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Geoffbr

What happened to Albert Taylor?

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Geoffbr

7879 Pvt Albert Victor Taylor, 2nd Northants, was admitted to No 34 CCS, located at Tincourt, on 05/07/17 with an accidental wound to his left hand (his third injury of the war).  At the time he was attached to the AD Light Railways, and he was not entitled to a wound stripe, so this may not have been sustained in action.  However, he was shipped out on No 6 Ambulance Train on 07/07/17; the WD for this unit indicates that the train discharged its passengers at Etretat early on the 8th July.  I assume this was at No 1 General Hospital, en route for England.  I cannot find any information regarding his whereabouts from this date forward, until his marriage on 8 April 1918 in Epsom, Surrey.  How he came to be living here is a mystery, since his roots are in Great Yarmouth.  His marriage cert shows him as being a private in 7th Northants (unless this is an error).  

 

I can’t locate his service record so I assume it has been destroyed. I do know that he first attested in 1906 and then again with the same regiment in 1920, so is it possible that his record is still with the MoD?

 

I’d like to trace his movements after July 1917.  Any suggestions where I can go from here?

Edited by Geoffbr
clarification

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ss002d6252
Quote

His marriage cert shows him as being a private in 7th Northants (unless this is an error).   

It is likely that he was allocated to a reserve battalion when back in the UK and then, when fit, allocated to whichever battalion needed men.
 

Do you know his DoB ?


Craig

Edited by ss002d6252

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David_Underdown

Assuming he was born before 1901, you can search the index spreadsheets released by MoD, see https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/foi-responses-released-by-mod-week-commencing-1-december-2014 and look for the items with "Service personnel indexed data for those with a birth date prior to 1901"

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Geoffbr
1 hour ago, ss002d6252 said:

It is likely that he was allocated to a reserve battalion when back in the UK and then, when fit, allocated to whichever battalion needed men.
 

Do you know his DoB ?


Craig

 

Craig: it’s believed to be 16 Jan 1889, but there were two other births in Great Yarmouth in 1889 with the same name.

 

Geoff

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Stebie9173

I have him noted as Wounded (at least) twice:

  • Reported as Wounded as a Private with 1st Bn. per the Times of 12-6-1915 - this is a big list of 1st Battalion men wounded at the Battle of Aubers Ridge on 9-5-1915.
  • Reported as Wounded as a L/Cpl. per the Official Casualty Lists of 29-10-1918 (Daily List) (Residence recorded as Epsom) - we're probably counting back about 6 weeks from here. No battalion details are given. I may be able to work out a possible battalion from others wounded in the same list. My initial guess would be 5th or 6th Battalion.

 

There are two A V Taylors in the MOD list with exactly the same day/month as that above, but not in 1889:

 

File reference: ADT000614903

Army number: 5876953 (Northamptonshire Regiment series was 5875001 to 5931000)

Name:TAYLOR AV
Regiment: NULL (i.e. not stated)

Date of birth: 1887-01-16

 

 

File reference: ADH000578714

Army number: 5780103 (Norfolk Regiment series was 5763001 to 5819000)

Name: TAYLOR AV

Regiment: NORFOLK

Date of birth: 1890-01-16
 

 

 

Steve.

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PRC
On 06/03/2019 at 16:04, Geoffbr said:

 I cannot find any information regarding his whereabouts from this date forward, until his marriage on 8 April 1918 in Epsom, Surrey.  How he came to be living here is a mystery, since his roots are in Great Yarmouth.  His marriage cert shows him as being a private in 7th Northants (unless this is an error).  

 

I’d like to trace his movements after July 1917.  Any suggestions where I can go from here?

 

On 06/03/2019 at 18:02, Geoffbr said:

 

Craig: it’s believed to be 16 Jan 1889, but there were two other births in Great Yarmouth in 1889 with the same name. 

 

 

If you have the marriage certificate then you should have fathers name and profession which should help narrow down the likely birth.

