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Remembering World War II
Donald Haig Tosh
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Name: Donald Haig Tosh Rank: Sergeant Service Number: 38084184 Service: 10th Engineer Combat Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, US Army Award: Purple Heart Date of Birth: September 28, 1917 Place of Birth: Belleisle, Annapolis Co., NS Date of Enlistment: February 10, 1942 Age at Enlistment: 24 Place of Enlistment: Colorado Address at Enlistment: Colorado Trade: Sales Clerk Marital Status: Single Next of Kin: Chester H Tosh (Brother) Height: 5 feet, 11 inches Complexion: Light Hair Color: Blonde Eye Color: Blue Date of Death: August 29, 1944 Age: 26 Cemetery: Rhone American Cemetery, Draguignan, France Grave: Plot C, Row 2, Grave 10 Donald Haig Tosh was the son of Arthur Walter Raymond Tosh (1890-1967) and Hazel Weatherspoon (Bent) Tosh (1890-1932). His father was born in Wandsworth, London, England, his mother – in Nova Scotia. His parents married in 1910. Donald had an older brother Chester H. Tosh (1911-2000) and a younger sister Dora Alma Tosh, later Mrs. Dora Kearnes (1916-2006). In 1921, Donald was still living at his maternal grandparents’ (John Albert [1863-1942] and Armina Alma Bent [1862-1941]) in Belleisle, Annapolis Co., NS, with his mother and two siblings. His grandfather was born in England, his grandmother – in Nova Scotia. Donald’s father worked as a salesman. The family immigrated to the US, and settled in Bath, in Steuben County, New York. Donald’s mother died in 1932 and his father Arthur remarried a year later in 1933 – to Agnes M. Hansen (1897-1946). Donald completed 4 years of secondary school at Haverling High in Bath, NY. Donald registered for the US Draft on October 16, 1940, in Bath, NY, and was living in Warsaw, Wyoming Co., NY at the time. He entered the service in Colorado and went on to serve with the 10th Combat Engineer Combat Battalion; part of the United States Army Corps of Engineers. The 10th Engineer Combat Battalion was attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. Best known for pontoon bridge construction and clearing hazards in amphibious landings, their duties also included serving as sappers deploying and deactivating explosive charges and unexploded munitions, map making, camouflage, and a wide variety of construction services supporting frontline troops. They also fielded defensive .30 cal. and .50 cal. machine gun squads, anti-tank rocket and grenade launchers, and were required to fight as infantry as a secondary mission. On August 15, 1944, D-Day for Operation Dragoon (August 15, 1944 – September 14, 1944), the 10th Engineer Combat Battalion, along with the rest of the 3rd Infantry Division, landed at St. Tropez in southern France (Provence), and advanced up the Rhone Valley, through the Vosges Mountains. Sergeant Tosh died in battle four days after the initial landings on August 19, 1944, in the line of duty but details are not known. Sergeant Donald Haig Tosh was interred at the Rhone American Cemetery. The remains of more than 850 American service members who died in WWII lie in a circular burial ground. Most died in the Allied liberation of southern France in 1944. On the face of the memorial of the cemetery, an angel peace watches over the graves, and olive trees among the headstones add to the tranquility of this peaceful place with secluded gardens providing space for quiet contemplation. “Time will not dim the glory of their deeds” – General of the Armies, John J.Pershing
Operation Dragoon invasion fleet off the French Mediterranean coast, August 1944