WALTER TAYLOR 

Rank: Corporal
Service Number: 12672.
Regiment: 9th Bn. Cheshire Regiment Killed In Action Thursday 20th September 1917 Age 24County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried TYNE COT MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 61 to 63.
Belgium

Son of Mr. Joseph Taylor and Mrs. Amy Taylor of 5, Astbury Street, Congleton, Cheshire and husband of Mrs. Fanny Taylor, (nee Slater) of Queen Street, Buglawton, Cheshire. They were married at St John's Church, Buglawton, Cheshire, in 1917. He had 3 sisters, Ellen, Martha Elsie and Alice Taylor, along with three brothers, Henry, Joseph and Charles Eaton Taylor. Prior to enlistment, he was employed as a Warehouseman and an Overlooker in a Silk Mill at Messrs' Wild and Co, Forge Mill, Congleton, Cheshire. 

Corporal Walter Taylor enlisted in the Cheshire Regiment at Congleton on the 30th of August 1914 at the age of 21. He was posted to the 8th Battalion followed by a move to the 9th Battalion on the 3 rd of September. The Battalion came under the orders of the 58th Brigade, 19th (Western) Division. Formed at Chester they moved to Salisbury Plain and by December 1914 were in billets at Basingstoke. After a short stay the Battalion returned to Salisbury Plain in March 1915. On the 30th of April 1915 he was promoted to unpaid Lance Corporal. 

On the 18th of July 1915, he embarked from Folkestone landing at Boulogne the next day. The Battalion transferred to the 56th Brigade in the same Division on the 11th of November. Promotion to Corporal was confirmed on the 11 of December 1915. Corporal Taylor was attached to the 58 Light Trench Mortar Battery when on the 21st of August 1917 while taking part in a demonstration he suffered perforated wounds to his legs due to an explosion in a trench mortar, in which another soldier was killed. A Court of Inquiry found that the explosion occurred through the premature explosion of a faulty bomb in the muzzle of the trench mortar. No one was to blame, and no disciplinary action was taken. The Third Battle of Ypres (commonly called Passchendaele) had been raging since the 31st of July. From the first afternoon, the fighting had been conducted in almost constant rain and the small advances had been made through ever deepening mud and an increasing cost in lives on both sides. The advances had been made in a series of small bite and hold " attacks and the next stage was to be some four kilometres to the south west of Ypres (now Ieper along the Menin Road in the vicinity of Zillebeke. The attack by the whole of the 19th Division, had been well rehearsed with the troops using a full-scale layout of the area. The men were well rested and had not be worn out by digging their own assembly trenches. Zero hour was set for 05:40 hours and the Cheshire's promptly left their trench advancing in four lines behind the British artillery barrage. 20 officers and 556 other ranks had gone "over the top ". They were on the left of their Brigade's advance with battalions of the Wiltshire and Welch Regiments to their right. They quickly came under attack from German machine gun fire, suffering many casualties and losing touch with the safety of the creeping artillery bombardment. The Cheshire's reached their objective and began to " mop up " the enemy trench. This entailed ensuring the captured trench was clear of the enemy and taking measures to destroy the dug outs in which Germans might be hiding. This normally involved throwing several grenades into the dugout. To their right, the 9th Welch had been held up by fire from Hessian Wood and its attack had stalled. Covering fire was being given by the 6th Wiltshire's. At 06:24 hours the Cheshire's continued their advance against stiff resistance. On the left, "A" Company came under fire from machine guns on a small ridge in front of May? Farm. A platoon of men was detached from B Company, in reserve and this re inforcement allowed them to push forward capturing Potsdam Farm, Moat Farm and Funny Farm. The Welch were still held up and Second Lieutenant Colvin, attacked the German dug outs at the north corner of Hessian Wood, with two platoons of the Cheshire's. This was successful and it enabled the Welch to push forward. Colvin then returned to the main body of troops and found he was the only senior officer left. He took command of "C" and "D" Companies and ordered them to consolidate the capture position and place barbed wire entanglements in front of it. The 9th Battalion had 27 men killed amongst them being Private Walter Taylor who was killed by a sniper. He is remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

