A Halifax war hero is remembered 75 years on from Second World War battle

Hanson Turner
Hanson Turner

A Halifax soldier is one many stories that are being used in the  Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) “Legacy of Liberation Campaign”.

The project explores the battles which turned the tide of the Second World War and led to the liberation of Europe and the Far East.

The CWGC is remembering those who fell in these decisive battles and is highlighting the remarkable human stories of those who fought and died.

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The stories have been compiled by the CWCG’s team of historians and includes the account of Sergeant Hanson Turner a Second World War sergeant who grew up in Halifax.

Born on 17 July 1910 in Hampshire, Hanson’s family soon moved to Halifax, where his father got a job as a conductor. Hanson attended St. Augustine’s School and was a member of the Rhodes Street Boys’ Brigade.

After leaving school Hanson got a job on the buses like his father. In 1935, Hanson married Edith Rothery, from Halifax and the couple had a child together, Jean, born in 1938. Hanson joined the army in 1940 with the Duke of Wellington and in 1943 was posted out to India.

In April 1944, Hanson now a sergeant, was transferred to the 1st Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment and was serving with them during the Battle of Imphal.

On the night of 6/7 June 1944, Hanson led the defence of an important position against a determined Japanese night attack. Fighting alone with grenades, he returned for more ammunition five times.

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He was killed at the age of 33 while charging a group of Japanese soldiers. For his courage he was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross.

Hanson is buried in Imphal War Cemetery, his personal inscription reads

On Friday, Hanson will be one of 8,000 Commonwealth Service personnel remembered in a special ceremony marking 75 years since the Battles of Imphal and Kohima.

Max Dutton, Assistant Historian at CWGC, said: “Behind every one of our headstones or names a memorial to the missing, is a human story just waiting to be told. Our Legacy of Liberation Campaign will remind people of the human cost of the Second World War, the sheer diversity of those who took part and the global nature of that sacrifice and remembrance today.

"We hope Hanson’s story will inspire people to find out more about him and his comrades commemorated by the CWGC and visit their graves and memorials. Anyone interested in learning more can read the personal stories of the men involved on CWGC’s website or listen to our Legacy of Liberation podcast.”

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