Turner, William B., 1LT

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
First Lieutenant
Last Service Branch
Primary Unit
1917-1918, 1st Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment
Service Years
1915 - 1918


First Lieutenant

Two Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
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Casualty Info
Home Town
Last Address
Not Specified

Casualty Date
Sep 27, 1918
Hostile, Died of Wounds
Gun, Small Arms Fire
World War I
Location of Interment
American Cemetery - Somme, France
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

 Official Badges 

Infantry Shoulder Cord Wound Chevron (1917-1932)

 Unofficial Badges 

 Military Association Memberships
World War I Fallen
  1918, World War I Fallen [Verified]

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

 Unit Assignments
12th Infantry Regiment /1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment1st Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment
  1915-1917, 12th Infantry Regiment /1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment
  1917-1918, 1st Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1914-1918 World War I
 Colleges Attended 
Williams College
  1910-1914, Williams College
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Note: Please see his biography in the Documents section for further details of his life and legacy.

William Bradford Turner (1892 – September 27, 1918) was a United States Army officer who received the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in World War I.

Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Turner lived in Garden City, New York, and attended St. Paul's School there for one year. He was a graduate of Williams College, class of 1914.

By September 27, 1918, he was serving in France as a first lieutenant with the 105th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division. During an attack on that night, near Ronssoy, he and a small group of others became separated from the rest of their company. Turner led the group forward despite intense artillery and machine gun fire, several times personally attacking machine gun positions which were firing on his men. Although wounded three times, he continued to lead the group forward, capturing and clearing three lines of trenches. After reaching their objective, a fourth line of trenches, Turner was killed while defending the position from a German counter-attack. For these actions, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor the next year, in 1919.

Aged 25 or 26 at his death, Turner was buried in France at the Somme American Cemetery.

Medal of Honor

Awarded for actions during World War I.

For extraordinary heroism on 27 September 1918, while serving with Company M, 105th Infantry, 27th Division, in action at Ronssoy, France. Lieutenant Turner led a small group of men to the attack, under terrific artillery and machinegun fire, after they had become separated from the rest of the company in the darkness.

Single-handed he rushed an enemy machinegun which had suddenly opened fire on his group and killed the crew with his pistol. He then pressed forward to another machinegun post 25 yards away and had killed one gunner himself by the time the remainder of his detachment arrived and put the gun out of action. With the utmost bravery he continued to lead his men over three lines of hostile trenches, cleaning up each one as they advanced, regardless of the fact that he had been wounded three times, and killed several of the enemy in hand-to-hand encounters.

After his pistol ammunition was exhausted, this gallant officer seized the rifle of a dead soldier, bayoneted several members of a machinegun crew, and shot the other. Upon reaching the fourth-line trench, which was his objective, First Lieutenant Turner captured it with the nine men remaining in his group and resisted a hostile counterattack until he was finally surrounded and killed.  

Service:  Army

Rank:  First Lieutenant

War Department, General Orders No. 81 (June 26, 1919)

"The ceremony of presentation of the medal took place at Mrs. Turner's [his mother] home, 25 Hinkley Street, Dorchester, on May 24, 1919, being in private because of the state of her health and her desire to ovoid ostentation.  Colonel Albert S. Williams, Chief of Staff of the Department of the Northeast, delivered the medal."  From the book by his brother (reference below).




Turner, Charles R.; William Bradford Turner; Privately Printed by Charles R. Turner; The Country Life Press, Garden City, New York, 1920; P. 42. 
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