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Chaplain Julius Garst Appleton

Updated with new information on February 13, 1921 – see below…

In my original post about 384th Bomb Group chaplains, I included James T. Duvall as one of the Group’s chaplains. I believed that Duvall was with the Group at Istres, France after the end of the war. Keith Ellefson has since discovered that Duvall was not assigned or attached to the 384th Bomb Group. Keith notes that “He was assigned to the 415th Air Service Group as the 415th Air Service Group Chaplain.” Keith also added “However, he was assigned to the main unit that supported the 384th, so I imagine that the 384th Chaplain and the 415th Chaplain worked together to support the mission at Istres.”

Keith did find one more chaplain associated with the 384th, though. He was Julius Garst Appleton.

Julius Garst Appleton was born July 12, 1902 to Henry and Edith Garst Appleton in Ohio. His father Henry was a draftsman. Julius grew up in the Cincinnati area and at seventeen years old was reported on the 1920 Federal census to be in engineering for a railroad and was a student.

Between 1920 and 1924, Julius attended the College of Engineering and Commerce at the University of Cincinnati. Before college, Julius attended Woodward High School in Cincinnati.

University of Cincinnati 1924 Yearbook “The Cincinnatian”

“Braune Civils” is an abbreviation for the Braune Civil Engineering Society, which was the Student Chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers at the University of Cincinnati .

On the morning of his college graduation, June 14, 1924, he married Julia Lucinda Earl. She was born July 10, 1900 or 1901.

On June 21, 1924, the “Cincinnati Enquirer” reported that “Cincinnati is to provide two more young people for the missionary field in China. Julius Garst Appleton, graduate civil engineer of the University of Cincinnati, who married Miss Julia Earl on the morning of his graduation, is the latest member of the Varsity Student Volunteers to make good his pledge.”

I’m not sure what the missionary work in China entailed, but apparently Julius and Julia were back in the states by 1927. In the Hartford, Connecticut city directory, Julius and Julia Appleton are listed as an assistant engineer and stenographer. Julius and Julia were still living in Hartford in 1930 according to the Federal census. Julius was a civil engineer for the city and Julia was a stenographer for an insurance company. They had no children.

According to the Hartford city directory of 1931, Julius and Julia had moved to Bridgeport, Connecticut. In the Bridgeport city directory for the years 1932 to 1934, Reverend Julius G. Appleton was listed as the pastor of the Bethany Congregational Church in Bridgeport. There is no record of how Julius transitioned from civil engineer to pastor.

By 1936, Julius and Julia had moved to Cleveland, Ohio. The city directory for Cleveland lists Julius G. Appleton as a Clergyman (having churches).

On May 20, 1941, Julius enlisted in the army. I do not have detail of his record in the service, but apparently he served in the Army Air Forces in England. He returned to the US aboard the Queen Elizabeth on June 29, 1945 and was released from the service on May 2, 1946.

While I am curious about how Julius Appleton transitioned from civil engineer to pastor, I am also curious about what role he played in the 8th Air Force. I do know that in 1941, he was stationed at the Headquarters of the 37th Engineer Regiment, Chaplain’s Office, at Camp Bowie, Texas. And I do know that he was concerned with the needs of Jewish soldiers. On October 24, 1941, he wrote a letter to the Director of the National Jewish Welfare Board in New York City. He wrote:

Just a week ago today Chaplain Julius A. Leibert, Jewish Chaplain for Camp Bowie, dedicated our Chapel (Chapel No. 8 – 37th Engrs Area) here at the Camp for use in Jewish Services for the Jewish Soldiers and the Jewish Congregation of Brownwood. Today he has gone – transferred to Camp Beauregard, Louisiana! We regret losing such a fine worker.

Feeling that these services, so auspiciously begun last week, should not be allowed to die out I have offered to be of what assistance I can as a Chaplain of the Christian Faith. As Chapel No. 8 is central to the majority of the Units here in the camp where Jewish Soldiers are located, I feel it is wise to continue the Friday Evening Services here, if the others so desire, and am willing to do all in my power to help hold the group together.

The Ark in our Chapel has been especially lined and last week Chaplain Leibert installed in it The Torah (his own however) for use. With him gone, taking his Torah with him, the Ark looks quite bare. I am wondering if you have some way of providing for our use another Torah which could be placed in our Ark for these Jewish Services. I am sure our Jewish Soldiers and the Jewish Congregation from Brownwood would greatly appreciate the gift or loan of a Torah from you for use in this Chapel. It could well be the point of focus that would help hold together our fine group of Jewish Soldiers and Civilains. Anything you could do to help in this regard will be appreciated by me personally and by our Jewish folk as well.

If you can suggest any way that I may be of assistance to our group here, I’ll be glad to hear from you.

He signed the letter “Julius G. Appleton, Chaplain 37th Engrs.” Chaplain Appleton received a reply from Benjamin Rabinowitz, thanking him for offering his services in connection with the religious needs of the Jewish soldiers stationed at the post. Rabinowitz worked to procure a Sefer Torah for use at the post.

