Friday, 14 March 2014

More sad news from CSM- Jim Turner

On returning home from last night's mining sundowner, I had a phone call to let me know that my old CSM colleague James (Jim) Frederick Turner had died peacefully at his home in Truro on Tuesday, after a long illness.

Jim joined CSM, as head of mineral processing, a year after me, in 1975, on the retirement of the previous head, Frank Bice-Michell.

Together with colleagues Bob Barley, and the late Victor Phillips and Roger Parker, we put together the degree course in Mineral Processing Technology, the first students graduating in 1979.

The mineral processing staff on the front row are Barry Wills, Victor Phillips, Jim Turner, Roger Parker and Bob Barley
Jim himself graduated from CSM, in 1952, as a mining engineer, but spent all his working life in mineral processing in various parts of the world. Prior to joining CSM he was mill superintendent at the Wheal Jane mine near Truro.

Jim was one of life's gentlemen, and also a gentle man, popular with both staff and students. Our thoughts are with his wife Eve, and their family.

With Jim, and one of our old students, Nick Wilshaw, in December 2010

I am sure that many of you will have memories of Jim and I invite you to share them by leaving your comments below.


  1. So sorry to hear this news - the fact that we have the same name (no relation) caused numerous confusions at times, so he was Jim Turner Senior and I was Jim Turner Junior!! I graduated in 1984 and, for me, they were very happy times and Jim was a large part of that - always a gentleman and always ready to offer advice, having already been out there and done it. He was a real inspiration. I also live in Truro but sadly didn't meet up with Jim too often, nearly always being abroad on some remote gold mine (thanks Jim!), but we did meet a few years ago, when my parents came down from Torquay, and he was doing volunteer work to do with researching family history. He was obviously very passionate about that as well, and we all had a good chat! RIP. Jim Turner.

  2. I came across Jim in the early 70s when I was the Principal at the CSM and consulting for Wheal Jane. He immediately appeared to me to be an obvious candidate for the post then occupied by Frank Bice-Michel (the Vice-principal and head of mineral processing at CSM) who was intending to retire in the immediate future.

    Jim and I struck up a rapport partly based on his love of sailing which I was also keen to do and he persuaded me to join Restronguet Sailing Club with the rest of my family and where over many years we enjoyed racing Flying Fifteens in Carrick Roads until later on, in 1983, I moved on to a small "cruiser-race",

    After joining the CSM he found the transition from industry to academia to be quite hard - not at all for the level of work - but for the curious and inefficient ways that management and development of academic curricula differed from the direct line control he was used to.

    In addition to heading up the mineral processing work at the CSM he also accepted the role of managing a consultancy that the CSM had organised through the European Community to aid distance learning in Zimbabwe. Because of the politicking and sheer cussedness of folk in both Brussels and Harare this cost the CSM dear both in cash terms and Jim's health but, fortunately he was able to bounce back from this setback to resume leadership at the CSM and become a Vice Principal (duties shared with Keith Atkinson) when Roger Parker was seconded to the CSM Geothermal Project.

    Before moving to Wheal Jane Jim had worked at mines in Ireland including ( if I remember correctly) a stint at Avoca. He had also worked overseas and had spent some very early years in India. The latter I recall had inculcated a habit of being able to make an excellent cup of tea.

    Peter Hackett, Camborne, Cornwall

  3. Jim's funeral will take place on Friday 28th March at 2.30pm at Penmount Crematorium in Truro followed by a celebration of his life at the Alverton Hotel in Truro. It would be great if friends, colleagues and ex students could join us.
    Alison Turner (Jim's daughter)

  4. Very sad news indeed, as Barry has already said Jim was an absolute gentleman with a great sense of humour. He was a great lecturer, with a wealth of practical knowledge, a great mentor, and a good friend who I will sadly miss. I remember Jim's love of sailing, having the pleasure of racing with him one day many years ago, I don't remember how we did but we certainly had fun.

    Jim always spoke fondly of his time at CSM as a student with many amusing tales, particularly in his holidays... he was dedicated to the School and everything that it stood for and even in retirement gave his time to the Camborne School of Mines Association and helped us through some tough times with his encouragement and words of wisdom.

    We did raise a glass to Jim at the CSM Annual Dinner on Saturday night along with Gavin Wonnacott.

    Nick Wilshaw (ACSM 1980)

  5. I'm sorry to hear this news and pass on condolence to his family. Jim and my father were friends when both where at CSM in the early '50s. When I came to CSM in '76 was made welcomed by him.
    As mentioned a true gentleman and thankful I knew him.
    Kevin Martin


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