Kossuth County

Pvt. William G. Turner






In the thick of the battle at Pearl Harbor was William Turner, son of Mrs. Jessie Turner. Harold Felter, formerly of Irvington, is in the air corps at a field bombed there. Robert J. Ditsworth is on the Portland, a ship stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Thomas Wagner, St. Joe, has been stationed on the West Virginia battleship reported sunk in the first attack at Pearl Harbor. On the California there is Ferdinand Koppen and Arnold Becker, both of Lakota, and this ship was also recently stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Edward Klein, St. Joe, is reported a member of the crew of the Oklahoma battleship reported set afire by Japanese bombs and possibly lost.

Source: Kossuth County Advance, December 9, 1941


William Turner Victim of Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7

ALGONA – William Turner, 22, Algona youth in the United States marine corps, was killed in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, his mother was informed by the navy department Thursday night. The navy department in its communication said Turner had been killed in action. He is the first Kossuth county casualty of World war II.

Turner attended schools here and was graduated from the Algona high school. He enlisted in the navy Jan. 9, 1941, and had been in Hawaii since July.

Surviving are his mother, Mrs. Jessie Turner, two brothers, Robert and Lee, and a sister, Ruth, all of Algona.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Friday, December 26, 1941

Memorial Is Held for Algona Marine

ALGONA – The First Presbyterian church was packed to capacity Sunday afternoon when a memorial service was held in honor of William George Turner, 22, Algona’s first World War II casualty who lost his life in the Dec. 7 Pearl Harbor attack. Members of the Hagg Post No. 90 and the Wa-Tan-Ye club attended the services in a body.

The Rev. C. C. Richardson, pastor, conducted the services and J. D. Lowe, member of the American Legion, gave a talk in Turner’s memory. The organist, Mrs. Fred Geigel, played a quarter hour prelude.

Turner, the oldest son of Mr. and Mrs. H. L. Turner, was born Feb. 5, 1919, at Algona. He was a member of the First Presbyterian church, sang in the choir and taught a Sunday school class besides taking an active part in the young people’s affairs of the church. He enlisted with the marine corps Jan. 9, 1941, and had been in Hawaii since July 22 of last year.

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Monday, January 12, 1942

Algona Boy Recommended for Navy Cross

ALGONA – In a recent letter received by the Turner family here from the commander of the marine corps, it was revealed that William G.  Turner from Algona, who lost his life in the Pearl Harbor attack Dec. 7, has been recommended for the award of the Navy Cross, highest navy award for bravery under fire. More details were also disclosed about Turner’s death and how bravery was shown.

Private Turner was Algona’s first World war II casualty. The letter was addressed to his sister, Ruth, and disclosed that William had been shot through the abdomen Dec. 7 and that he died from the effect of the wound five days later.

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At the first shots of the Japanese planes Private Turner and a master technical sergeant [Emil S. Peters] ran to an airplane and succeeded in putting into operation a free gun in the rear of the cockpit. The sergeant was doing the shooting and William was handling the ammunition supply belts.

“It is believed that the fire from the weapon manned by the Sergeant and Turner was at least contributory to, if not wholly, responsible for the shooting down of one and possibly two enemy planes.” The position of their plane was the center of attack by the enemy planes, it said.

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The letter continued to be the effect that William had been cared for in a field hospital until the last attack when he was then removed to another hospital abut a mile and a half from the flying field. The group medical officer informed the commander that an operation on Turner would be necessary. Quoted from the letter were the words, “Please be assured that your brother received the best of medical skill, but the best was not enough and that he died from the effects of the wound at 5:40 a.m. Dec. 12, 1941.”

Private Turner was conscious after he was wounded and knew that the United States had declared war the next day upon the enemy. The letter concluded with: “It is needless to say that your great loss was our great loss, and we, of this group, are all very proud to have known William as the fine upstanding American boy that he was.”

Source: The Globe Gazette, Mason City, Iowa, Saturday, February 21, 1942

Note: Another website regarding William G. Turner --