Lieutenant, United States Navy
earned the Medal while serving as a Seaman, United
States Navy, in China on June 13-20, 21, 22, 1900 (Boxer Rebellion). He
was born in London, England May 23, 1877 and entered the Naval Service
He was the last Boxer Rebellion Medal of Honor recipient to die (October 24, 1978) and he was buried with full military honors in Section 11 of Arlington National Cemetery.
His nephew, Randall T.
Boyd, Jr., Commander, United States Navy, is also buried in Arlington
My grandfather, Lieutenant William Seach, was a flesh-and-blood hero to all of us grandchildren growing up. An emigrant from England with a third-grade education, he gained his citizenship by enlisting in the U.S. Navy. One of his favorite stories was of serving under John Paul Jones, a feat he accomplished by jumping beneath the Admiral's coffin as it was lowered to the deck of the U.S. Navy vessel on which young Seaman Seach served.
The picture of John Paul Jones on the cover of your July/August 1997 issue caught my eye, and I nearly shouted out loud in the library when I spotted mygrandfather marching briskly along and seeming to look directly into the camera in the photograph on page 33. He is walking just behind the right rear wheel of the wagon.
My grandfather was a small man in stature but a giant in courage. He went up through the ranks, winning the Congressional Medal of Honor in the BoxerRebellion's Peking Relief Expedition in 1900, and retired for medical reasons, a full lieutenant, after surviving the torpedoing of the troopship USS President Lincoln in World War I.
Theodore Roosevelt said to him in his White House office, "I would rather have won a Congressional Medal of Honor than be President!" But though he met many presidents, my grandfather's greatest honor was the elementary school named after him in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the William Seach School.
Boppie, the name all of us grandchildren called him, now rests in Arlington Cemetery. He died at 101 years of age, the oldest Medal of Honor winner alive, still sharp as a tack mentally when his body gave up the struggle in 1978.
I still miss him. Thank you for one more glimpse.
Rank and organization: Ordinary Seaman, U.S. Navy. Place and date: China 13, 20, 21, and 22 June 1900. Entered service at: Massachusetts. Born: 23 May 1877, London, England. G.O. No.: 55, 19 July 1901.
In action with the relief expedition of the Allied forces in China during the battles of 13, 20, 21 and 22 June 1900. June 13: Seach and 6 others were cited for their courage in repulsing an attack by 300 Chinese Imperialist soldiers and Boxer militants with a bayonet charge, thus thwarting a planned massive attack on the entire force. June 20: During a day-long battle, Seach ran across an open clearing, gained cover, and cleaned out nests of Chinese snipers. June 21: During a surprise sabre attack by Chinese cavalrymen, Seach was cited for defending gun emplacements. June 22: Seach and others breached the wall of a Chinese fort, fought their way to the enemy's guns, and turned the cannon upon the defenders of the fort. Throughout this period and in the presence of the enemy, Seach distinguished himself by meritorious conduct.
WILLIAM SEACH, 101, the nation's oldest living Medal of Honor receipient of the Medal of Honor, died October 24, 1978 of pneunomia in Brockton, Massachusetts. Mr. Seach had received the medal as a Navy Seaman for personal bravery while under enemy fire during the 1900 Boxer Rebellion in China.
Photo courtesy of Raymond L. Collins
Updated: 1 October 2000 Updated: 14 October 2001 Updated: 18 December 2001 Updated: 28 September 2003 Updated: 3 March 2006
Updated: 9 April 2006 Updated: 23 September 2007