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Former Shropshire man's sacrifice to be honoured

South Shropshire | News | Published:

The sacrifice of a former army captain from Shropshire who grabbed the trunk of a charging elephant to protect his companions has been honoured at Buckingham Palace.

The sacrifice of a former army captain from Shropshire who grabbed the trunk of a charging elephant to protect his companions has been honoured at Buckingham Palace.

Anton Turner, 38, who lived in Ludlow for more than 10 years, died while protecting a group which included three children, a production crew, porters, a hunter, a game scout and the expedition doctor.

Mr Turner, who lived at Downton just outside Ludlow with his family until 2005, was working as chief guide on a filming expedition last year in the Mbarika Mountains in Tanzania when the tragedy happened.

His bravery was recognised last week with the presentation of an In Memoriam award to his father, Major Tim Turner, by Princess Alexandra, the President of the Royal Humane Society.

The ceremony was also attended by his mother Patricia, fiancée Sara Kessel and the daughter he never met, six-month-old Ana Mia.

On October 30 last year Mr Turner was leading the group when a young bull elephant charged at them.

While others in the group took cover, Mr Turner shouted at the elephant to try to frighten it off.

RHS secretary Dick Wilkinson said: "He remained in the path of the charging elephant in order to protect those sheltering behind him. He then grabbed hold of the elephant's trunk in an attempt to divert it, before being thrown to the ground."

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The elephant was shot twice by the hunter and tried to attack someone else in the party before fleeing.

Mr Wilkinson said: "Anton had been fatally injured. But his selfless bravery undoubtedly bought time for other members of the group to act and no-one else was hurt."

Major Turner said: "We are obviously very, very proud of him, but this is tinged with a great deal of sadness."

Mr Turner was a member of the Royal Tank Regiment and later transferred to the Worcester and Sherwood Foresters.

By Hannah Costigan

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