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John Chastaine Hulse

S/SGT in 603rd Engineer Camouflage Bn : HQ & Service Co

Casualty: Wounded

Born 1916 in GA, Died 1998


Other residence(s): Augusta, GA; New York, NY; Camden, SC; Palm Beach, FL
United States Army, European Theatre of Operations
Occupation before the war: interior designer/architect
College education before the war: Georgia Tech; Parsons Paris
Notes: Middle initial "V" on Anderson list, but "C" on Company D With Addresses and on Bahnhof Flag (hand-signed by him). Rank changed from PVT to S/SGT per two newspaper articles in 1945. Wounded flag turned on due to his presence with an Army rank in an Augusta, GA hospital in March, 1945.
Source: 603rd Camouflage Engineer Roster provided by W. Anderson; Company D With Addresses Roster; Bahnhof flag signature; photo from Georgia Tech yearbook 1937

John Hulse was born on September 18, 1916 in Augusta, GA, the younger of two sons. His father and grandfather were the owners of Hulse Steam Laundry.

His father died when he was four years old, and his mother when he was six, both of respiratory illnesses. His mother's sister, Lillian Chastaine, became the boys' guardian. John graduated from the Academy of Richmond County High School in Augusta and went on to study architecture at Georgia Tech. There he was a member of Delta Tau Delta and the Architecture Society (serving as Treasurer). He graduated in 1937 and went on to study at Parsons Paris, gaining valuable art and architecture exposure in France and Italy.

He then took a job as an interior decorator/designer at Lord & Taylor in Manhattan. He registered for the draft on October 16, 1940.

John's older brother, Frank, was a US aviation pioneer, and by the time he graduated from Georgia Tech (three years before his younger brother) he was president of the Southern Airways Company, a business he had started when he was 17 years old. (That year he gave flying lessons, and rides in his plane for a penny a pound.) In November, 1940 Frank and his partner founded The Southern Aviation School in Camden, SC to train military pilots. Frank persuaded his architecture-trained brother to leave New York and join him in Camden, and in 90 days the company built classrooms, barracks, and additional hangars, likely designed/engineered by John. Training of army fliers began on March 22, 1941. The first class of pilots included Robert K. Morgan, who later flew the famed B-17 bomber Memphis Belle. The school trained over 6,000 pilots through August, 1944 (including 297 RAF pilots in 1941-42).*

In the summer of 1941, John spent a couple of months touring the country, "on leave" from his NYC job, according to a newspaper article from the time. He was still in Camden in February, 1942.

John enlisted on September 25, 1942 and, as an artist, was assigned to the 603rd Engineer Camouflage Battalion. On June 4, 1943, the announcement of his engagement to Marguerite Mustin mentions that was stationed at Fort Meade in Maryland, and had earned the rank of SGT. John and Marguerite married on June 19 in Manhattan.

John went overseas with the unit, and was still with the Ghost Army in October, 1944 when he signed the so-called Bahnhof flag. He may have been wounded and returned home before the rest of the unit. A March, 1945 article identifies him as a patient at Oliver General Hospital in Augusta, GA with the rank of S/SGT; he had just submitted a pen and ink wash to the annual Army Arts Contest. An article a few months later, in July, says that S/SGT Hulse was on leave with his wife in Augusta. He was discharged from the Army on October 26, 1945.

It is not known how long he stayed in Georgia after his military service. He exhibited artwork at the Southeastern Art Exhibit in Atlanta in the fall of 1947, and he is listed as President of Hulse Laundry in the 1949 Augusta city directory (although he could actually have been back in New York by then). But eventually he and Marguerite returned to Manhattan; they were living there in 1950 with their baby daughter Jeanne, and John was working for William Pahlmann in the interior design department of Lord & Taylor. The Hulses became the parents of a second child, John Jr., in 1953.

John performed interior design projects for numerous leading New Yorkers, including three generations of the Ford family in Detroit, New York, New England, and Palm Beach. He also designed a series of architectural panels for the wallpaper firm of Louis Bowen & Co.

