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Pte. Jack Daniel McLennan Taylor, 13th Bn., CEF

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Private Jack Daniel McLennan Taylor (1887 - 1915) RIP

"Nemo Me Impune Lacessit"

Killed in action 89 years ago today.

From the CWGC:

Name: Taylor, Jack

Initials: J

Nationality: Canadian

Rank: Private

Regiment: Canadian Infantry (Quebec Regt.)

Unit Text: 13th Bn.

Age: 26

Date of Death: 24/04/1915

Service No: 24565

Additional information: Husband of Mrs. E. A. Taylor, of Port Hope, Ontario.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Panel 24 - 26 - 28 - 30

Cemetery: Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial

Note: The CWGC listed age (26) at time of death is not correct. According to Pte. Taylor's attestation papers he should be listed as age 28 at time of death.

From The NAC and other sources:

Military History:

Name: Taylor, Jack Daniel McLennan

Regimental number: 24565 (13th Bn. block of numbers was from 24001 to 25500)

Rank: Private (batman)

Original unit: 13th Infantry Battalion (Royal Highlanders of Canada)

Previous military service: Royal Canadian Horse Artillery

Date of enlistment: September 23, 1914

Place of enlistment: Valcartier, Québec

Disposition: Arrived in Plymouth, England October 14, 1914 aboard the R.M.S. Alaunia; arrived in St. Nazaire, France on February 15, 1915 aboard the S.S. Novian; KIA (missing) April 24, 1915 (Second Ypres)

Personal History:

Date of birth: April 13, 1887

Place of birth: Edinburgh, Scotland

Next of kin: Alice Taylor (wife) 224 Montreal Street, Kingston, Ontario

Hight: 5 ft. 6 in.

Complexion: Dark

Eyes: Blue

Hair: Dark

Distinctive marks: Various tattoos on right and left arms

Religious denomination: Presbyterian

Trade or calling: Soldier

Attestation papers: here

From the 13th Battalion's history The 13th Battalion Royal Highlanders of Canada 1914-1919 published in 1925 (pages 49-51):

"Dawn on April 24th found the men of the 13th Battalion in the position to which they retired the night before. Starting from the point where the new line pivoted on the flank of the 15th Battalion, the companies were disposed from right to left as follows: the Buffs and then the companies of the 13th in numerical order. The left flank, extended towards St. Julien, was held by No. 3 Company of the 14th R.M.R., under Major Gault McCombe. To the left of these again was a single platoon of the 13th, under Lieut. S. B. Lindsay, while his left was held by three companies of the 7th Canadian Battalion. Beyond these was a mixture of units hurriedly pushed forward to meet the menace the German break through had caused.

Soon after daybreak the Germans again used gas, which fell with particular severity on the trenches of the 15th Battalion to the right, and followed this with another intense bombardment, wrecking the shallow trenches that had been dug and causing further loses. Under cover of this shell fire the enemy infantry worked closer and closer, endeavouring to rush the remnant of the Highlanders and administer the coup de grace.

It was at this stage of the struggle that Capt. Gerald Lees was killed and Capt. L. W. Whitehead fatally wounded. Both these officers had displayed resource and courage and their loss to the Battalion was a heavy one.

About 9 a.m. Major Buchanan decided that, as a result of the unit on his right having been forced to retire, his position was no longer tenable and orders were issued to the companies to fall back to a location some distance in the rear, taking advantage meanwhile of every bit of cover to harass and impede the German advance.

Through some unfortunate error this order did not reach McCuaig, of No. 1 Coy., nor Tomlinson, of the Buffs, until the retirement had actually begun. McCuaig, finding that his only way back was across fifty yards of open ground, realized that his chances were slim. Rallying the remnant of his company, about forty in number, he issued the necessary orders and the attempt to cross the open space began. Not many made that fifty yards in safety. The Germans had been expecting some such move and swept the open with rifle and machine gun fire the moment the retreating Highlanders broke cover. A few got across, but the majority went down before they had covered half the distance. The Buffs. whose commanding officer had been wounded and whose numbers had dwindled to a scant fifty, remained in their position and were cut off and captured.

It was at this time that Lieut. C. B. Pitblado displayed the greatest gallantry in carrying back Capt. Whitehead, who had been mortally wounded in the head and was out of his senses. Being hit in the knee himself, Pitblado was compelled to abandon Whitehead, who was by this time quite unconscious. Subsequently Pitblado met McCuaig and the two, having seen to the retirement of the remnant of their men, were going back together when McCuaig was wounded in the knee. A few moments later McCuaig was hit through both legs and rendered helpless. Refusing to abandon his senior, Pitblado bandaged the latter's wounds under heavy fire. Just as this task was completed, Pitblado was again wounded in the leg, which finished his chances of getting away. Lying helplessly in the open, McCuaig was hit four more times before he and Pitblado were picked up by the Germans, whose advance reached them some ten minutes later. For the courage and devotion to duty they were, at a subsequent date, awarded respectively the Distinguished Service Order and the Military Medal.

Meanwhile the other companies, lashed by rifle and machine gun fire and hard pressed by the German infantry, continued their slow retreat, stopping frequently to administer a stinging check when the Germans trod too closely on their heels. Heavy losses were incured during this movement, Capt. Jamieson, Capt. Perry and Lieut. Greenshields being wounded in quick succession. Capt. Perry's wound, however, did not incapacitate him and he was able to carry on. Finally a line was reached where the retreat was ended and orders issued to "stand fast."

All day the Battalion held this line under heavy fire, while urgent messages were sent back to headquarters for ammunition and reinforcements. About 3 o'clock Lieut.-Col. Loomis arrived, accompanied by Privates Simpson and Brittan, who had carried messages back to him, and some Pioneers with ammunition. With him he brought the glad news that relief was on the way. Until this arrived, Capt. Clark-Kennedy, with Lieuts. Lindsay and MacTier and a small party, maintained close touch with the Germans. At about dusk several battalions of British troops came up and, passing through the weary Canadian lines, carried the war to the enemy."

From the 13th Battalion war diary:


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Jack Taylor not forgotten, remembered with honor! I grew up in Edinburgh, and have Taylors in my family, Thank You for posting this! Shelley

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Bill Alexander

Amazing to compare the sparse comments in the war diary with the real events that were unfolding around Ypres. War diaries range from sparse to poetic depending upon the officer assigned to keep the record. It is amazing that anything of substance was recorded during times of heavy operations. Comparing the battalion history with the war diary makes one wonder what the historian has emphasized in his record, and what he in his turn has left out or didn't know?

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I owned Jack's Trio and Memorial Plaque (c1988-90) The medals were swing mounted as 'worn' presumably by his next of kin. His Memorial Plaque simply read, 'Jack Taylor'.

I could kick myself for trading his medals!!!

I hope they are in a good home today.

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