After Betty Taylor got in contact with the sister of Dora Vogels and me, she had an irresistible urge to learn more about her brother who she never really knew. She tried to figure out if her brother's army buddies were still alive. What was the exact spot where Lester was killed....?

I brought her in contact with Mark Bando who is an 101 Airborne expert and writer of books about the 101 Airborne Division. Mark succeed in finding the names etc. of Lester's brothers in arms: John.P. Lachpovic (36125328) (the man saved from the canal in Normandy by Lester) Lt. Robert G. Burns, Sgt. Paul Cooney (15117352) Pvt Joseph L. McCanley, Jr. From US Hospital Plant 4150, Pvt. Harold Ray Blair (34888155) from US Army Hospital Plant 4146, Cpl. Glenn A. Moe (39604102). He found out that Bob Tripp was still alive.

Betty got in contact with him and this is what she wrote me:

"Just talked to Bob Tripp! He has memory of Lester at the time he was killed. He just added detail to what the company commander Champ Baker had written to us! Bob didn't actually see Lester killed, but was told at the time of what happened to him. Bob can't remember exactly the spot, but that it was at a crossroads of a large North to South highway and small East to West road leading to Best....4 corners intersection. (see left map) Lester wanted to cross over to help on other side of road block where more men were needed and took a route through a house to get there..but Germans were hidden inside the house... he exchanged gunfire with them and was fatally wounded...he was able to walk out of the house and he had a live grenade in his hand which he tossed, then fell dead. He said this is near where Lt Colonel Cole was killed 1 or 2 days earlier while placing the orange banners.. Bob (Robert Tripp) is sending me pictures, and I'm sending him copies of my information. Bob was wounded two times, but returned each time and fought through to Austria. I still hope to find someone who also knows the facts...I am waiting to get a roster from Bob Hartzell and where everyone is today... "

The map on the left shows the actual situation of the Airborne Divisions on September 19, 1944. Probably the spot were Lester was killed in action was the intersection of the roads North-East of the word "Best". In the Son woods near the Best border was heavy fighting. The German Army Division under command of Poppes fled and left behind 300 men kia. and 1400 pow. This tell's a lot of the original strength of that German force.
click image to view enlarged photo

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pictures on this page courtesy Betty Taylor.

© Peter van de Wal