Hulsebus, William George
Navy Coxswain

William George Hulsebus, age 26, from Canton, Missouri, Lewis county.

Service era: Pre World War II

Date of death: Sunday, December 19, 1937
Death details: Killed in the Panay Incident. On 11 December 1937, USS Panay (PR-5), a gunboat specifically constructed for duty with the Yangtze Patrol, was operating as a station ship at Nanking, China. She was clearly identified by large American flags painted on her superstructure. As Japanese forces assaulted Nanking, Panay took on board four Americans from the U.S. embassy, as well as a small group of American and foreign nationals evacuated from the city. Panay then moved upriver. On 12 December, Panay was traveling in a convoy with three American Standard Oil vessels, Meiping, Meian, and Meihsia, when the Japanese army ordered operationally subordinate Japanese naval aircraft to attack “any and all ships” in the Yangtze River above Nanking. The Japanese navy requested verification of the order, which it received at 1327 that day. Shortly after 1330, three Japanese bombers released bombs onto Panay and Meiping. Panay’s forward 3-inch gun was destroyed, the pilot house wrecked, radio equipment and fireroom disabled. Leaks developed in the hull and the commanding officer and a number of crewmembers and others onboard Panay were injured. Within minutes of the first wave of bombers, another squadron of single-engine biplanes launched a second attack, dropping a total of 20 bombs. Panay’s crew fought back, opening fire on the aircraft with her .30-caliber machine guns, but was unable to bring down any planes. Due to the extensive damage to the ship, the number of wounded, and length of time needed to get them ashore, the captain gave the order to abandon ship.
Cemetery: Forest Grove, Canton

Source: U.S. Navy,