)

Maurice Joseph Lawson Turnbull (16 March 1906 – 5 August 1944) was a Welsh cricketer who played in nine Tests for England from 1930 to 1936

A talented all round sportsman, Turnball excelled in several sports. In cricket he captained the Cambridge University team in his final year of college and captained the Glamorgan County Cricket Club for ten seasons. In rugby union he represented Cardiff and London Welsh and gained two full international caps for Wales in 1933. Turnbull also represented Wales at field hockey and was squash champion for South Wales. He is the only person to have played cricket for England and rugby for Wales.

Turnbull was born in Cardiff in 1906 into a large sporting family. His father, Philip, was a Welsh international hockey player, winning a bronze medal with the Welsh team at the 1908 Olympics, and six of his eight sons, including Maurice, played for Cardiff Rugby Club. Turnbull was educated at Downside School near Bath; and the school still has a bar named after him for the use of sixth formers. From Downside he went to Cambridge University and continued his connection with sport by winning sporting Blues in both cricket and hockey.

As a Major in the First Battalion of the Welsh Guards he was killed instantly by a sniper's bullet during intense fighting for the French village of Montchamp after the Normandy landings in 1944. His body was recovered from the battlefield by one of his men, Sergeant Fred Llewellyn, and his personal possessions sent home to his family.

Turnbull wrote two cricketing books with fellow international Maurice Allom, The Book of Two Maurices (1930) and The Two Maurices Again (1931). The books gave accounts of their cricket tours to New Zealand and South Africa.

Turnbull was an eager sportsman as a youth, and played rugby for Downside School. He matriculated to Cambridge, and at university joined not only the cricket team, but also Cambridge University Rugby Club. One of the earliest rugby clubs he represented was St. Peters in Cardiff. His elder brother, Bernard Turnbull had already represented Wales by this time, and had also played club rugby for St. Peters. During the 1931–32 season, Turnbull played his first senior game for Cardiff, mainly playing at scrum-half, and by 1932 he was representing rugby at county level, playing for Glamorgan.

Turnbull was first selected to play for Wales in the opening match of the 1933 Home Nations Championship, played away to England. Turnbull was one of seven new caps brought into the Welsh team, under the captaincy of Watcyn Thomas, and was paired at half-back with Cardiff and London Welsh regular Harry Bowcott. The game ended in a narrow 7–3 win for Wales, with Ronnie Boon scoring all the Welsh points which finally laid the 'Twickenham bogey', ten losses in ten visits, to rest.

The Welsh selectors responded by selecting all 15 players to play the second game of the tournament against Scotland; but several late withdrawals forced the selectors to make last minute changes. Turnbull himself was forced to withdraw because of injury,[8] which saw Bowcott also stand down to allow the introduction of the Swansea half-back pairing of Morris and Evans to take their place. Wales were easily beaten. In the final game of the Championship, Turnbull was declared fit and he and Bowcott returned to the squad. The build-up to the game was over-shadowed by poor player conduct on the boat to Belfast, and then captain Thomas reshuffled some of the player positions against the wishes of the Welsh Rugby Union, during the game. The Irish won 5–10, and the WRU reacted by discarding eleven of the team for the next season. Turnbull was one of the players who never played international rugby for Wales again.

Source: Wikipedia