Bulger, James E. (801st)

James E. Bulger 1James E. Bulger

Biography:  James Edward Bulger was born on March 20, 1905, in Albany, New York. He was the son of Joseph Bulger and Rosanna Fleming and attended St. Ann’s school through the 6th grade. He found work at the Knickerbocker News as a composing room printer. The newspaper was later purchased by the Times Union. James also served with the New York National Guard.

Service Time:  The New York National Guard Antitank Battalion was federalized on January 6, 1941, which is the same day James entered the service. It is believed that he may have been serving in this unit. He came into the Army at the rank of First Sergeant and would have immediately began leading his company. He was chosen for Officers’ training and quickly rose to the rank of Captain, and at some point, became Commander of Headquarters Company.  The 101st Antitank Battalion was re-designated as the 801st Tank Destroyer Battalion on December 15th.

The 801st shipped from Boston on February 28, 1944, on the H.M.S. Britannic, and arrived in England on March 11, 1944. Originally trained with self-propelled TDs, they converted to the 3″ towed anti-tank gun and landed at Utah Beach on June 13th.

The 801st participated in the capture of Cherbourg and fought at Mortain in early August, reaching the outskirts of Paris on August 25. They entered Belgium on September 8 and then moved into Germany on September 12. Supporting operations in the Hürtgen Forest beginning late November, they were on the line in the Ardennes when the German offensive struck on December 16th. They moved to Aachen, Germany, in February, 1945, and crossed the Roer River on February 25, reaching the Rhine River south of Düsseldorf soon after.

On March 29, they crossed the Rhine near Wesel, supported the drive to the Ruhr, and then turned east to the Elbe River. The unit was transferred south and supported operations in the Harz Mountains, in late April, and converted to M18 tank destroyer’s. They finally crossing the Danube and reached the Inn River, outside Hitler’s birthplace, Brunnau, Austria, by VE Day. The unit received credit for the campaigns of Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe.

James E Bulger 2After the war, James returned to New York and returned to the newspaper and composing room. On October 25, 1946, he married the former Ann Myers who was born in Albany and was the daughter of William Myers and Mary Quinn. The couple made their residence in Albany and had two children, James and Patricia. In the early 1950’s, he joined the Army Reserves and retired at the rank of Major. By the late 1950’s, he became foreman of the composing room and retiring from the newspaper in 1973. 

In the photo at left, you can see James bending over to closely inspect a hand-crank generator used for a radio.

In his spare time, James was a huge fan of the New York Yankees and never missed an opportunity to watch a game. He was also a commander of the Washington Avenue and New Scotland Avenue armories and a lifetime member of the Sheehy-Palmer Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6776. He was a member of the Troop B Calvary Veterans Association and the Retired Officers Association. James passed away on November 27, 1987, and was buried in the Saint Agnes Cemetery in Albany, NY. 

I want to thank James’ daughter, Patricia, for providing the information and photos for this tribute.