|Marines near the Matanikau River where Lt. Taylor started his patrol that earned him a posthumous Navy Cross.|
Seventy-five years ago today newspapers across the country ran headlines like Jap Fleet Quits Guadalcanal and British Attach Rommel. At home the favorite song was White Christmas by Bing Crosby. Folks were going to the movies to watch Claudette Colbert in The Palm Beach Story or I Married a Witch with Fredric March and Veronica Lake. That Saturday night, families could tune into their radios and listen to Your Hit Parade or Ellery Queen.
October 31, 1942 was also a day that would see the demise of at least 55 Americans who died serving their country that day. That is how many who died on October 31, 1942 also had headstones ordered on their behalf after the war. Total lost that day was probably four times higher.
One of those lost was Harold Taylor who's 100th birthday was earlier this year. He was born on March 29, 1917 in Ohio. His parents were also both born in Ohio. By 1940 Harold was likely attending Union College in Schenectady, New York as a senior studying accounting.
He became a lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division which surprised the Japanese when it landed on Guadalcanal on August 7, 1942 and captured Henderson Air Field. On October 29, Lt. Taylor volunteered to lead a patrol into the area west of the Matanikau River. In direct view of the enemy, his patrol was able to destroy two enemy field pieces and withdrawal without injury. Two days later he lead another patrol, this time he was engaged by a dug-in, numerically superior Japanese force. He was able to get his men back safely, but lost his own life in the process.
Lt. Taylor was posthumously award the Navy Cross for this action.
His remains were returned to be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
On behalf of the fallen, if you would like to see more people become aware of this project to honor the WW2 fallen, be sure to share with others on Twitter, Facebook, etc. Thanks for your interest!
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