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Loyd Dexter Beckner
Clarksburg Exponent
25 June 1944

West Virginia Veterans Memorial


Loyd Dexter Beckner

"Care must be taken in telling our proud tale not to claim for the British Army an undue share what is undoubtedly the greatest American battle of the war, and will, I believe, be regarded as an ever famous American victory."

Winston Churchill

Loyd Dexter Beckner was born on September 23, 1922, in Philippi, Barbour County, West Virginia, to Virginia (known as Virgie) and Dock Franklin Beckner. While his name is sometimes spelled as Lloyd in various records, the most authoritative refer to him as Loyd. One example is that he signed his name as Loyd on his draft card.

Mr. Beckner was known at times as Dock, Franklin, or D. F. He was married three times, first to Cora, then to Virgie (who passed away in 1926), and then to Nora Schoonover, whom he married in 1927. Because of this, Loyd Beckner had several stepsiblings, not all of whom may have been discovered in research for this memorial biography.

In the 1930 Federal Census, the record indicates that D. F. and Nora Beckner lived in the Philippi District, where Mr. Beckner was a carpenter. In the household with them were offspring Herbert, Wilma, and Ralph. Another daughter, Ruth Lyons, was in the household, and a stepson of Mr. Beckner, named Buford. A daughter, named Avis, lived nearby. She was married to Charles Phillips.

In 1940, the family still lived in or near Philippi, and Mr. Beckner was a carpenter with his own shop. In the household were his wife Nora, Loyd, Ralph, Ruth Lyons, and her children. In a 2008 obituary for Ralph Beckner, there were three more sisters mentioned who were not listed in census documents.

After graduation from Philippi High School, Loyd Beckner moved to New York City, where his half-brother also lived. ("Bodies of Two Soldiers Returned," Philippi Republican, 16 August 1949.) Loyd Beckner's draft card indicates he registered for military service on June 30, 1942. Loyd Beckner had been living and working in New York and working at the Hotel New Yorker. This explains why he is listed as a New York veteran in a World War II casualty list. (U.S. Rosters of the World War II Dead.)

Loyd Beckner was placed with the 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion. A webpage devoted to the Tank Destroyer Battalions lists a summary of the accomplishments of the 610th:

Activated on 11 April 1942 at Camp Barkeley, Texas, as a towed battalion. Arrived Greenock, Scotland, on 11 June 1944. Landed at Utah Beach on 31 July. Committed to action 10 August near Craon, France, and participated in elimination of Falaise Pocket. Raced east to the Moselle River by September. Converted to the M36 in September-October. Helped clear Maginot Line fortifications in November. Ordered to the Ardennes on 21 December. Helped eliminate the Bulge in January 1945. Battled through Siegfried Line in February near Brandscheid. Transferred back south in March. Crossed the Rhine at Worms on 29 March. Raced through central and southern Germany in April and reached the vicinity of Munich by month's end. Ended war in Ingolstadt. Attached to: 4th, 26th, 35th, 42d, 80th, 87th Infantry divisions; 101st Cavalry Group ("The Tank Destroyer Battalions," accessed 3 July 2020, summarizes operations in the Battle of the Bulge as follows:

Lasting six brutal weeks, from December 16, 1944, to January 25, 1945, the assault, also called the Battle of the Ardennes, took place during frigid weather conditions, with some 30 German divisions attacking battle-fatigued American troops across 85 miles of the densely wooded Ardennes Forest.

As the Germans drove into the Ardennes, the Allied line took on the appearance of a large bulge, giving rise to the battle's name. The battle proved to be the costliest ever fought by the U.S. Army, which suffered over 100,000 casualties. The formerly serene, wooded region of Ardennes was hacked into chaos by fighting as the Americans dug in against the German advance at St.-Vith, Elsenborn Ridge, Houffalize and, later, Bastogne, which was defended by the 101st Airborne Division. ("Battle of the Bulge,", 14 October 2009, accessed 3 July 2020,

Since Loyd Beckner registered on June 30, 1942, he would not have been with 610th for the entirety of its World War II engagement, but he was serving during the time of the Battle of the Bulge. He was killed in action on January 18, 1945, in Belgium, near Luxemburg, which was, at that time, a part of Germany.

Although a notice of his wounding was reported in the Philippi Republican (8 February 1945) as of January 19, the Barbour County death registry concurs with the above account that Loyd Beckner died on January 18, 1945. His remains were returned to West Virginia for interment in Mount Vernon Cemetery, near Philippi, on August 21, 1949.
Headstone for Loyd Beckner in Mount Vernon Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Headstone for Loyd Beckner in Mount Vernon Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Loyd Beckner is listed as one of the fallen of the 610th in The 610th Tank Destroyer Battalion by Captain Roy T. McGrann. (1946.) The book describes the battles in which the 610th was engaged and describes an artillery attack on the command post, which resulted in the death of one man on January 1. It's not known whether this was Loyd Beckner since one newspaper account indicates that he was wounded.

Two of Loyd Beckner's brothers also served in World War II. Ralph Beckner served with the 137th Infantry and returned home with a Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Herbert Beckner served in the U.S. Navy.

Article prepared by Cynthia Mullens
November 2020


Loyd Dexter Beckner

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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