134th Infantry Regiment Crest

134th Infantry Regiment

"All Hell Can't Stop Us"

35th Infantry Division emblem

Pfc Roger W. Taylor

Company E

Pfc Roger W Taylor

Pfc Roger Wayne Taylor

Roger Taylor was a farm boy from Beloit, Ohio, a small village in northeastern Ohio of less than eight hundred people.  Roger and Virginia Israel were engaged to be married when he was drafted.  Now 94 years old, Virginia tells of their car ride to the train station when he left for overseas.  With his parents in the front seat, she whispered in his ear, "a penny for your thoughts."  As if by premonition he replied, "My thoughts are going to cost me a lot more than a penny someday."  Roger never returned to marry his high school sweetheart, both graduates of the Class of 1942.

Virginia Israel and Roger W Taylor

Pfc. Roger W Taylor and Virginia Israel

Pfc. Roger W. Taylor was a rifleman in Company E, 2nd Battalion, 134th Infantry Regiment. He joined the Regiment on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1944 at Metz, France. Earlier that month the 35th Infantry Division had fought its way across the Blies River into Germany, sustaining heavy casualties. Since landing on Omaha Beach July 5, 1944, the Division had fought continuously for 162 days. They were in Metz for some well-earned rest and to regroup.

Plans changed quickly when the Nazis launched their surprise counterattack in the Ardennes trapping the 101st Airborne in Bastogne.  On Christmas Day, the 35th Infantry Division received orders to move early the next morning. Roger was one of hundreds of replacements who joined the Division that December.  For many the Battle of the Bulge would be their first battle. For many others it would be their last.

On January 6, 1945, just thirteen days after joining the 134th Infantry Regiment, Roger Taylor was reported missing in action (MIA).  His unit had departed the town of Sainlez, Belgium heading north toward Lutrebois with the mission of protecting the Regiment's right flank. The 134th Infantry had been tasked with securing, on December 29th initially and then holding thereafter, the town of Lutrebois and the roadway through the open valley between thickly wooded ridges paralleling it on each side between Lutrebois and Lutremange to the southeast. The 2nd Battalion (including Taylor's Company E) was engaged for the succeding week across that valley with German forces (including the 1st SS Panzer Division "Leibstandarte Adolf Hitler") assaulting and partially encircling them before being driven back.

Taylor was last seen moving onto high ground when, according to the official MIA Report, "the Company was forced to withdraw to old positions before return of patrol. Man not heard of since."  Although his body was recovered by the 3048th Graves Registration Company on January 15, 1945, his family was not informed of his death until late February or sometime thereafter.  The official KIA Report confirms that he died near Lutrebois on January 6, 1945 when he was hit in the chest by shrapnel from artillery. He is buried at Luxembourg American Cemetery.

Area where Roger Taylor was Killed in Action

Topographic map of same area

High resolution version of map

Pfc Taylor's home town was Beloit, Ohio, a small village located between Alliance to it's west, and Salem to it's east. Towards the north end, at the central street crossing, there is a small monument with a bronze plaque listing the five men from the village who were killed in World War II, Roger's name among them.


Taylor Farm Beloit, Ohio

Farm where Roger Taylor grew up. Photo taken in 2017. The modern steel buildings were not there in 1944. The farm has since been subdivided and was much larger when Roger Taylor lived there, but the original home is seen here.

In November 2019, the Beloit, Ohio Historical Society received a telephone call from the U.S. Embassy in Paris.  A French resident near Jarny, France had unearthed a group of 19 dog tags while doing some excavation. One belonged to Roger Taylor.  It is unknown how these dog tags got there but all were from soldiers who had died during the Battle of the Bulge.

At a well-attended ceremony on Sunday, December 29, 2019, Col. Matthew Woodruff, of the Adjutant General's Office of the Ohio National Guard, presented Taylor's dog tags to Leland VanCamp, President of the Beloit Historical Society. Ken Bandy, the son of Roger's fiancee Virginia Israel Bandy, spoke about Taylor's life in Beloit and his military service leading to the day of his death.

Col Matthew Woodruff, Leland VanCamp  Ken Bandy

Col. Matthew Woodruff, Ohio National Guard, presents Taylor's dog tags to Leland VanCamp, President Beloit Historical Society

Ken Bandy with Pfc Roger Taylor's dog tags

Here is a link to a video of that presentation ceremony: "Remembering Roger", Beloit Historical Society, December 29, 2019

Thanks to Pete Donatucci, Ken Bandy, and Yuri Beckers for this information and for the photographs and video.

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