He was a good lad in every respect was the dictum of a comrade of Corporal Walter Taylor who was attached to a unit of the Cheshire Regiment in conveying the sad intelligence of his death to Mr. and Mrs. Taylor of 5, Astbury Street, Congleton and in the assurance the neighbours and friends of the grief stricken family join respectfully and sincerely. A fine manly lad with a kindly nature, one who was capable of expanding with every kindly and generous sentiment, he leaves behind many to mourn his loss, father, mother, sisters and brothers, a young wife and a large circle of friends. Corporal Taylor fell by the side of his gun in the execution of what he would term his boundless duty and the sacred spot where he now lies at rest, which marks the resting place of one of Congleton's bravest sons has witnessed many sad happenings.

Someday the war machine of the modern Attila which leaves in its trail so much anguish and bitter suffering will have ceased to trouble us, then there will be nothing but a halo of silence in which nature will reverently cover the chaos and devastation brought about by the inventions of the devil with his magic wand. It is not permissible to name the exact spot where the young Corporal fell, but we have the assurance of his officer that he fell doing his duty and was reverently laid to rest in a soldier's grave and practically side by side with his officer's servant. Corporal Taylor was no lukewarm patriot and enlisted on the 30th of August 1914 along with Eddie Cooke who is also classed among the Immortals. He had been in France more than two years, often in the thick of the fighting and had on one occasion been wounded. A pathetic circumstance was that it was only in July last year that he was married and left for France, the graveyard of bad dreams and ambitions of many brave lads, Educated at St Jame's School and a member of Mrs. Saxon's Bible Class up to the time when he responded to the insistent call for men in the early days of the war, he had always been closely associated with St Jame's and he could claim many friends in the parish. In a letter received by Mr. and Mrs. Taylor relative to the death and character of the departed hero, Corporal F. Pointon (the writer) says,

Dear, Mrs. Taylor,

No doubt by now you will have received official notification of the sad news and I feel it is my duty to make known to you seeing that Walter and I were very dear pals in fact we were like brothers to each other. I speak now with regard to him being killed in action on the 20th of September 1917. He died like a soldier fighting for his King and Country, by the side of his gun and by the side of those who are fighting for the triumph of right over might. Human sympathy will not heal the wound that has been caused by the sad bereavement that has befallen you, but still one likes to extend his feelings of sympathy in a case like this. The burden you are called upon to bear is a hard one, but in our prayers, we will remember you to the One who heals and comforts all broken hearts. Walter was a good lad in every respect and I can say that he was well liked by the officers, N.C.O.s and men of the battery and he will be greatly missed by all. He was buried in a respectable grave and a cross marks the place. Well I think I have said all and if ever I have the luck to come home again I will tell you everything, such as where he was buried etc.

Those near and dear to him have taken some measure of comfort in the knowledge that he did not suffer, for he died peacefully in the arms of his officer (Lt H.T. Horsfall ) soon after being hit. Writing to Corporal Taylor's wife who resides in Queen Street, Buglawton, Lt. Horsfall says that the grievous loss was sadly felt throughout the whole Battery, where he was liked and beloved by all, officers and men. I was with him the whole time and was heartbroken when I saw him fall by my side, the deadly work of a sniper. I did all in my power for him, but sad to say it was of no avail and he died quite peacefully in my arms a minute later. Only too well can I guess how the loss will be felt for no one could help but feel proud of such a gallant, willing and painstaking soldier, a heart of gold and always with the interests of the men before anything else. Will you please accept my sincerest and heartfelt sympathy in this your blackest hour of trouble and also convey the same message to his sorrowing parents.

Two other brothers are serving in His Majesties Forces, Henry Taylor, Royal Flying Corp and Joseph Taylor, 18th Training Reserve.


Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on Walter.

© Cheshire County Memorial Project
2016