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John Henry Turpin

Deceased Person

John Henry Turpin John Henry "Dick" Turpin (20 August 1876 – 10 March 1962) was a sailor in the United States Navy in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Turpin was one of the first African American Chief Petty Officers in the U.S. Navy. He is also notable for surviving the catastrophic explosions of two U.S. Navy ships: USS Maine in 1898, and USS Bennington in 1905. Turpin was born on 20 August 1876 and enlisted in the U.S. Navy in New York City on 4 November 1896. He was a Mess Attendant on Maine when it exploded in Havana under mysterious circumstances on the night of 15 February 1898. Turpin was in the pantry of the wardroom when the explosion occurred, and felt the ship "heave and lift" before all went dark. He worked his way aft and climbed out of the wardroom on the captain's ladder and up onto the deck. He dove overboard and was rescued by a motor launch. Turpin was one of 90 out of the 350 officers and men aboard Maine that night to survive the explosion. According to an obituary that appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Turpin (whose next ship assignment was not reported) saw action in China during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion. By mid-1905, Turpin had been assigned to the gunboat Bennington.  ( Wikipedia article )

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Personal facts

Date of birth
1876-08-20

Death

Date of death
1962-03-10
Place of death
Bremerton

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