William Halford

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For other people named William Halford, see William Halford (disambiguation).
William Halford
William Halford.jpg
Coxswain William Halford, circa 1870
Born (1841-08-18)August 18, 1841
Died February 7, 1919(1919-02-07) (aged 77)
Oakland, California
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Navy
Years of service 1869 – 1910
1917 – 1919
Rank Lieutenant
Unit USS Saginaw
Awards Medal of Honor

William Halford (August 18, 1841 – February 7, 1919) was a sailor, and later an officer, in the United States Navy. He also received the Medal of Honor.


Born in England, Halford enlisted in the United States Navy in 1869. He was serving on board USS Saginaw, when she ran aground near Midway 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 Lieutenant John G. Talbot. After great suffering, and 31 days at sea, the party reached Kauai Island 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. Halford received the Medal of Honor for his bravery and served until 1910, when he retired.[1]

Promoted to Lieutenant on the retired list, he returned to the Navy in 1917.[1]

He died on February 7, 1919 at Oakland, Calif.[1]


Medal of Honor citation[edit]

Rank and organization: Coxswain, U.S. Navy. Born: 18 August 1841, Gloucester, England. Accredited to: California. G.O. No.: 169, 8 February 1872.


William Halford was buried on Mare Island, California.


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.[2]

See also[edit]