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The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

Article about: Hi All, I’d like to tell you the story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull of the United States 8th Army Air Force. William was my grandfather’s half brother and was KIA during his service in WWII.

  1. #1
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    Default The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    Hi All,
    I’d like to tell you the story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull of the United States 8th Army Air Force. William was my grandfather’s half brother and was KIA during his service in WWII. My grandfather was very proud of his brother and was very distraught about his death. In 2004, he had the opportunity to visit William’s grave in Cambridge, England. I feel that despite all of the years that had passed since William’s death, my grandfather never had any closure. However visiting William’s grave I think helped to bring him that closure

    Unfortunately, my grandfather passed this September at the age of 76. He was a great man and left a legacy behind him which included 5 children, 16 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.

    While clearing out some of my Grandfathers personal items, I came across his file on William Scott Tull; including some of his photos and medals he was awarded.

    In any case, here is the timeline of one soldier…..


    Born – January 1921

    Home in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, PA

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    William at about age 3

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    Enlisted – July 31st, 1942 (aged 21)

    Enlisted in Philadelphia, PA for the duration of the war plus 6 months

    Rank - Private (Serial #33325306)


    United States Army Air Force Training– November 1942 (aged 21)

    Judging by the first photo, which I assume was taken upon his entry into the Air Force, William entered shortly before November.

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    Indiviudal and group photos

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    Completion of Airplane Mechanics Course – January 2nd, 1943

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    Tyndall Field Florida – 1943 (aged 22)

    Completion of Technical Training course on the B-25 – February 9th, 1943

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    Graduation of Aerial Gunnery School – March 29th, 1943

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    Promotion to T/Sgt – 1943 (aged 22)

    At some point after his completion of Gunnery School, but prior to his marriage, William was promoted to the rank of T/Sgt. As of now I do not have an exact date for when this occured.


    Married – Summer 1943 (aged 22)

    Married Alice Elizabeth Johnson (B. 1920) of Springfield, MA in Bethesda Swedish Church in Springfield, MA.

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    Service – 1943 (aged 22)

    William at one point was stationed at Lockbourne Army Air Base in Columbus, OH. My assumption is this was prior to leaving for the Pacific or Europe.

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    As for his service during the war, I do know that he was stationed in Nuthampstead, England as of August 1st, 1944 (date of photo below) and was there for the remainder of his service. He was in the 398th Bombardment Group, 603rd Squadron. I have no information on his service prior to this date, but assume he at some point served in the Pacific Theatre.

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    Died – October 15th, 1944 (aged 23)

    On the morning of October 15th, 1944, while leaving on the B-17 (serial #42-97746) that was to fly lead in a bombing mission over Cologne, Germany, at approximately 0645 hours, the plane crashed on take-off into the moat of Anstey Church in Anstey, Hertfordshire, England. William was the top turret gunner aboard the B-17 during this mission.

    This is the Flight crew list for that day:

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    Below is a first hand account of that day courtesy of 398th Bomb Group Web Site

    “October 15th 2008, a grey damp October day. I wanted to be on my own this day, I wanted to remember that October 15th day in 1944 when the B-17G piloted by William L. Meyran and Charles Khourie, crashed shortly after taking off from runway 23 at Nuthampstead. It was Bill Meyran's 25th birthday on October 15th 1944. He had inherited a $100,000 bequest from his Grandfather and the first $25,000 was payable on Bill Meyran's 25th birthday. When he was woken up that day he had climbed from his bed and excitedly promised his buddies that there would be one heck of a party that night. Meyran was being assessed as deputy lead pilot, thus his normal Co-pilot, Navigator and Bombardier were stood down that day, it saved their young lives. Just a few hours later and Meyran would lie dead on this ancient castle mound along with nine other young American aircrew.”


    Burial – Date unknown

    William is buried in the Cambridge American Cemetery in Cambridge, England (Plot F, Row 7, Grave 133). It is my understanding that my great grandfather was so upset by William’s death, that he did not want his body to be returned to the states, hence his burial in England.

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    Memorials:

    Anstey Church and Moat (location of crash)

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    Anstey Church Window – Dedicated in 2000

    As a memorial to the 298 men in the 398th who were killed in action, the below stained glass window was created. Within each of the butterflies are the names of those crewmen. William’s name can be found at the top of the left column, in the top right wing of the yellow butterfly.

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    Nuthampstaed Memorial– Erected in 1982

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    Letters/Notices

    FDR Letter

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    JFK Letter

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    Britain's Homage Letter and Book Cover

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    Awards:

    Air Medal w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters (location unknown)


    Purple Heart – Awarded posthumously (location unknown)

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    Pacific Campaign Medal

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    American Campaign Medal

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    American Defense Medal

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    WWII Victory Medal

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    All of the medals I am in possession of were awarded after 1985. I believe either my grandfather sent away for these (although I would assume he would have obtained his Purple Heart and Air Award if this was the case) or they were given to my grandfather when he visited the Cambridge Cemetery on his trip to England.


    Well, that is William’s story as it lies now. I am continuing my research and am in the process of requesting his service record. In addition, the kind folks at www.398th.com are graciously helping me to obtain any additional information they may have.


