Alfred R Taylor was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire, in 1886, and was one of six children to James and Agnes Taylor. James was a jobbing gardener, who had been born near Chichester in West Sussex.
Agnes had been born in Tarring, near Worthing, and strong connections to her home town seemed to remain. In the 1891 census, Alfred was boarding with his aunt – Agnes’ sister – in Worthing and, ten years later, both of his parents and all of his siblings were also living there.
By 1911, Alfred was working as a nursery gardener – given his father’s work, this is not surprising, and, at the time, the coastal slopes of the South Downs were filled with orchards, farms and nursery greenhouses.
Tantalisingly, there is not a lot more documentation relating to Alfred’s life. When war broke out, he enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery as a Gunner. He joined up in October 1915 and was sent to the Balkans and, as a result of his service, was awarded the Victory and British Medals and the 1915 Star.
Back home on leave, Gunner Taylor married Ellen Mary Sayers at the start of 1918. She was a plumber’s daughter from Worthing, and this was where she and Alfred married.
When the Armistice was declared, Alfred was transferred to the Labour Corps, as part of the Army Reserve force. He passed away on 23rd April 1919, and, while there are no details of his death, it is likely that he fell victim to one of the lung conditions impacting the returning troops at the time. He was just 33 years of age when he died.
Alfred R Taylor was laid to rest in the Broadwater Cemetery in Worthing, not far from where his widow lived.
There are some further details about Ellen Taylor. She and Alfred did not have any children, and she never married again. She passed away in the spring of 1968 in her home town, at the age of 88 years old.