Julius Heinrich Otto ‘Henry’ Pieper and Ludwig Julius Wilhelm ‘Louie’ Pieper; twins reunited

| June 20, 2018 | 20 Comments

Julius Heinrich Otto ‘Henry’ Pieper and twin Ludwig Julius Wilhelm ‘Louie’ Pieper were both killed on June 19, 1944 during the invasion of Fortress Europe when the boat they were taking on a rescue operation struck a mine and shattered the vessel. From the Daily Mail;

Louie’s body was soon found, identified and laid to rest at what is now the Normandy American Cemetery, but Julius’ remains were not recovered until 1961, when French salvage divers found them in the vessel’s radio room.

Julius — given the identifier ‘Unknown X-9352’ — was interred as an ‘Unknown’ at the Ardennes American Cemetery in Belgium, which is devoted to the fallen of World War II in the region that saw the bloody Battle of the Bulge.

Julius’ remains might have stayed among those of 13 other troops from the doomed LST-523 still resting unidentified at the Ardennes cemetery, had it not been for a U.S. agency that tracks missing combatants, establishing case files for each from witness accounts to DNA testing.

That agency’s efforts led to Julius’ proper identification in 2017.

Julius’ remains were laid next to his brother’s at the Normandy Cemetery yesterday. Their nieces Linda Suiter and Susan Lawrence were on hand for the reburial.

The Pieper twins, callow fellows born of German immigrant parents, worked together for Burlington Railroad and enlisted together in the Navy. Both were radio operators and both were on the same unwieldy flat-bottom boat, Landing Ship Tank Number 523 (LST-523), making the Channel crossing from Falmouth, England to Utah Beach 13 days after the June 6 D-Day landings.

The LST-523 mission was to deliver supplies at the Normandy beachhead and remove the wounded. It never got there.

The vessel struck an underwater mine and sank off the coast. Of the 145 Navy crew members, 117 were found perished.

Thanks to Another Pat for the link.

Category: We Remember

Comments (20)

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  1. Ex-PH2 says:

    Welcome home, boys. Fair winds and following seas to both of you.

    (Callow fellows? Callow hasn’t been used since 1952.)

  2. 2/17 Air Cav says:

    When I saw that the source of the story was a UK publication, I googled their names and got hit after hit after hit from US sources. Nearly all reported the same brief facts, But then I found this, a 16-year old girl’s history project from 2015. You will be heartened to read it. Guaranteed.
    http://www.kvnonews.com/2015/12/ainsworth-teen-reviving-the-story-of-brothers-who-died-in-wwii/

    • A. Young says:

      What a remarkable young lady. I thank her for what she did for those boys.

      And to Henry and Louie Pieper, I’m happy you two are finally reunited. Welcome home and may you rest in peace.

    • OldSoldier54 says:

      Young’ns like this give me hope for the Republic.

      Well done, Miss Taylor.

      Rest there, little Brothers. I’ll see you in a while.

    • USAFRetired says:

      This was the final piece on last nights CBS Evening news. So even the MSM got in the act. They even touched on the school project.

      I wonder why the remains recovered off the Normandy coast but unidentified were buried in Belgium (Ardennes Cemetery instead of at the Normandy Cemetery.

      I’m glad the brothers are reunited.

    • Mason says:

      Great read, thanks 2/17. Got a little dusty in here all of a sudden.

      • 2/17 Air Cav says:

        “The ones that we don’t necessarily hear about in the movies and in books,” [16-year old Vanessa Taylor said in 2015.. “Just because they didn’t die in a big glorious way didn’t mean that they weren’t important.”

        The little lady gets it. Must have wonderful family.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Thank you for sharing the link and the story about the young lady’s history project on the Pieper twins.

      I as well found various links on the story, but was moved by the Daily Mail link. The article included some interesting facts and great photos of the Pieper twins as well as pictures of the memorial service conducted yesterday in France by the US Navy. Was glad to see the pictures of their nieces.

      To the Pieper twins: Thank you for serving our country in the world’s greatest Navy. You both were never forgotten. Rest In Peace, Brothers…You both are together again. Salute.

    • Sgt K says:

      And here is the website she created for the two brothers:

      http://78868238.nhd.weebly.com/

  3. 19D3OR4 - Smitty says:

    Question, why were French Salvage divers allowed to dive on and salvage a US Navy ship? I thought under maritime law, warships that sank were considered off limits for that sort of thing?

    • Mason says:

      I’d imagine it got reported to US authorities and permission was granted. Or it was in French territorial waters. I think you’re right that we would have first claim to it, but maritime law isn’t an area I can pretend to be knowledgeable.

  4. Sparks says:

    Welcome home Brothers. Rest in peace together. God comfort your family.

  5. RGR 4-78 says:

    Rest in Peace, young Brothers.

  6. The Other Whitey says:

    I thought brothers were no longer allowed to serve in the same ship/unit after the Sullivans went down with USS Juneau. How were these guys on the same ship?

    • 2/17 Air Cav says:

      The Navy policy existed before the loss of the Sullivan brothers. It was triggered, as I understand it, by the loss of many brothers (27 sets!) and a father and son at Pearl Harbor. The policy was not strictly and forbid commanding officers from forwarding requests for same-ship assignment of brothers. To me, never in the Navy, that explains why the Vanessa Taylor story (my cmt above) includes the info that the brothers’ request was to the commanding officer and that he granted it.

  7. Hondo says:

    RM2 Julius H. O. Pieper was accounted for by DPAA on 20 November 2017.

    http://thisainthell.us/blog/?p=76090

    I’m guessing the 8 month delay in internment was due to the logistics of arranging for the internment at a time feasible for surviving family members to attend.

    Rest easy, elder brother-in-arms.

    • AnotherPat says:

      Hondo, perhaps the family in conjunction with the US Navy requested the reburial and memorial be conducted on 19 June 2018, 74 years to the date of their loss?

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