From WILL - World War II Central Illinois Stories -

Oral History Interview: Jim Hull of Urbana

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(Duration: 29:48)

Jim Hull served all over Europe in many of the major campaigns. He was in the Army for about three years, serving with the artillery in places like the Argonne Forest and Normandy. His artillery group followed the troops in on the beaches on D Day and went with Patton through France. Hull was in the Battle of the Bulge and talks about the bitterness of the cold 7 degree temperatures. He shows samples of the K rations that soldiers ate—small boxes containing a canned dinner or a breakfast/lunch combination, and cigarettes. Hull shares the letter all soldiers received from Gen. Dwight Eisenhower before they hit the beaches. At the time, he said, he and his buddies were so ready to go that he didn’t think much of it, but reading it after surviving the war and looking back, he realizes how much that letter meant. His group was the only one to hold a bridge over the Elbe River, a bridge they called the Truman Bridge. His group served as part of the Army of Occupation when the battles ended.

Categories: History, Military

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    Transcript for file: jimhull2008-02-20.mp3

    00:00:00

    this is an interview with Jim Hall February 20th two
    2008 were in the studio active will in Urbana
    savanna Illinois my name is Nancy Russell and videographer is henna
    Henry Radcliffe okay tell me
    tell me where you were when World War II started Pearl Harbor how did you hear about
    here about it well I was in Galion Ohio Lana

    00:00:30

    was very distracting couldn’t pleases
    anybody had that much power in the guts to text you
    United States what the f*** did the course that was
    that was the beginning of World War II how old were you are 21
    what were you doing I was working at a industrial fire
    making meth dump bodies for cut galeano
    how you know when a PC mall over the world I did this

    00:01:05

    did the simple life work different things
    enough I was drafted I did volunteer
    tear and September 1942
    I was inducted into the the service at Cleveland Ohio
    they give me a two weeks leave at what BAC together in the straight up my
    that my prayers and I had to report back to Cleveland at all the people that W
    that was inducted at that time in September return

    00:01:40

    had to put us on a train a Wii with the El Paso Texas
    Adele El Paso Texas where we go to basic training in AR
    25 mile hikes and we became the
    Coast Guard archery after
    two weeks at Fort Bliss Texas I was made up PF
    PFC private first class and I trained a lot of men down there
    are there because they didn’t know their left hand for the right and I had to put stone sinner

    00:02:15

    left and sticks or whatever I could find Panda
    I get a lot of drilling left like right place
    play crib artridol is good commands
    Atwood that a great job at 12weeks I may be a corporal
    corporal well but that time we was ready to boo from
    from Fort Bliss Texas to Fort Knox Kentucky and at Fort Knox Kentucky
    he would became a 4 53rd automatic

    00:02:50

    weapons battalion had their weak humilated are two and a half ton
    how to attract the full 40 millimeter guns
    we accumulated I was in the battery that is the battalion
    what is consisted of a headquarters ABCD batteries at
    add that I was a big battery
    what picked up a half track the T stand for
    450 calorie machine guns on it Big Dipper

    00:03:25

    small rifles carbine ball pistols what sake and other
    had I forget hello
    we were at Fort Knox
    when did they move the S from there to the 2x
    Music Camp Stewart Georgia Hannah we was in the swamps down there
    where had the with leopard pup tents where the snakes like
    like the crawling under our bed rolls when they was at night I had the

    00:04:00

    the alligators in awhile hugs and all that good stuff down there
    down there had we did course MA
    more training for training and then from there we went on
    we want on Tennessee maneuvers well at that time they made me acne
    excited over a c*** cruel and that’s 15 min
    event Ohio if I forgot to say in the Fort Knox Kentucky we picked up
    electronic equipment to guide the gun

    00:04:35

    with a 800 pound generator
    who had the horse’s head to generate electricity from the director
    does a gun adequately train with that are all true
    Tennessee 12 verse what are the little dancer the today
    remembering the Tennessee band overs was it we had to dig a hole
    the set the the 40 millimeter gun in my hand
    guy with the name of Larry carpet in Grants Pass Oregon

    00:05:10

    he said I did get a hole well he died had a little talk attic
    I think he dug a hole and then from there
    they moved us to North Carolina at where we are
    we fired over the Atlantic by gun crew
    I had thought the guys you know what you got a leisure lane
    blade quite a bit and the vertical have to be online
    white course I had what day we were fired on there in a year

