James Roy Tash

James Roy Tash was born 29-DEC 1921 in Kansas.  His father was Arthur Alfred (Fred) Tash (1894–1956) and his mother was Myrtle May (Golden) Tash (1897–1982).  He had two brothers: Herbert and Alfred, and one sister Vernice.  He married Edna Mae Burch (1920–2000) and they lived on 22nd Street in St. Louis. They had one son Robert Dean Tash who died shortly after birth.

Private Tash entered the U.S. Army from Missouri and served in F Company, 2nd Battalion, 31st Infantry Regiment in the Philippines. The 31st Infantry was assigned to cover the withdrawal of units to the Bataan peninsula and Corregidor.  As a result of the rapid retreat, many units were forced to abandon crucial supplies and heavy weapons. In order to allow the defensive lines time to stabilize, General MacArthur ordered five thousand men, including the 31st, to fight a delaying action against elements of the Japanese a few miles south of the destroyed Layac bridge on 6 January 1942.  The 31st incurred heavy casualties by the time it rejoined the main defensive line at Abucay on 9 January.  Despite dwindling supplies and mounting losses, the 31st and other units defending Bataan managed to halt the Japanese advance and forced them to withdraw and await reinforcements from China over the next several weeks before renewing their offensive.

Disease such as malaria and dysentery became rampant on both sides, particularly the Americans and Filipinos when medical supplies were exhausted.  Fifty percent of the 31st Infantry and the rest of the defenders were sick and malnourished by the time the Japanese renewed their offensive in early April.  As American and Filipino forces on Bataan surrendered to the Japanese on 9 April, remnants of the 31st escaped to Corregidor aboard the gunboat USS Mindanao, with the regimental colors and the prized Shanghai Bowl.  Intense fighting continued until the surrender of U.S. forces on the Bataan peninsula on 9-APR 1942, and Corregidor Island on 6-MAY 1942.

Private James Tash was among the U.S. personnel who surrendered in Bataan.  According to prison camp and other historical records, Private Tash died 19-JUL 1942, and was buried along with other deceased prisoners in the local Cabanatuan Camp Cemetery in Common Grave 312.

Now, James is coming home.  His remains were identified and James Roy Tash will be buried at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery on 7-APR 2023. For more of his story, click on the link below.


Please contact the St. Charles County Veterans Museum Oral History project at sccvetsmuseum@gmail.com or call 636-294-2657 for more information and lets’ talk. We want to hear from you because we know…Every Veteran has a story.