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
William at about age 3
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.
Indiviudal and group photos
Completion of Airplane Mechanics Course – January 2nd, 1943
Tyndall Field Florida – 1943 (aged 22)
Completion of Technical Training course on the B-25 – February 9th, 1943
Graduation of Aerial Gunnery School – March 29th, 1943
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Anstey Church and Moat (location of crash)
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.
Nuthampstaed Memorial– Erected in 1982
Britain's Homage Letter and Book Cover
Air Medal w/2 Oak Leaf Clusters (location unknown)
Purple Heart – Awarded posthumously (location unknown)
Pacific Campaign Medal
American Campaign Medal
American Defense Medal
WWII Victory Medal
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….