Ralph Talbot was born on 6 January 1897 in South Weymouth, Massaschusetts. He attended Yale University and the Dupont Aviation School (located at Wilmington, Delaware) before joining the U.S. Navy in November 1917. After ground school training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts and flight training at Key West, Florida, he was commissioned as a Navy Ensign in April 1918. A month later, he was transferred to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Flying Corps as a Second Lieutenant. Talbot served with Squadron C, First Marine Corps Aviation Force in France during the summer and early autumn of 1918. On 8 October, while on an air raid with his observer, Gunnery Sergeant Robert G. Robinson, USMC, they shot down one of the nine enemy scouts that attacked their bombing group. On 14 October 1918 over Pittham, Belgium, their plane, along with another, became separated from their formation and were attacked by 12 enemy scouts. During the ensuing fight, Robinson was severely injured by enemy fire and collapsed. With his observer unconscious and his motor failing, Talbot shot down another enemy plane. He then flew to the nearest hospital to leave Robinson for treatment. Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot was killed in a test flight on 25 October. For his "exceptionally meritorious service and extraordinary heroism" in the aerial battles of 8 and 14 October 1918, he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Robert Talbot was initially interred in France, but his remains were later brought home and are now buried in Mount Wollaston Cemetery, Quincy, Massachusetts.
USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390), 1937-1948, was named in honor of Second Lieutenant Talbot.
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Photo #: NH 105337
Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot, USMC Reserve Flying Corps
Halftone reproduction of a photograph, copied from the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 126.
Ralph Talbot was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his "exceptionally meritorious service and extraodinary heroism" during air raids over France and Pittham, Belgium, October 1918.
U.S. Naval Historical Center Photograph.
Online Image: 42KB; 590 x 765 pixels
Photo #: 19-N-17912
USS Ralph Talbot (DD-390)
Plaque mounted aboard the ship in honor of Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot, USMC Reserve Flying Corps.
Presented by the People of Weymouth, Massachusetts on 31 October 1936, it was photographed at about that time by the Boston Navy Yard, Charlestown, Massachusetts.
Photograph from the Bureau of Ships Collection in the U.S. National Archives.
Online Image: 71KB; 455 x 765 pixels
Reproductions of this image may also be available through the National Archives photographic reproduction system.
Medal of Honor citation of Second Lieutenant Ralph Talbot, USMCRFC (as printed in the official publication "Medal of Honor, 1861-1949, The Navy", page 126):
Page made 3 December 2007
Minor text correction 29 January 2008