 

There is only one Albert Victor Taylor in the civil birth records for the Yarmouth District of Norfolk in 1887 - 1891, and that was in the April to June quarter, (Q2) of 1889. His mothers’ maiden name was Bacon.

 

There also isn’t another Albert Victor in Norfolk during that same period. I checked Suffolk as well, as Gorleston was still in Suffolk at that time, but also drew a blank there.

 

It may be a co-incidence but an Emily Hannah Bacon, a spinster, age 22, married an Edward Robert Taylor, bachelor, aged 22, at St Nicholas, Great Yarmouth, on the 8th August 1886. Edward, a Fisherman, lived at Row 124. Emily lived at Row 112. His father was an Engineer and hers a Waterman.

Source: https://www.freereg.org.uk/search_records/58183295e93790eb7f59d162?locale=en&search_id=5c86f5d4f493fd645ecf7ab6&ucf=false

 

On the 1891 Census of England and Wales the 2 year old Albert V Taylor, born Great Yarmouth, was recorded living at 9 Row 28, Great Yarmouth. Head of the household is his married mother, Emily Taylor, aged 25 and born Great Yarmouth. Emily has two other children living with her, aged 7 and 4, so possibly doesn’t quite tie in with the marriage date.

 

While Emily may be estranged from her husband, it was quite common in fishing communities in Norfolk and Suffolk, (and probably elsewhere), for the wives to describe themselves as the Head of the Household while their men were away at sea. Of the four other households on the same page of the census schedule there are two other households headed up by married woman.

 

There doesn’t appear to be a match on subsequent censuses for Albert, and only potentially a 44 year old widowed Emily in 1911.

 

On the 1911 Census there is however a “24” year old Albert Taylor, born Yarmouth, Norfolk and single, who was recorded serving as a Private in the 2nd Northamptonshire Regiment. They were then in the Floriana Barracks in Malta. There is a possible match for a 14 year old Albert Taylor, a Page Boy, lodging on Exmouth Road, Great Yarmouth, on the 1901 Census.

 

So is the soldier and the baby born 1889 one and the same person or have two individuals become conflated?

 

BTW have you looked to see where his future wife lived on the 1911 Census. If she was local to the Epsom area then she may have worked at a hospital or convalescence camp where Albert was sent.

 

As the family appears to have broken up it seems unlikely that the local papers in Yarmouth will have anything. However one of the Yarmouth titles for the War Years is available via the British Newspaper archives (or the various subscription genealogy websites that normally link into it for their newspaper feed) so might be worth a look. The BNA can be viewed for free at your local library in the UK if you are a library member.

 

Hope that helps,

 

Peter

 

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Stebie9173

There is the possibility that Albert "became" two years older when he enlisted into the army...

 

The date of enlistment/allocation of number for No. 7879 would be January 1906. The men on the 1911 Census were listed in number order (though numbers were not shown) - the Albert Taylor you have shown above fits the Albert Taylor with number 7879.

 

 

Steve.

 

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PRC
9 hours ago, Stebie9173 said:

There is the possibility that Albert "became" two years older when he enlisted into the army...

 

The date of enlistment/allocation of number for No. 7879 would be January 1906. The men on the 1911 Census were listed in number order (though numbers were not shown) - the Albert Taylor you have shown above fits the Albert Taylor with number 7879.

 

Wouldn't be the first time that happened :-) And adding two years to enlist in the first place may have been a lie that was simpler to leave as is rather than amend as his army career progressed. That must increase the odds that the records at the MoD for a man born exactly two years earlier are likely to be the ones that relate.

 

One last observation - I took a quick look at the MiC in case the Remarks column referenced his subsequent Army Service Number. The Card shows him as 1st Battalion, not 2nd, and having first landed in France on the 13th August 1914 - the date the 1st Battalion arrived in theatre. I can understand a pre-war move from 2nd Battalion to 1st but did he make the reverse journey during the war? I only have a free account at Ancestry so can't check what details the Service Medal Roll for the Victory Medal & British War Medal adds.