    00:05:45

    the guy on the lakes on the other side of this director
    I turn around the lieutenant the Fez
    shut up cut the cord on that target headset the next
    exit cut that target off of that playing so but we’ve course guide
    got a great name for meth episode and the wedding boot
    Buddhist love their up to Fort Dix New Jersey to go to England
    we pull the gunnery on the ship IBMA

    00:06:20

    artillery mechanic I was allowed on dick on the chip
    tip and I spend a lot of times up there at the deck and
    at times I can see the rotors on the back of the boat that rocked up so high
    Sola liquid got in the Hat real
    get real bad storm and the boat tipped way over
    Tipton under 2 degrees we would have sunk but anyway
    arrived in Liverpool England how long was that after you head

    00:06:55

    been inducted that was 1945 February 1940
    244 and uh
    we had duh incurred a Buddhist
    Buddhist down to a place that called Black Sea more at: was a
    outfitted with quartz is Hertz in the round buildings
    Hyundai we practice
    samba gun repair

    00:07:30

    ad the invasion was June 6th
    sex and they had moved us from there down to Yeovil nerve
    Southampton in England are we had to a waterproofer
    roofer guns and everything get ready for the day anda
    we did go in on D Day because
    because we’re artillery we have to go in the head of a sleep get some
    landfill we can move in there

    00:08:05

    just before we left England
    I have a letter here from President Eisenhower
    Eisenhower as his to these soldiers sailors and airmen
    Ellie Allen Allied expeditionary force you are about to
    how to embark upon the Great Crusade toward which we have
    have striven these many months the eyes of the world are upon you
    the hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere bark

    00:08:40

    Bart with you in company with our brave allies
    brothers in arms on other fronts you will bring about the
    the destruction of the German war machine the elimination of the Nazi
    tired radio over the oppressed people of the Europe and security
    security for ourselves in a free world your task will not be an easy one
    your enemy is well trained well equipped and battle hardened
    Martin he will fight savagely this is here

    00:09:15

    the year 1944 much has happened
    since the dogs eat rye up with 40 41 United Nations
    since I have inflicted upon the Germans Great defeats an open battle
    man to man are Arabs 50 paise seriously reduce their s
    their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground
    our home fronts have given us an overwhelming
    superiority weapons in the nations of war at place at our disposal

    00:09:50

    look great reserves of trained fighting men the title
    tight hipster the free men of the world are marching together the victory
    I have full coverage in your courage devotion to duty as
    add skill in battle will will accept nothing less than full victory
    victory good luck and let us all the seats the blessing of Almighty God
    upon this great head double undertaking president white
    lightning iknow hour and no but whatever I read this about

    00:10:25

    Tapout cry at that time
    how did they get off with labor just got cold and go get Hitler
    add a Medela breat that that means a lot
    understand that every man receive a copyright letter America copy that
    what was the reaction what
    what what was the reaction well we didn’t think you think about it ride it
    the time you know I was just so build up with the

    00:11:00

    all the training I have been through I had one goal that was
    it was a good hit her sew a butt dial
    something when you win when you win in the city
    did the infantry win in ahead of you didn’t hit it was so you knew what it
    what would happen to the infantry when I hit the beaches yeah we lost
    thousand men there now those boats in English
    is there in the English Channel air they had

    00:11:35

    book balloons like a football that was up above it ships
    tips for 3400 feet to keep the German planes from
    I get to write down orders this favors so you know we got
    we got straight then fill their heads they was way up on a mountain
    they were head concrete bunkers and the head
    dropped a lot of bumps on him but he was still able to
    sub shooter this down there on the hips

    00:12:10

    anda I was fortunate enough to get off of the ship
    Japan get into a boat and they took me to shore at night
    eyewitness no. Omaha Beach it was two b****** for the United States what I was
    what I was home on the other old Idaho
    utorrent huh anyway
    tips to be dry when it Utah Omaha and
    you heard about the hedgerows

    00:12:45

    the hedgerows was a lot of deep rooted trees and conquer
    concrete bunkers build nm what day they took over
    hooker at milk 40 millimeter guns up there and uh
    we shot drink firearm gun
    carry the Bissell was about 17 inches long with a three quarter pound
    shell in the end of it but take down a plane Easley
    is late but we fart direct fire in the Little Fockers

