Victoria_Cross_of_canada

THE

 

TO THE VICTORIA & GEORGE CROSS

COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

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b. 18/08/1841 Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England.  d. 07/02/1919 Oakland, California.

 

DATE OF MOH ACTION: 10/1870 Sandwich Islands.

 

Born in Gloucestershire, England, Halford enlisted in the United States Navy in 1869. He was serving on board USS Saginaw, when she ran aground near Kure Atoll on October 29, 1870. Halford was one of four sailors who volunteered to sail the ship's boat 1,500 miles to Honolulu for help, along with the ship's executive officer, Lieutenant John G. Talbot. After great suffering, and 31 days at sea, the party reached the island of Kauai on December 19, 1870. In attempting to land through the heavy surf, all but Halford were drowned, but he managed to reach shore and bring help to his shipmates. He received the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

 

Halford was promoted to the warrant officer rank of gunner on April 14, 1871, and to chief gunner on March 3, 1899. He served in the Navy until 18 August 1903 when, after reaching mandatory retirement age, he retired after 34 years of active service.

 

When the United States entered the First World War, the Navy had a dire need for experienced officers like Halford. Military law at the time provided for retired officers, if placed on active duty during time of war, to be returned at the rank they would have achieved had they remained on active duty. Halford was recalled up to duty and promoted to lieutenant on July 1, 1918 and continued to serve until he died on February 7, 1919 at Oakland, California.

 

MOH CITATION:

 

Halford was sole survivor of the boat's crew sent to the Sandwich Islands for assistance after the wreck of the Saginaw, October 1870. Promoted to acting gunner.

 

BURIAL LOCATION: MARE ISLAND CEMETERY, VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA.

Section C, Row 7, Plot 371

William Halford

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