 

I can understand a handwriting confusion between "1" & "7", (as shown on the marriage certificate), a little bit better than "2" & "7".

 

Cheers,

Peter

Albert Taylor 7879 Northamptonshire Regiment Medal Index Card sourced Ancestry.jpg

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Stebie9173

I think it is likely that he would have served for 7 (or possibly 8) years on active service from 1906 to either Jan 1913 or Jan 1914 then gone onto Reserve. The 1st Battalion had a large proportion of recalled Reservists in it when the battalion embarked to France in August 1914. I presume he didn't extend his service to 12 years.

 

The 1st Battalion and 2nd Battalion switched overseas and home service just before the 1911 Census. The H.T. Dongola took the 2nd Battalion out to Malta, went through the Suez canal, picked up the 1st Battalion from Aden and Western India and then returned. When the Dongola reached Malta again they dropped off 1st Battalion men who still had overseas service to complete. So, I wouldn't be surprised if he served overseas in both 1st Battalion (in India) and 2nd Battalion (on Malta). I may be able to check that later.

 

If he left France and returned to the UK due to his wounding with 1st Battalion in May 1915 then he could have gone to any of the Regular and New Army battalions (1st, 2nd, 5th, 6th or 7th) on the Western Front when he returned.

 

 

The medal roll for 7879 Albert Taylor  shows 1st Battalion only (not unusual with the Northamptonshire Regiment rolls - they only have the bare minimum of information - I would estimate only about 20% of the rolls show all the battalions served overseas with). It also shows transfer to Class Z Reserve on 18-2-1919.

 

 

Edit: I will try and summarise possible movements later.

 

 

Steve.

Edited by Stebie9173

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Stebie9173

I have had a look at a list of men serving with 2nd Battalion at Colchester in June 1910 and 7879 Albert Taylor doesn't appear on that, which suggests he was with 1st battalion in India at that time.

 

So, this would be by guess of how his career may have gone:

 

  • Jan 1906 - Enlistment into Northamptonshire Regiment, No. 7879
  • Jan 1906 - Posted to Depot for basic training
  • May 1906 - Posted to 2nd Battalion in the UK for home service
  • About 1908 - Probably posted to India with 1st Battalion
  • Mar 1908 - 1st Battalion moved from Jullundur in northern India to Poona (modern Pune) in south-west India
  • Jan 1910 - Moved from Poona to Aden in Yemen (some detachments remain in SW India)
  • Apr 1910 - Haley's Comet passes over and is seen by men of the battalion while at Aden
  • Feb 1911 - HT Dongola arrives in Aden and picks up the 1st Battalion to return to the UK
  • Mar 1911 - HT Dongola drops off some 1st Battalion men on Malta to join 2nd Battalion
  • Apr 1911 - Census records 7879 Albert Taylor with 2nd Battalion at Floriana Barracks on Malta
  • Jan 1913 - Expiry of active service and return to UK for discharge
  • Feb 1913 - Posted to Reserve until Jan 1918 with the obligation to return to the colours if war is declared
  • Aug 1914 - War declared
  • Aug 1914 - Reservists called up from 5 Aug 1914 and posted to 1st Battalion at Blackdown
  • Aug 1914 - 1st Battalion embarks to France - 7879 Albert Taylor is with them
  • May 1915 - Albert Taylor wounded with 1st Battalion on 9 May 1915 at Aubers Ridge (1st injury)
  • ??? 1916 - Albert Taylor presumably returned to France with either 1st or 2nd Battalion and suffered another injury or wound (2nd injury).
  • Jul 1917 - Injured with 2nd Battalion and evacuated (3rd injury)
  • ??? 1917 - Returned to France with 7th Battalion ?
  • Apr 1918 - Married whilst on leave (?) serving with 7th Battalion
  • ??? 1918 - Returned to France
  • Sep 1918 - Wounded in mid-September 1918 as a Lance-Corporal, battalion to be determined.
  • Jan 1919 - Demobilised 28 days before transfer to Reserve on about 21 January 1919
  • Feb 1919 - Transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on 18 Feb 1919

 

This is only a guesswork framework to work with!

