CWG: Private Walter Taylor

Private Walter Taylor

Walter Henry Taylor is one of those people whose details are difficult to track down. From his pension card, he is recorded as having been married to a woman called Lilla Rhoda, and that they had a daughter, Joan Valeria, who was born in April 1916.

Walter’s war grave confirms that he was a Private in the Essex Regiment; his pension records also support this, showing that he was assigned to the 6th Battalion, then the 10th Battalion. The two troops were positioned in different locations during the conflict – the 6th fought the Turkish, including involvement at Gallipoli, while the 10th was based on the Western Front.

An article in the local newspaper – the Taunton Courier and Western Advertiser – reported his death, confirming that he passed at the War Hospital in Preston, Northampton. He had been in service for more than a year, having previously been employed by Redwood & Sons in Taunton. The newspaper went on to report that Private Taylor had been suffering from ill health and had been hospitalised in both France and England.

The name is a fairly common one, and my usual resource, Ancestry, wasn’t bringing up anything concrete around him. There are no definitive birth or marriage records and the censuses I have been able to locate do not convince me that they relate to the name on the gravestone.

There is a Walter Harry Taylor, who was born in Bridgwater in 1883, one of ten children to Henry John Taylor and his wife Emma; Henry was a sailmaker, while Walter went into boot making.

The 1911 census picks up this Walter in St Pancras, London, where he was working as a boot trade shop assistant, while boarding with a dressmaker called Minnie Adelaide Lloyd.

While these seem likely candidates for Walter, there is nothing to definitively connect the documents to the man being researched. What potentially sways it, is that Redwood & Sons (Walter’s pre-service employer) were a boot and shoe dealer.

Sadly, the only other definitive documentation of Walter’s life is that he passed away on 14th July 1918, from a kidney sarcoma. He was 35 years old.

Walter Henry (Harry) Taylor lies at rest in the St John’s Cemetery in his presumed home town of Bridgwater, Somerset.

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