Sergeant Hanson Turner VC, West Yorkshire Regiment

Hanson Victor Turner was born at Andover on 17 July 1910, son of Private James Herbert Turner, Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (West Riding), and his wife Alice (née Crowther).  A bus conductor before the war, he married Edith Rothery in 1935 in Halifax, Yorkshire.  They lived at 18 Woodhall Crescent, Halifax and had one child, Jean, who was born on 25 November 1938.

On 1 May 1944, he wrote to his sister, Emily: ‘Many thanks for the Airgraph I recieved [sic] two days ago.  I am pleased to hear that Eden, Ma, yourself and all the family are well.  I too am well in spite of the conditions that we are in at the moment – in a hole about 5ft deep and ready for the Jap day or night.  I had hoped to hear from Bert but nothing has come through yet.  I am still wanting Cigs badly – could you get together and send me a hundred or so.  I believe the expence [sic] is not great.  That’s all there is to keep one going out here.  Give my love [to] Mother and the rest and tell her to keep her chin up it won’t be long now before the Celebration.  And what a day that will be.  Things are still hectic out here but on the whole our lads are making Jap pay dearly for everything.  I hope Bill is OK and tell him I would like to establish communications with him.  Although writing out here is bound to be in spasms.  Talk about Rain in Halifax this out here makes it look like a shower.’  He was serving with C Company, 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment.


Supplement to The London Gazette of Tuesday, the 15th of August, 1945
The War Office, 17th August, 1945

The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the posthumous award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:

No. 4624899 Corporal (acting Sergeant) Hanson Victor Turner, The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Own) (Halifax).

In Burma, at Ningthoukong soon after midnight on the night of 6th-7th June, 1944, an attack was made by a strong force of Japanese with medium and light machine-guns. In the first instance the attack largely fell on the S.W. corner of the position which was held by a weak platoon of about 20 men of which Sergeant Turner was one of the Section Commanders.  By creeping up under cover of a nullah the enemy were able to use grenades with deadly effect against this portion of the perimeter.  Three out of the four light machine-guns in the platoon were destroyed and the platoon was forced to give ground.  Sergeant Turner with coolness and fine leadership at once reorganised his party and withdrew 40 yards.  The enemy made determined and repeated attempts to dislodge them and concentrated all fire they could produce in an effort to reduce the position and so extend the penetration.  Sustained fire was kept up on Sergeant Turner and his dwindling party by the enemy for a period of two hours.  The enemy, however, achieved no further success in this sector.  Sergeant Turner with a doggedness and spirit of endurance of the highest order repelled all their attacks, and it was due entirely to his leadership that the position was ultimately held throughout the night.

When it was clear that the enemy were attempting to outflank the position, Sergeant Turner determined to take the initiative in driving the enemy off and killing them.  The men left under his command were the minimum essential to maintain the position he had built up with such effect.  No party for a counter-attack could therefore be mustered and speed was essential if the enemy were to be frustrated. He at once, boldly and fearlessly went forward from his position alone armed with all the hand grenades he could carry, and went into the attack against the enemy single handed.  He used his weapons with devastating effect and when his supply was exhausted he went back for more and returned to the offensive again.  During all this time the enemy were keeping up intense small arms and grenade fire.

Sergeant Turner in all made five journeys to obtain further supplies of grenades and it was on the sixth occasion still single handed. while throwing a grenade among a party of the enemy, he was killed.

His conduct on that night will ever be remembered by the Regiment.  His superb leadership and undaunted will to win in the early stages of the attack was undoubtedly instrumental in preventing the enemy plant from succeeding.  The number of enemy found dead the next morning was ample evidence of the deadly effect his grenade throwing had had.  He displayed outstanding valour and had not the slightest thought of his own safety.  He died on the battlefield in a spirit of supreme self-sacrifice.


Hanson Turner is buried in Imphal War Cemetery.  On 13 November 1945 in Halifax, his widow, Edith, married Charles Ball and they had three sons: Trevor, Colin and Stephen.