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Thomas Henry Taylor was baptised in St. Thomas`s Church in Preston on the 8th January 1899 the son of George and Mary Taylor (nee Wilson). Mary was a widower when she married George Taylor on the 31st December 1882 in St. Lawrence`s Church in Chorley. Her first marriage to Edward Vine had taken place in 1878 but ended when he passed away in Bury in 1881. Thomas was one of seven children that George and Mary had together, the others being; Mary Jane (1884), Charles (1887), Annie (1891), George (1894), Albert Victor (1896) and Martha Alice (1902).

In 1901 the Taylor family lived at 45 Moorbrook Street in Preston and Thomas`s father was working as a watchman in a cotton mill. The family also had a lodger, a 22 year old young lady named Clara Wall from Colchester in Essex. The Taylor family was still resident at the same address in Moorbrook Street in 1911 although by this time Thomas`s two eldest siblings Mary Jane and Charles had left home. George Taylor was still employed as a watchman in a mill and 11 year old Thomas was a half-timer (school/mill). Clara Wall the lodger who lived with the family in 1901 was also still living with the family in 1911 and was employed as a cotton weaver.

Sadly, Thomas`s father passed away in either July or August 1914 and after his death the family remained resident at 45 Moorbrook Street.  On the 2nd September 1914 Thomas Henry Taylor left his job as a weaver at the Moorbrook Mill and managed to enlist into the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment at Preston. Thomas`s papers state his age at enlistment as being 19 years and 9 months  when he was in fact only 15 years and 9 months old so four years had been added on to his age. The Medical Officer recorded his height as being 5`6” and his weight as 126lbs and he had a 34” chest. He had a pale complexion, grey eyes and brown hair and his physical condition was said to be good. Thomas named his mother Mary of 45 Moorbrook Street as his next of kin. The Medical Officer duly passed him fit to serve and he was issued with the service number 13911 and posted to the 10th Battalion.

Thomas sailed to France with the 10th Battalion on the 31st July 1915 when he was just sixteen and a half years old. His service papers note that at some point Thomas had qualified as a machine gunner within B Company.

Sadly, Thomas Henry Taylor was killed instantaneously by a shell whilst on duty in the trenches on the 27th June 1916. He was just seventeen and a half years old.

Extract from the 10th Battalion War Diary

23rd June 1916 – The 10th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment relieved the 6th Bedfords in the trenches at 17:30 hours, relief being completed at 19:15 hours.

24th June 1916 – This morning we heavily bombarded the enemy lines opposite Gommecourt – this bombardment lasted all day. At 16:30 hours the firing ceased and aeroplanes went up to see what damage was done. Trenches in a bad muddy condition.

25th June 1916 – Enemy active with minenwerfer and large shells. Heavy bombardment practically all day both on our immediate fronts and on the following points; Essarts, Pigeon Wood, La Brayelle Fme, the `Z` and Gommecourt.

26th June 1916 – Another severe bombardment by our artillery, enemies reply much feebler than preceding day. Trenches still in a very bad condition, rained 2 or 3 times during the day.

27th June 1916 – Bombardment in the morning. At 14:00 hours we discharged some gas – the enemy retaliated with great vigour. Casualties to date: 46 other ranks.

Mary Taylor was notified of the death of her son after which the Preston Guardian printed the following article.13911 Private Thomas Henry Taylor

Thomas`s family later received some of his personal possessions which included; 2 wallets, a pocket book, metal mirror, cards, photos, letters, 1 pipe, 1 knife and his cap badge.

After his death Thomas was buried in Bienvillers Military Cemetery on the Somme.

Photo by Janet Davis - July 2016

Photo by Janet Davis – July 2016

His mother Mary died at Cooper Street in Horwich on the 20th January 1918 and after her death Thomas`s elder brother Charles became his official next of kin. After the war Thomas was awarded the 1915 Star, British War and Victory Medals which his brother Charles Taylor of 32 Lovat Road, Preston signed for.

Rank: Private
Service No: 13911
Date of Death: 27/06/1916
Regiment/Service: The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 10th Bn.

Janet Davis
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