TAYLOR, Thomas

Gunner Thomas Taylor
85876 Gunner Royal Field Artillery

EThomas Taylor was born in 1893 at Ironville, Derbyshire son of Thomas Taylor a puddler born Durham and his wife Ann Maria (nee Lewis). In 1911 the family was living at 2, Meadow Street, Ironville and Thomas was employed as an iron worker, moulding pipes. Thomas had an elder brother William and a younger brother named Joseph.

Thomas attested on 1st February 1915 at Derby aged 21 years and 5 months, signing up for the duration of the war. His employer ‘The Butterley Company’ entered his name on their Roll of Honour of employees who had left the Butterley Company ‘to serve their country in the European War of 1914’.  He gave his occupation as moulder and his height was noted as 5’7″.  He served at home in the UK  for the first 7 months embarking for France on 4th September 1915. In November 1915 he embarked at Marseilles as part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force en route for Salonika. He served in Salonika as a signaller, telegraphist until July 1916 when he contracted dysentery and was admitted to a field hospital.

Taylot T Warilda sml

In October 1916 he was still unwell and was discharged and sent back home to the UK. His commanding officer noted that Thomas was of a sober disposition, intelligent and reliable ‘a first class man and a great loss to the battery and on the point of promotion when he went sick.’ He returned  aboard Hospital Ship Warilda, an Australian transport ship used as a troopship and then a hospital ship.  Thomas was admitted to the Belmont Road Auxiliary Military Hospital in Liverpool where he remained until 22nd December 1916.

Despite being debilitated by dysentery, Thomas recovered and by April 1917, he was back in France as part of the British Expeditionary Force and in the September of that year was wounded but his record notes that despite this, he remained at duty. On 21st September 1918 he was appointed paid Lance Bombardier. He served until after the end of the war as part of the Army of Occupation in Germany. Thomas was a recipient of the 1914-15 Star, the Victory and British War Medals.

EOn returning home Thomas resumed his duties as bandmaster with the Somercotes Corps of the Salvation Army. He was an accomplished cornet player.

Photo: Thomas is in the back row far left.

Thomas served as a bandmaster for 56 years.  He and his brother were fondly known in the district as ‘the brothers Taylor’ and were present at both the unveiling of the Jacksdale and Ironville War Memorials. They also played the ‘Last Post’ at numerous Armistice Day Parades around the area.  Extract from the 1923 unveiling of the Ironville Memorial:- ‘The memorial, which was draped with Union Jack, was unveiled by the General, after which the chairman read the names of the 45 men who had made the supreme sacrifice. Several minutes silence was followed by the sounding of the Last Post by the Bros. Taylor, of the Salvation Army‘.