    00:13:20

    I had the Africa 70 of Germans they want to know what kind of a country have
    had after the break through there at the same
    steelo we were tested at 30
    Bedford I deleted a tweak card 205 howitzer outfit
    hello we went out at Liberty liberated
    a big seaport at the end of the Normandy Peninsula
    nature burn and oh my

    00:13:55

    the manor of a clip at the Ford food at seaport that we had been there gun safe
    everything all around tremendous boobs Handa
    we were in the first Army the Third Army the night
    3250 time we went were all the battles were at
    cleavage in the first Army there everybody’s heard about Patton
    patent for the blood guts and we were texting him
    and Loire River

    00:14:30

    which is about the middle of France the manor
    Germans had been driven out Africa back to Italy in southern France
    France what a bunch of them Germans came up there on the Loire River
    and 20,000 dubs rims or dare at from there
    what we went with Pat does the Rhine River the keep on going but they would
    let it so I don’t know what was on the other side anyway
    we left him at night we went north and airtex bad

    00:15:05

    battle was arclin force field in order to hurt before s
    the blood was knee deep in the cut
    cut down pine trees does to make us a roadrunner rose
    2&a half ton trucks over puller quipment
    rumba after that by
    they pull it on North and we had a
    we had a rest. In there had it wasn’t long

    00:15:40

    feel baby move is salted or again and where we had
    head then they move the green European air well
    well the Germans had some help build up of Realtors
    terminus force that goes for east of us
    what the Battle of bulge started they run right over that green
    Green unit and was headed for the English Channel well they took us
    us ladies are different diseases around and we hit them in the nose at stop

    00:16:15

    stop them and then in the Battle of the Bulge
    bulls at was 7up of cereal man it was cold
    had what day I fix my banned episodes
    German sitting behind the tree with his rifle
    I love you know I just squatted down and ready to shoot and I Walker
    walk around the tree he was moving it was frost death knight
    just kick it over Alliant was cold enough

    00:16:50

    another thing that happened there was one of the Buddy Guy
    got killed Anna I was cold and I took his blanket
    hello I that carries with them
    well from there we went on
    artis driving the Jermy her back into Germany and
    and the at the Elbe river
    83rd Division Boise Olney division that held the bridge over

    00:17:25

    the Elbe river and we name the Truman bridge Anegada
    how to get a picture picture of adhere
    the sign of the foot art
    well after that then
    we went into the army of occupation
    where a
    we just what did the German houses and try to conversate

    00:18:00

    locate their guns and equipment suburb did
    did understand what they wanted to still open the door and I kicked in a lot of
    a lot of beautiful doors they get their equipment what up
    what up my picked up of Classica flag that I have with me
    with me and uh it’s pretty easy
    easy because I took a flag and send it to my mother
    father dad to live in California Bob voice to put it on the line

    00:18:35

    well I had more airplanes David Ellison
    what to do what to do crip talk to you what blogs get the flag down
    hello well after they a
    arm the occupation of a cooking stone in the
    southern France and they had these great big tits when he was consolidated
    bacon all of us to you had to have so many units to go back
    go back to United States I had the iPhone doubt that I was down the line

    00:19:10

    the little ways and I asked him if I could
    I could go back to the Aryan
    Banggood Hadley where we were at Lexi amor
    ad one night I was in line to get some fish and chips
    and was 2 girls Academy and what ahead of the girl
    Academy turn around look at me and she looked I looked up
    I looked at her and leave with gutter fish and chips in

    00:19:45

    disappeared so I went to a pub and she got with her
    that was your girlfriend then they will look me up and down
    which starred going together
    theatres that start course bonded and
    our neighbors door blade Etsy try to get me to go to England
    I said no you want to come to United States of Ameria Handa
    she came to United States and then we had

    00:20:20

    that was January 1st 1940
    47 and uh four brother took me to
    New York to meters over the Queen Elizabeth
    and we just married January 11th
    Mansfield Ohio by the name of doctor
    doctor share that we had
    for children Julian blender

