Heroes: the Army
"...He served in the European Theatre for 15 months -- departed New York, September 26, 1944 aboard the Aquitania, arrived Europe October 4, 1944 and departed Europe December 27, 1945 and arrived back in the US mainland on January 12, 1946..."
Francis X. "Sully" Sullivan in image
Francis X. Sullivan
- Branch of Service: Army
- Unit: Battery B., 516th Field Artillery Battalion, 1st & 9th U. S. Army
- Dates: Nov 1942 - Nov 1945
- Location: European Theater
- Rank: S/Sgt
- Birth Year: 1929
- Entered Service: Concord, NH
taken shortly after he was drafted in March, 1943.
Chief of Detail Sections:
Francis X. "Sully" Sullivan, S/Sgt.
A Family Portrait of a member of the
516th Field Artillery, Battery "B"
Francis X. Sullivan was born in Concord, NH, Dec. 10, 1920 (the 3rd of 7 children)
Francis was graduated from St. John's Catholic High School, in Concord, N. H. in 1937.
He then took Machine Shop Classes at the University of New Hampshire for a year.
Francis was hired by General Electric (Lynn, Massachusetts) in 1941 where he prepared drawings of mechanical devices according to description and reference to other drawings.
On June 25, 1942 he married his childhood sweetheart, Catherine F. Kelley.
May 15, 1943, daughter, Maureen C. Sullivan was born and he was allowed to come home from Camp Shelby on emergency leave.
Image of a "censor passed" letter sent by
Francis X. "Sully" Sullivan to his wife Catherine.
Each letter was censored by the military prior to
being sent to the soldier's loved ones back home.
Many solders had ways of telling their loved ones
information that was hidden in the message by use
of some pre-arranged codes or phrases.
According to his "Separation Qualification Record" he was inducted into the Army March 2, 1943 as a PVT. But after 3 months was promoted to S/Sgt. He served with the 516th Field Artillery Battalion as "Survey and Instrument Man" -- set up and operated surveying and fire control instruments to locate gun positions or observation posts. Measured angles by making instrument readings using transit, aiming cirlce, and similar instruments. He served in the European Theatre for 15 months -- departed New York, September 26, 1944 aboard the Aquitania, arrived Europe October 4, 1944 and departed Europe December 27, 1945 and arrived back in the US mainland on January 12, 1946 (A LONG TRIP HOME on what he laughingly claimed was a tug boat -- it was 16 days at sea in extremely rough winter weather.)
Additionally, according to his military records, he received the American Theater Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal (guess the demotion episode was forgotten), Victory Medal, European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Medal. He was discharged on January 18, 1946 from Fort Devens, Massachusetts and received $3.30 travel pay to return home to New Hampshire.
Francis returned to work at GE as a draftsman/designer of small engines. In 1954 GE transferred his whole department from Lynn, Mass. to Erie, Pa. where he then was draftsman/designer of engines for locomotives. He won the Wengert Award for outstanding service in Dec. 1963 and retired in 1983 after over 38 years with the company.
He stayed in touch with a couple of men from the 516th - Ed Brehm and George Sharp (who wrote the chronicle about the men of the 516th) until his death on April 4, 2000.
A few interesting items about Francis X. Sullivan -- the soldier:
Dad (Francis X. Sullivan) never talked about the war, other than mentioning climbing the church steeple, the burgermeiester in one of the towns, and being busted from S/Sgt. down to Pvt. for calling his CO a yellow bellied coward!
As Dad was so calm and even tempered (I never saw him get the least bit ruffled), that can't I begin to imagine what would cause that outburst. But I did find papers with the demotion dated 16 April 1945, he was then promoted to Cpl. 13 May 1945 and back to S/Sgt. 8 June 1945. It sounds like they were involved with the 9th Army but there is no other info in what few papers I have.
2. "...quiet, even-tempered S/Sgt. Francis X. Sullivan (chief of detail sections) of New Hampshire.." as described in the "Unofficial History of 516th, Battery "B", by George Sharp.
Telegrams sent to wife of Francis X. "Sully" Sullivan
letting her know that he had arrived home OK (December 1943)
and a second telegram making arrangements to meet in
New York City (September 1944) on furlough.
What Does a Mother Think When Her Boys Go Off to War?
Editor's note: During the war, many folks, civilian and military alike, did their part for the war effort. Surely, it could never be said that the Sullivan family of Concord, New Hampshire, never did their fair share in winning the war. Read on for a wonderful insight into a typical American family that contributed to the war effort in a big way...
"Ma" as we all called her had many sleepless nights as two of her sons (and son-in-law) were all in the service during WWII. (And then came the Korean War)
Dad's oldest brother, Rob, enlisted in the Navy during the war and was a physical instructor in Corpus Christi, Tex. While he never did serve on a ship he was a heartbeat away from going overseas.
Dad's older sister, Ellen, worked for a time at Pratt & Whitney (an airplane manufacturing plant). By this time the war was in full swing, she went to Washington, D.C. were she was a cryptographer.
Dad's younger sister, Kate, also worked at Pratt & Whitney as a draftsman. Then she married David Wood who was in the Air Force and flew many missions over Germany.
The youngest boys in the Sullivan family were twins born June 7, 1930. Joe, the oldest twin joined the Army and was trained to be a ski trooper and a mountain climber. He came home on leave after volunteering to go to Japan. While on the way to Japan, the Korean War broke out and he was shipped to Korea. Then the telegrams started coming -- in those days -- The War Department sent the mothers a telegram "we reget to inform your son has been wounded" We lived in two story duplex and Western Union for some reason always delivered the telegrams to Dad and then he'd have to go upstairs and tell "Ma" Joe was wounded again. The telegrams kept coming -- four of them -- Ma begged and pleaded with the War Department to send him home -- to no avail.
When he was finally discharged he was a 20 year old that had been through HELL. Joe did marry a gal he'd been going with and they had 3 children but he was unable to hold down a job for long because of his frostbitten feet and the effects of his wounds. His marriage suffered and his wife left him. Joe went to live in a summer cottage in Lanesville, Mass. that Ma owned. On July 4, 1958 Ma went out to the cottage to see if he wanted to join the family for a trip to the beach and found him dead in bed. He died from a blood clot from his wounds at age 28. Ma never got over the loss of her son at such a young age.
Interested in some background information?
Check out the related links below...
Harold J. Hedges, Capt., 516th FAB, Battery "B"
History of the 516th Field Artillery Battalion, Battery "B"
National World War II Memorial
World War II Causality Search
The story is re-printed here on World War II Stories -- In Their Own Words with the kind permission of Ms. Maureen Peckrul, daughter of S/Sgt. Francis X. "Sully" Sullivan. We wish to express a heartfelt "Thank You" for sharing some personal insight into the life and times of her father, S/Sgt. Francis X. "Sully" Sullivan and her family that had been forever touched by World War II and then by the Korean War.
Original Story submitted on 8 August 2003.
Story added to website on 8 August 2003.
September 5, 2002.
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