    Thank you for listening….
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    Last edited by Masonk; 10-22-2010 at 12:02 AM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    Wow Eric, that is quite a story. You know, there might still be veterans alive that knew him. I am sorry for the loss of your grandfather. May him and T/Sgt Willam Scott Tull Rest In Peace.
    Best Regards

    Vegard T.
    -------------------------------
    Looking for militaria from 38. Batterie, Heeres Küsten Artillerie Regiment 977, also from 31, 32 and 36. Batterie.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    Eric what a great honor you did for your great uncle by remembering him nice job. Gary

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    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    Thanks, Vegar. There are in fact veterans of the 398th who are still living. Each year there is a reunion of these Airmen.

    As a matter of fact, according to the fine people at 398th.org, in the crew photo below, the gentlemn standing in the back row on the far left is still living!

    I hope to attend the next reunion so I can have a chance to meet him and see if he remembers William.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    Eric,

    I read your story with great interest because the Navigator on the flight where T/Sgt. William Tull was killed was 1stLt. William J. Vanderlick from Farmington, MN. He was my mother's first husband. His death nearly destroyed her. Bill was a talented professional musician before the war.
    My mother apparently liked Navigators because my father, whom she married in 1949, was a Navigator on B-24's. He flew 35 missions out of North Africa and Italy and, unlike most of his comrades, returned from the war alive. He saw combat in two more wars, Korea and Vietnam, before retiring from the Air Force as a full Colonel. He has three Legions of Merit, the DFC, Silver Star, Bronze Star, six Air Medals, and numerous other personal decorations. He is still alive, just shy of 90 years old, although my mother passed away in 2005.
    My older brother is also a retired AF full Colonel and I am an ex-Navy Lieutenant Commander, so our family is intimately familiar with the sacrifices made by military folks, past and present.

    Many thanks for posting T/Sgt Tull's story.

    Best Regards,
    Greg Geurtz
    Austin, Texas
    May 8, 2011

  6. #6

    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    My uncle, Lt. William Meyron (and my name sake) is in the crew picture, standing second from the left.
    The story that I was told was that he had completed his missions but was flying an 'extra' one. Also, he was flying a different aircraft than that he usually flew (The Stormy Weather). Other stories I've read are that the Aircraft Commander on the flight, Lt. Khouri had chosen to fly in stead of the regular co-pilot for unknown reasons, perhaps for proficiency. Lt. Meyron was already a 'Pilot' (Aircraft Commander) prior to that flight.

    His step father, my Grandfather, flew in both World Wars retiring as a full Colonel and went on to fly for the airlines in the early years.

    My father held his step brother in very high regard and always 'misted up' when speaking of him.

    God Bless those who go in harms way to keep us free. We will always treasure and respect their sacrifice.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    Best regards,

    Paul 'William' Nelson
    San Clemente, CA


    Captain
    American Airlines

  7. #7

    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    An excellent tribute to all these brave men. I don't how it missed this first time around? This is the great thing about the forum, bringing together all their stories to be preserved.

    Thanks to all for the input.

    Cheers, Ade.

  8. #8

    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    A moving lesson of history,as a wonderful tribute to your family.Many thanks,and in my French words,it really means something.These men falled for us!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    Paul and Greg,
    Thank you for sharing your personal stories of the history of this crew and the men in it. As Ade says, this forum and others like it are a great place to bring history together in one place for future generations to see. While history books can paint the big picture, first or second hand accounts help others realize how these men and women have impacted so many.


    I of course have been continuing my research on William, and a few months ago received some additional information from NARA, however due to the fire in 1973 in the National Archives, most of the information on William's service was lost. The only additional information I was able to obtain was a copy of the original document pertaining to his death and next of kin.

    General research has helped me however to correct some inaccuracies that I had provided in my original post.

    First, looking at the photo of William with his flight crew in Nuthampstead, clearly his rank is that of S/Sgt. With that said, he obtained the rank of T/Sgt around the time of or shortly after this photo was taken; not in 1943 as I previously stated.

    Secondly, as for the medal grouping pictured above, I am certain they did not belong to William, but rather his brother, Earnest Bertram Tull (pictured in the newspaper article announcing William's marriage). Earnest was in the Navy and with the release of WWII Naval muster rolls on Ancestry, I was able to confirm that Earnest served in the Pacific. This of course explains the Pacific Campaign medal.

    I assume that Earnest enlisted prior to 1941 (and seeing how William enlisted in 1942); this would then explain the American Defense medal and subsequently the American Campaign medal.

    Earnest unfortunately passed away in 2006, and while I was able to meet him once, I was only around 10 at the time and military history wasn't something that interested me as it does now. I would have like to of met with him again and hear stories of his service as well as William's. Unfortunately, I won't get that chance, but can try to piece together as much information as I can with additional research, online resources and from input from individuals such as those on these forums.
    Last edited by Masonk; 06-08-2011 at 04:51 AM.

  10. #10

    Default Re: The Story of T/Sgt William Scott Tull - 8th Army Air Force

    Hi

    My Nan Lilian Chappell used to be a plane cleaner at Nuthampstead when she used to live in Anstey and I remember her telling me about the plane that crashed near the church. Amazing story! I believe nuthampstead is where the Memphis Belle came home as she used to relive that too

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