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Roscoe Harry Moles
Courtesy Moles family

West Virginia Veterans Memorial

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Roscoe Harry Moles
1925-1944

"It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God such men lived."

General George S. Patton

On October 14, 1925, Roscoe Harry Moles was born in Elkview, West Virginia, to Erra Moles and Bessie Strickland. He had one brother, Erra Moles Jr., who gave him the nickname “Toe,” when Erra was learning to talk and couldn’t pronounce his brother’s name properly. Roscoe grew up in Elkview and attended Elk District High School until his junior year. While in high school, he played on the football team. According to his cousin, Carol Moles-Jarrett, he enjoyed telling the story of one particular game when he had fallen ill, and his brother, Erra, put on his uniform and played in his place. Another sport that he enjoyed just as much was boxing.
Roscoe Moles

Courtesy Moles family

Roscoe enlisted in the Army as an 11B/Infantryman in Huntington, West Virginia, on January 17, 1944, during his junior year of high school. He was a private in Lima Company of the 141st Infantry Regiment, 36th Infantry Division, which was a Texas National Guard unit that had been activated for World War II. At the time of his enlistment, his unit was deployed to Rapido River, Italy. That campaign lasted until February 27, 1944. On May 22, 1944, the 141st Regiment landed at Anzio, Italy, reinforcing the Fifth Army. They moved the line and began a full-scale assault at Velletri, Italy, on June 1, 1944. As a result, the German line crumbled south of Rome and began to retreat. Roscoe’s unit was then redeployed to France on August 15, 1944, for their second combat assault, which lasted through the fall, as they fought through the Vosges Mountains of France.

On October 5, 1944, Private Roscoe Moles was wounded and died two days later from those wounds. His remains were later sent back home and buried at the Strickland Cemetery in Elkview, West Virginia, on May 30, 1948. He was the only one of his classmates to lose his life to the war before graduation, and it left a lasting mark on his peers. He lived a short life, but it was no less appreciated and no less remembered.

Article prepared by Virginia Cook and Bryce Sullivan, George Washington High School JROTC
May 2018

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Roscoe Harry Moles

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