26 December 2010

Medal of Honor: W. Halford


Coxswain, US Navy; USS Saginaw

Born: 18 August 1841, Gloucester, England
Died: 7 February 1919, Oakland, California

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.

Notes: USS Halford (DD 480) was named in his honour.

USS Saginaw was a sidewheel steamer, first commissioned in 1859. On 29 October 1870 the ship
ran aground on an outlying reef at Kure Atoll. Saginaw's executive officer, Lieutenant John G Talbot, set out for Honolulu in the ship's gig on 18 November with Halford and three other men. As they neared the coast of Kauai, 31 days and some 1500 mi later, their boat was upset by breakers. Talbot and two others drowned; Halford pulled the other man ashore, but he died on the beach. Halford departed Kauai for Honolulu the next day, and the steamer Kilauea was dispatched on 26 December, reaching Kure on 3 January 1871. The remaining Saginaw crew members were brought safely to Honolulu 11 days later.

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