Remembering Today-1st Lieutenant ROBERT LESTER LEE HULL 579 Bomb Sq., 392nd Bomb Gr., U.S. Air Force

Discussion in 'US Units' started by Pieter F, Jan 4, 2011.

  1. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Robert L. L. Hull
    First Lieutenant, U.S. Army Air Forces
    Service # O-675224
    579th Bomber Squadron, 392nd Bomber Group, Heavy
    Entered the Service from: California
    Died: 4-Jan-44
    Buried at: Plot M Row 20 Grave 10
    Netherlands American Cemetery
    Margraten, Netherlands
    Awards: Air Medal, Purple Heart

    Robert Lester Lee Hull was was born at home in Hornbrook, California on December 14, 1919. He was the fourth of six children born to William Robert and Mable Claire Hull.After high school Robert moved to Sacramento, California. In Sacramento, the capital city of California, Robert attended Sacramento City College where he followed his older brother John who had moved on to attend the University of California in Berkley, California.
    But war had come to Europe and was threatening in the Pacific. So it was time to go back home to Dunsmuir. During his last months in Dunsmuir Robert worked for the United States Forest Service guarding railroad bridges.

    Both John and Robert joined the United States Air Force. Robert became a B-17 pilot at the 579th Bomb Squadron, 392nd Bomb Group, 8th Air Force. He flew eleven operational missions.

    At 25 November 1943 Robert met his brother John with Thanksgiving. The following night, John’s plane went down above the North Sea. John was missing in action, until his body washed ashore on 13 February 1944.

    Robert never knew what exactly happened to his brother. 4 January 1944 he was flying a mission to Kiel with his B-17, the Out House Mouse. Above Bredstedt the plane was shot down by a night-fighter flown by Felix Steiner. Robert tried to find a spot for an emergency landing and found a meadow in the woods near Bredstedt. When crossing the tree line, suddenly Erholung Farm came into sight. Heavy engine humming was heard by the family who lived at the farm, which may indicate that Robert tried to avoid the farm at the last moment. The plane whirled, a wing hit the ground and the plane turned over and caught fire. All ten crewmembers got killed in the crash.


    The bodies were buried by the Germans near the crash site. After the war five crewmembers were re-buried at the American cemetery in the Ardennes. Robert was later re-buried again at Margraten (Netherlands) American Cemetery, as his brother John was already buried here.


    Their younger brother Marion was also in England as an airman. He was sent back to the United States after the loss of his two brothers. A few years ago I adopted Robert’s grave at Margraten. After getting in touch with Marion’s son Paul, we together succeeded in reconstructing Robert’s story. This story is nowadays visible on one of the walls of a chapel in the Memory Museum in Nijverdal.
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  2. Pieter F

    Pieter F Very Senior Member

    Pilot: 1st Lieutenant Robert L. L. Hull
    Co-pilot: 2nd Lieutenant Edward E. Durrance
    Navigator: 2nd Lieutenant Vincent B. Coleman
    Bombardier: 2nd Lieutenant John E. Lessey
    Radio-operator: Technical Sergeant James F. Johnson
    Engineer: Technical Sergeant William R. Hay
    Wing gunner: Staff Sergeant Edward F. Griffin
    Wing gunner: Staff Sergeant David L. Surls
    Ball turret gunner: Staff Sergeant William L. Buchert
    Tail gunner: Staff Sergeant Raul E. Vasquez

    Robert Hull is on the back row, far left. He is believe to be flanked by Edward Durrance, Vincent Coleman and John Lessey. One crewmember is not on the picture, as there are only nine men.

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