 

 

Steve.

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Geoffbr

Gentlemen: thank you so much for the effort you have all put into helping me get to the bottom of this man’s travels.  Much of the information above is new to me, and which I can now follow up, or it confirms my own earlier research. There are still some big questions, however. 

 

I had not considered that Albert may have given a false DoB when he first signed up - there would seem to be no logical reason to do so.  I have what I believe to be his birth certificate showing a DoB of 16/01/1889, and I am certain that the 2 year-old living with his mother Emily in the Rows, Yarmouth, in the 1891 census is the same person (same address on the birth certificate). So if this is indeed him, he would have been 17 when he signed up in 1906.  I don’t know where he was living at the time - the answer to that would presumably lie in his attestation paperwork.  I’ll request a copy of the papers still held by the MoD. 

 

On the birth certificate his father is given as Edward Robert Taylor, a fisherman of Yarmouth.  Edward married Emily Hannah (or Anna) Bacon on 08/08/1886 - the woman I am certain is Albert’s mother (Peter reached this conclusion too).  However, on his marriage certificate (08/04/1918) Albert’s father is shown as Charles Taylor (deceased) whose former occupation is given as Cpl in the RGA.  Only one possibility has been found: 32476 Cpl Charles Taylor (25th Siege Battery) was KIA on the Somme on 14/06/1917 and is buried in Guillemont Road Cemetery.  However, he hailed from Glasshouten in Yorkshire, and I can find no link with Great Yarmouth.  But is this really Albert’s father, or is it another fabrication.  Albert’s grandfather was called Charles, and he was an engineer.   

 

I know Albert married Lillian Newman in Epsom in 1918 and fathered a son with her in 1925, born in the workhouse in Great Yarmouth.  He absconded from the workhouse in 1931 and disappeared from view.  Prior to marrying Albert, Lillian had two illegitimate daughters (born 08/03/1916 and 11/11/1917) to unrecorded fathers.  I'm trying to prove that Albert was the father of at least one of them.  That’s why periods of leave/recuperation in the UK are important to this story.  It’s also recently come to light that he had another four illegitimate children with another woman from Lincolnshire between 1920 and 1926.  So I’m interested in his decision to re-join the Northants Regiment in 1920 - was this a means to conceal his true whereabouts from his wife?  The plot thickens!

 

If I have the right man, Albert died in 1967 in Norwich.  For the last 35-odd years of his life he was a stranger to his legitimate family, whilst he continued his relationship with his girlfriend in the Norwich area. Quite a rogue.

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Dai Bach y Sowldiwr

1939 Register gives:

 

Name:Albert V Taylor

Gender:Male

Marital status:Married

Birth Date:16 Jan 1889

Residence Year:1939

Address:Lodge Starling House, (Heckingham)

Residence Place:Loddon, Norfolk , England

Occupation:Pig Keeper and Poultry Farmer

Schedule Number:132

Sub Schedule Number:1

Enumeration District:TROC

Registration district:224/5

 

There don't seem to be any relatives living with him, but he states he is married.

 

Link

 

Additional information is: Retired Army Private, Northants Regiment 7879

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PRC
29 minutes ago, Geoffbr said:

 

I had not considered that Albert may have given a false DoB when he first signed up - there would seem to be no logical reason to do so.  I have what I believe to be his birth certificate showing a DoB of 16/01/1889, and I am certain that the 2 year-old living with his mother Emily in the Rows, Yarmouth, in the 1891 census is the same person (same address on the birth certificate). So if this is indeed him, he would have been 17 when he signed up in 1906.  I don’t know where he was living at the time - the answer to that would presumably lie in his attestation paperwork.  I’ll request a copy of the papers still held by the MoD.