At some point, John was invited by Macy's to form, and serve as manager and buyer for, The Corner Shop, specializing in European antique furniture and objects. He traveled numerous times to London and Paris during the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1971, John relocated to Palm Beach, FL to become an associate in the decorating firm of Jessup, Inc., which he continued after the death of its founder.

John died on June 22, 1998 in Palm Beach. His obituary describes him as an architectural and interior designer and a landscape and still life painter, and goes on to say that his work had been shown in New York City, Southampton, NY, and Palm Beach.

His son, John Jr., also became an artist.

*Frank's Southern Airways would eventually merge with Republic Airlines in 1979. Frank was vice-chairman of Republic in 1986 when he and other investors sold the airline to Northwest for $884 million.


1932 yearbook

1937 yearbook (click on 1937 classes.pdf)


1920 census

1920 article in the Augusta Chronicle (GA) about his father's death

1922 article in the Augusta Chronicle (GA) about his mother's death

1930 census

1933 Academy of Richmond County yearbook

1940 census

1940 draft card

1941 article in Augusta Chronicle (GA); he has a leave from his job in NY and is touring the country for two months

1940-1944 History of Southern Aviation School (founded by John's brother; John worked there before the war)

1942 article in The State (Columbia, SC) showing he is living in SC and at the Southern Aviation School

1942 article in Augusta Chronicle (GA) showing his enlistment

1942 letter from Harold Dahl (calls him a "Continental" confirming the fact that he had spent time abroad)

1943 engagement announcement in Augusta Chronicle (GA); mentions he is at Fort Meade and says that he had been an architect at the Southern Aviation School

1943 marriage license index

1945 Augusta GA city directory (confirms address on GA records)

1945 article in Augusta Chronicle (GA); he is exhibiting in Army Arts Contest

1945 article in Augusta Chronicle (GA); he is on leave

1947 article in the Atlanta Constitution (GA) about an art exhibit he is in

1949 Augusta GA city directory

1950 census

1955 Augusta city directory (shows him living in NYC)

1957 flight manifest from Paris to NY*1lli6mv*_ga*MTE1MjM2NzQwNy4xNjc2NDY0MjE5*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3NzUxODA5Mi4yNi4xLjE2Nzc1MTkwMzUuNTguMC4w*_ga_B2YGR3SSMB*NGMzYTg1OTQtMDEwZS00MDA3LWJlMDAtYmYxYzQ2MTk5NDNkLjI0LjEuMTY3NzUxODk5Ni40Ni4wLjA.

1961 flight manifest from London to NY

1992 brother's obituary in the Atlanta Journal (GA); shows John living in Palm Beach

1998 Social Security Applications and Claims Index

1998 New York Times death notice

1998 obituary in Palm Beach Daily News (FL),0.40159014,0.34556597,0.6222258&xid=3355&_gl=1*1mdedaa*_ga*MTE1MjM2NzQwNy4xNjc2NDY0MjE5*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3NjgxMzEzMC43LjEuMTY3NjgxNDE0Ny41Ny4wLjA.*_ga_B2YGR3SSMB*MDE5ZDA0ZjEtYTFiYS00MzZlLThmMGUtNTdkZDRkYjgzMTY0LjYuMS4xNjc2ODE0MTQ3LjU4LjAuMA..&_ga=2.177494885.1758585658.1676683924-1152367407.1676464219

1998 VA death record

1998 Social Security death index*12q234n*_ga*MTE1MjM2NzQwNy4xNjc2NDY0MjE5*_ga_4QT8FMEX30*MTY3NjgxMzEzMC43LjEuMTY3NjgxNDQ4OS4yNy4wLjA.*_ga_B2YGR3SSMB*MDE5ZDA0ZjEtYTFiYS00MzZlLThmMGUtNTdkZDRkYjgzMTY0LjYuMS4xNjc2ODE0NDkwLjI2LjAuMA..

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