George Thomas Taylor
Date of birth: 1896
Date of death: 18.9.1918
Regiment: East Kent
Family information: Son of Abraham and Susannah of Shaws Buildings Kirkhamgate
Service number: G/14796
George enlisted at Wakefield and I believe started out as Private 14657 of the Durham Light Infantry before he became Corporal G/14796 of The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) 6th Battalion.
This battalion was part of the British Fourth Army that took part in the Battle of Epehy in which the village of Epehy was captured by the 12th (Eastern) Division including The Buffs, on 18th September - the day George was killed in action. The battalion had spent several days at rest in St Pierre Wood having attacked and taken the village of Guyencourt on 7th September. The days were spent training in the morning and bathing and football in the afternoon. During the night of the 17th September there were heavy thunderstorms “causing considerable discomfort to the troops.” The fighting strength of the battalion was noted as 15 officers and 320 other ranks. The following day (18th) they attacked and captured the villages of Peiziers and Epehy but “the opposition was very strong and considerable difficulty was experienced before the objectives were gained.” Casualties that day – including George – were recorded as 11 killed, 22 wounded and 2 missing.
The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects records his next of kin being his father Abraham. He is buried at the Epehy Wood Farm Cemetery, France and he is also remembered on the Kirkhamgate Memorial and Wrenthorpe Colliery Memorial. He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
The previous month on 7th August his brother Percy, a plumber’s apprentice, had enlisted at Pontefract but fortunately for Abraham and Susannah the war ended before he was sent abroad.
The Wakefield Express reported his death:
“CORPORAL GEORGE THOMAS TAYLOR, East Kents, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Abraham Taylor of Kirkhamgate is reported to have been killed in action on September 17th. Prior to enlisting he was an apprentice with Mr Atkinson, plumber, Thornes Lane.”
However, on 12th October 1918 they had an alternative occupation for him:
“CORPORAL GEORGE THOMAS TAYLOR, East Kent Regiment, Lister’s Buildings, Kirkhamgate was killed in action on September 18th. He was single and 22 years of age and previous to enlistment was a joiner’s apprentice.”
George’s family donated a font to the Wesleyan Methodist Church in Kirkhamgate. It was made of marble and inscribed “Sacred to the memory of 14796 Corporal George Thomas Taylor 6th Batt. East Kent Regt. Killed in action at Epehy France 18th September 1918”. This was given to the new “Rehoboth” Chapel when it opened in 1939, which is now called Lindale Methodist Chapel, Kirkhamgate.
George Thomas Taylor was the son of Abraham and Susannah of Shaws Buildings, Kirkhamgate. He was born on 9th September 1896 and baptised at Kirkhamgate Wesleyan Methodist Chapel on 25th January 1897.
By 1901 the family were living at Lister Buildings and Abraham was a yeast merchant. As well as George Thomas they had another son, Percy, who was aged 8 months. A third son, Arthur, was born in 1903 but he died before his first birthday and in the 1911 census the family of four were still living in Kirkhamgate, with George now a twister in the rope making industry.