b. 19/02/1847 Niderbergdorf, Bohemia (now Czech Republic). d. 13/12/1923 Los Angeles, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 11/06/1871 Korean Forts, Korea.
William F. Lukes enlisted in the U.S. Navy from Tianjin, China and served as a Landsman on board USS Colorado in Company D as part of the Korean Expedition. On June 11, 1871, during the capture of the Han River forts on Ganghwa Island, the leader of the American attack, Lieutenant Hugh McKee, was mortally wounded. Landsman Lukes and two other sailors, Seth Allen and Thomas Murphy, attempted to rescue Lt. McKee but encountered heavy resistance. In the course of the ensuing hand-to-hand fight, Allen and Murphy were killed. Lukes suffered a severe cut to the head but continued to fight; he survived the engagement. When reinforcements arrived, they found Lukes unconscious, with 18 bayonet wounds, lying over the body of Lieutenant McKee. Lukes remained unconscious aboard the Colorado for 39 days. For his actions on that occasion, Lukes was specially mentioned by his commanding officer for conspicuous “coolness and bravery during the desperate fight” and awarded the Medal of Honor.
Before leaving the Navy, William Lukes obtained the rank of Seaman. Lukes suffered convulsions due to brain injury for the rest of his life. He died at the age of 76 and is buried in Los Angeles National Cemetery, Los Angeles, California.
Served with Company D during the capture of the Korean forts, 11 June 1871. Fighting the enemy inside the fort, Lukes received a severe cut over the head.
BURIAL LOCATION: LOS ANGELES NATIONAL CEMETERY, LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA.
SECTION 7, ROW F, GRAVE 19.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.