Julius and Julia may have had children, but I can find no record of any. I also cannot find a 1940 census record for them, so am not sure where they lived at the time.

Julius Garst Appleton died February 27, 1985 in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona. He was buried in the Greenwood Memory Lawn Mortuary and Cemetery in Phoenix.

Updated February 13, 1921 with new information

I recently received a comment on this post from Neil Entwistle of Leicestershire, England. Neil wrote me to help shed light on my question of what role Julius Garst Appleton played in the 8th Air Force in England during the war. Neil explained,

In November 1944 he was a station chaplain at USAAF Base No. 342 located at Atcham in Shropshire, England.

Neil went on to tell me how he found this information,

The background to this is that for the last 20 years I have been investigating the fatal crash of an American World War 2 fighter aircraft (P-47 Thunderbolt) that came down close to where I live in Leicestershire, England. Having finally identified the pilot as a Charles E Burdick from New York, I was able to obtain an Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) from the records office in St Louis Missouri.

A letter contained in that file, dated 21 November 1944 identifies Julius G Appleton as the station chaplain who wrote to the pilot’s mother (Retha Burdick), informing her of her son’s death. On 24th October 1944 Charles had been killed on a training mission with the 495th Fighter Training Group based at Atcham, and had been in the country for less than 1 month.

In July 2019, having traced the pilot’s cousin living in New York, I flew out to meet her, and visit the final resting place of Flight Officer Burdick in Memory Gardens Cemetery in Albany. Prior to my investigation there were no details for the accident in Leicestershire and only a few elderly local residents knew of the crash. On my return, together with some of the other villagers we raised money for a stone memorial for Charles that was unveiled on the 75th anniversary of his crash; finally acknowledging this 24 year old’s brave sacrifice here in England.

Thank you, Neil, for sharing this information with me, and thank you for honoring the pilot, Charles E. Burdick of New York, for his sacrifice in World War II.

More information about Charles Burdick and the crash, including photos, can be found here.

© Cindy Farrar Bryan and The Arrowhead Club, 2017


5 Comments

  1. Neil Entwistle says:

    Dear Sir / Madam,
    I hope that I can shed a little light on your question regarding what Julius’s role was in the 8th Air Force. In November 1944 he was a station chaplain at USAAF Base No. 342 located at Atcham in Shropshire, England.
    The background to this is that for the last 20 years I have been investigating the fatal crash of an American World War 2 fighter aircraft (P-47 Thunderbolt) that came down close to where I live in Leicestershire, England. Having finally identified the pilot as a Charles E Burdick from New York, I was able to obtain an Individual Deceased Personnel File (IDPF) from the records office in St Louis Missouri.
    A letter contained in that file, dated 21 November 1944 identifies Julius G Appleton as the station chaplain who wrote to the pilot’s mother (Retha Burdick), informing her of her son’s death. On 24th October 1944 Charles had been killed on a training mission with the 495th Fighter Training Group based at Atcham, and had been in the country for less than 1 month.
    In July 2019, having traced the pilot’s cousin living in New York, I flew out to meet her, and visit the final resting place of Flight Officer Burdick in Memory Gardens Cemetery in Albany. Prior to my investigation there were no details for the accident in Leicestershire and only a few elderly local residents knew of the crash. On my return, together with some of the other villagers we raised money for a stone memorial for Charles that was unveiled on the 75th anniversary of his crash; finally acknowledging this 24 year old’s brave sacrifice here in England.
    Kind Regards
    Neil Entwistle

    • Thank you, Neil, for sharing this information. I have updated the post with your information (see the new section at the bottom of the post). And thank you very much for honoring Charles Burdick’s service and sacrifice in WWII.

      • Neil says:

        Dear Sir / Madam,

        It has been a priviledge to have been involved in this investigation, these last 20 years or so.  I’m so pleased that Charles now has the recognition that he deserves and that his memory is preserved at the site where he lost his life.

        It has been interesting to find out about Julius, who had the unenviable task of informing Mr and Mrs Burdick that their only child had been killed.  I am pleased to have come across your information.

        Last year I was asked by a local magazine (community voice) if I would share the background of this story, and as a result I wrote two short articles that appeared in the run up to Christmas.  I thought you may like these articles in addition to the web link that you have located, and which is included in the comment.

        One thing I learnt from his cousin when I visited her in Albany, New York, in 2019, was that Charles was actually known to everyone as ‘Eddie’.  You will see that the second article reflects this, rather than using his first name, Charles.

        Many thanks for your interest.

        Kind Regards

        Neil Entwistle

      • Yes, Neil, I am interested in the two articles. If these articles can be accessed online, please send me the links and I will include them in the post.
        Best Regards,
        Cindy Farrar Bryan

      • Neil says:

        Dear Cindy,

        I’m afraid the articles aren’t available online.  The files that I attached are as they appeared in the local magazine articles.  It is a printed community magazine, distributed to 5 villages within Leicestershire.  Unfortunately there is no online version.

        Kind Regards

        Neil Entwistle

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