Ralph G. Robeson
Written by Library Director Kathy Growney
The Town of Tyngsborough is brimming with history! As you walk and drive around town, you’ll notice Tyngsborough’s past encompasses its historic houses, stone walls, and cemeteries. Looking a bit closer, you will find signs denoting Memorial Squares, also known as Hero Squares.
These were created in honor of a fallen soldier or first responder. One of them is located just down the street from the
library at the corner of Bryant Lane and Middlesex Road: the Ralph G. Robeson Square.
Ralph G. Robeson was born December 2, 1920 to George A. and Meriam A. Robeson in Nashua, NH. By 1930, the family was living at 250 Middlesex Road in Tyngsborough (with later records listing the home at 265 Middlesex Road). He graduated from Winslow Grammar School and Lowell High School.
According to Robeson’s draft card, he was 21 when he registered on February 16, 1942 in Groton, MA. At the time he was working for Southwell Wool Combing Co. of North Chelmsford. Robeson was 5’9” tall and had brown hair and brown eyes.
In August 1942, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to the Army Air Forces Training Center at Miami Beach, Florida. He then earned his wings as an aerial gunner at the Flexible Gunnery School at Tyndall Field, Florida with the rank of Staff Sergeant.
In the spring of 1943, he was deployed overseas as a member of the Eighth Air Force. He worked as a right waist gunner within the 351st Bomb Group based in Polebrook, Northamtonshire, England and went by the nickname “Pappy”.
The family received notification on October 15, 1943 that he went missing in action on October 4. The B17 he was in crashed at the mouth of the River Scheldt, two miles from Flushing, Holland. This was publicly announced in the October 20, 1945 edition of The Lowell Sun with Sergeant Robeson listed as “missing in flying fortress over Europe.”
He received the following awards for his service: Air Medal, Purple Heart, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Good Conduct Medal, World War II Victory Medal. His name is on a monument at the Netherlands American Cemetery and Memorial in Margraten, Eijden-Margraten Municipality, Limburg, Netherlands.