John Henry Turpin, why was he never awarded the Medal of Honor? On July 21, 1905 the Bennington blew up in the San Diego Harbor and John Henry Turpin was reported in saving over a dozen lives. There were 11 of his shipmates that received Medal of Honors that day for their acts of bravery. John Henry Turpin was the only one that was posted in every newspaper across the Nation that he was the Hero of the Day. So why did he not receive the Medal of Honor like his shipmates who did not do as much as he did? In 1905 he was known as Big Bill and later he started calling himself "Dick".
1. San Diego Evening Tribune, July 21, 1905 "John Henry Turpin Hero of the Day"
2. News Release from the Navy sent to every major newspaper throughout the Country - John Henry Turpin, Hero saving lives!
3. News Article quoting one of his shipmates (Whitey) urging him to go back for more shipmates to pay him no mind as there were others to save - Bill left - and an hour later this sailor passed away.
4. Article in Newspaper in 1950, quoting another witness of the day, talking with Turpin at a celebration. He also recounted Turpin's actions of that day - just as if it were yesterday - stating the he had witnessed him saving at least 8 live and stopped to catch his breath and then had to go back for more. He could still hear the cries of his shipmates that were still in need of his help.
This is just a partial look at John Henry Turpin. There are more stories!
Why? I am fighting for this award for him - to present it posthumously - he deserves it!
Hello Ms. Winchester,
Thank for sharing your story about John Henry Turpin. Here is a link to NARA’s information page about war medals. There is a space below the Navy section that asks you to mail the Navy a letter of appeal. I think this is where you might start if you would like to see him receive an award.
I hope this information is helpful!