b. 17/07/1910 Andover, Hampshire. d. 07/06/1944 Ningthoukong, India.
Hanson Victor Turner (1910-1944) was born on the 17th July 1910 in Andover, Hampshire, the second eldest of nine children of James Herbert Turner and Alice (nee Crowther). His father hailed from Cambridge, and his mother was from Halifax, West Yorkshire. Within a year of Hanson’s birth, the family had moved north to Halifax, where his seven younger siblings were all born. When Hanson originally enlisted in the Army it was with his local Regiment, the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment.
In 1935, Hanson married Edith Rothery, a local girl from Halifax, and on the outbreak of World War II, he was fully mobilised for action. By the time of his VC action in the jungles of Burma in the summer of 1944, he had risen to the rank of Acting Sergeant, and was now serving with The West Yorkshire Regiment.
In Burma, at Ningthoukong on the night of 6th–7th June, 1944, an attack was made by Japanese with medium and light machine guns. The attack largely fell on the position held by a platoon of which Serjeant Turner was one of the Section Commanders. The enemy were able to use grenades with deadly effect. Three machine-guns in the platoon were destroyed and the platoon was forced to give ground. Serjeant Turner with coolness and fine leadership reorganised his party and with a doggedness and spirit of endurance of the highest order repelled all attacks. The position was held throughout the night. When it was clear that the Japanese were attempting to outflank the position, Serjeant Turner, armed with grenades, boldly and fearlessly attacked them single handed. He went back five times for more grenades; and on the sixth occasion, still singlehanded, he was killed while throwing a grenade among the enemy.
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 plan from succeeding. The number of enemy found dead the next morning was ample evidence of the effect his grenade throwing had had.
Hanson’s body was recovered and he was later buried in the Imphal War Cemetery, Imphal, India. He was gazetted for the Victoria Cross on 17th August 1944, and the medal was presented to his widow by King George VI. When his medal was put up for sale, at auction, it was purchased by the Halifax Town Council, as he was a local, Halifax, resident. It is displayed in The Duke of Wellington’s Regiment Regimental Museum in Bankfield Museum, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England. A replica of his VC is also displayed at the Army Museum in York.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: DUKE OF WELLINGTON RGT MUSEUM, HALIFAX, WEST YORKSHIRE..
BURIAL PLACE: IMPHAL WAR CEMETERY, IMPHAL, INDIA.
PLOT VI, ROW B, GRAVE 7.
Kevin Brazier – Cemetery Map.
Thomas Stewart – Image of the medal group at Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum, Halifax.