    00:20:55

    Brian a Danny and the
    now got the dike grandkids its empty grave
    the great grandkids of two great great grandkids
    that’s about to hola
    how tall I went back to anchor wood back to love France
    where I was shipped home and I was discharged at Indiantown Gap Pennsylvania
    Pennsylvania December 15th 1845

    00:21:30

    I know you brought something along to show you how to show people
    show people how different the food was that you had when you were in the service is compared to what your
    why was willing to cook when you get home do you want to shut the have nots
    krace in here
    this was our evening meal
    it was
    chopped pork and eggs

    00:22:05

    at times when he didn’t have a
    everything I eat this c** in pretty handy how many
    many of those could you carry at a time how many days worth
    well the thing used to keep fleas at the headquarters
    send a text about the
    toy wind up with the time game
    3G

    00:22:40

    this is our breakfast breakfast food
    what field you put water with it
    that was for lunch I know that was for supper L
    we had paper you know what that was for
    have we had the coffee
    and above what else
    a package of cigarettes

    00:23:15

    no its been so long since I had them out here is it there stuck
    are stuck fast in there but that’s alright there in there
    hello see you so when you were at the Battle of the Bulge
    carrying a gun in addition to your health
    healthcare in the big guns at gun packages sale
    mood yeah have you talked to your
    grandkids about no all your experience no

    00:23:50

    noticeably news 4 when you came back did you talk
    you talk about it I know why was that I know I just never did
    never did who are great for your talking about it now
    Yaddo after the war
    the war was over we received a letter from
    President Harry Truman Anna
    read here to you who answered the call your country that served in the US Armed

    00:24:25

    forces to bring about the total defeat of the enemy extender
    send a heartfelt thanks of a grateful nation has one of the nation’s finest
    who undertook the most severe test blunt
    what can be called born to perform because you didn’t
    demonstration 242 D resourcefulness
    call plug but necessary to carry out that test when I look to you
    review for leadership and the example and father exotic car

    00:25:00

    country in peace President Harry Truman
    looking back on it what do you remember
    remember most well I think
    I think the most thing was being shot at straight I was
    in the middle of France one day and the
    somebody was shooting at me in I can feel it there
    the bullet hear it what it go by my left ear Medical Arts Building

    00:25:35

    lesbian straight thin shelled a very very poor
    reported to be here I know there were alot of men
    lost we are probably miss when you came back
    came back I know you did something for this this soldiers in Illinois the
    recognition yeah 6 years to
    how to get a Purple Heart Memorial Highway
    on route 72 from Champaign to Quincy Illinois

    00:26:10

    Illinois I started out with the representative
    Jim Johnson and Rick way: copper
    top burns Gilbert Jacobson Chevrolet Representatives
    that’s 6 years and I find a death
    succeeded in getting a Purple Heart Memorial Highway for all live
    the man to have purple hearts in the state of Illinois
    how many medals did you win I have seven metals

    00:26:45

    I have 14
    Normandy Brittany
    Guardian force the Battle of bulge and a Gorger
    Germany worried with back to look back into Germany
    Adeleke patient Hannah I have another one
    from the people of Normandy for
    the guys that liberated Normandy and I have another one

    00:27:20

    what the hell was a water does Certificate of Merit for
    for outstanding performance of take care of a the
    all the guns and equipment
    working order
    everytime I would have a gun that might need repair
    the captain said there’s my drivers there’s my Jeep is a map
    so I would very fortunate enough now if you got off the road

    00:27:55

    how to get the orders will gets shot
    and I tried to pick out a lot of landmarks when I went by so what
    what I come back I know I was on the right road and I was very fortunate
    got the ordinance got back with all equipment celebrate
    alright when the war was declared that it was over I live by the gun if you jump
    yeah was pretty happy how’s your family feel when you got home
    you got home oh how wonderful

    00:28:30

    did you call them to tell them you were coming
    yeah we wrote letters back and forth
    mybama broken all the time no phone calls
    No did you do you feel
    do you feel satisfied at the end of it oh yes very much so
    that’s a great accomplishment anything you like to say
    say to people who are seeing this about your experience

    00:29:05

    well I think I’m very grateful to will
    are having me in for the interview and not telling people
    people of my experiences and
    its a are standards for educational purposes to let the
    baby alot of people
    relate to what I went through
    thank you

    00:29:40