 

By 1901 he was already living away from his parents and employed in service at the age of 12. I believe school leaving age was then 13. There must be a strong possibility that his father was dead by this point. If I've identified the right Emily on the 1911 census then she was getting by as a Charwoman. That all makes it sound like they really were down the bottom of society and barely getting by. Now Albert could have waited until he was 18 to formally enlist, or gone in at 16 as a boy soldier with his parents permission. Or instead he could lie about his age, get an adult wage, a clean bed, roof over his head, free medical care and regular meals plus no need to get parents permission. For many young men of this period it was a no brainer. It could also be a way of getting out of a problem with the police or irate parents of a young girl in the family way, especially if you headed to another part of the country to sign up. And a recruiting sergeant paid by the head and desperate to fill quota's wouldn't ask too many prying questions. It's most unlikely you'll get the true story from his army papers but my suspicion is thats the logic of why he did what he did - and given his later life sounds eminently plausible :-)

 

Cheers,

Peter

Edited by PRC
School leaving age added

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Geoffbr
On 13/03/2019 at 00:21, Stebie9173 said:

I have had a look at a list of men serving with 2nd Battalion at Colchester in June 1910 and 7879 Albert Taylor doesn't appear on that, which suggests he was with 1st battalion in India at that time.

 

So, this would be by guess of how his career may have gone

 

<snip>

  • Aug 1914 - War declared
  • Aug 1914 - Reservists called up from 5 Aug 1914 and posted to 1st Battalion at Blackdown
  • Aug 1914 - 1st Battalion embarks to France - 7879 Albert Taylor is with them
  • May 1915 - Albert Taylor wounded with 1st Battalion on 9 May 1915 at Aubers Ridge (1st injury)
  • ??? 1916 - Albert Taylor presumably returned to France with either 1st or 2nd Battalion and suffered another injury or wound (2nd injury).
  • Jul 1917 - Injured with 2nd Battalion and evacuated (3rd injury)
  • ??? 1917 - Returned to France with 7th Battalion ?
  • Apr 1918 - Married whilst on leave (?) serving with 7th Battalion
  • ??? 1918 - Returned to France
  • Sep 1918 - Wounded in mid-September 1918 as a Lance-Corporal, battalion to be determined.
  • Jan 1919 - Demobilised 28 days before transfer to Reserve on about 21 January 1919
  • Feb 1919 - Transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on 18 Feb 1919

 

This is only a guesswork framework to work with!

 

 

Steve.

Having now obtained Albert’s service record (after 9 months’ wait!) I am pleased to say that Steve’s guess proved to be impressively accurate.  Albert was wounded four times: two were treated in France and two resulted in repatriation.  Pertinent dates and the units with which he served are as follows:

 

 image.png.70ff7e4920d9b2c9c6414676685b91ab.png

 

I’m now attempting to add detail to the record and would value some further guidance, if you would be so kind.

 

I can obtain the appropriate War Diaries now that I know which Bat’n.  However, when he was posted to ‘Depot’, presumably this would include any time spent being treated in a UK hospital, in convalescing, and in awaiting a new posting after being deemed fit for active service again.  How might I determine which hospital and which Depot?

 

When wounded at Aubers Ridge on 09/05/15, which is the most likely CCS at which he was treated?  I'd like to search for admission/discharge info if the appropriate WD still exists.

 

Thank you, Geoff  

Edited by Geoffbr

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David_Underdown

CCS war diaries don't generally include admission information unfortunately. There were separate registers for that. Unfortunately only a sample of medical records was selected for permanent preservation, that which survives is in record series MH 106 at The National Archives (and is gradually being made available on FindMyPast).

 

Similarly, unless you are very lucky with the hospitals he was sent to in the UK (and if it's not given on the casualty form in his record) it's unlikely you'll track anything down.

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