Private 241471 Joseph Taylor

Killed in Action on Friday, 30th November 1917, age 21 or 22.
Commemorated on Panel 7 of Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France.

2nd/6th Bn., South Staffordshire Regiment. 176th Brigade of 59th Division.

Son of Joseph and Mary Jane Taylor, of 5 Chater's Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Dudley, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Tipton.

First landed France & Flanders, post 31st December 1915.
Medal entitlement: British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives did not survive.

Commemorated on the Tipton Library, and St. Matthew's memorials.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1757255/

Genealogical Data

1901 Census
8 Chater's Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Taylor (31, Canal Boatman, born Tipton), his wife Mary J. (27, born Upper Gornal), and their 3 children: Joseph (5, born Dudley), Benjamin (2, born Tipton), Catherine P. (7 months, born Tipton).

1911 Census
5 Chater's Passage, Tipton, Staffs.
Joseph Taylor (43, Boat Legger in Dudley tunnel, born Tipton), his wife Mary Jane (37, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Joseph (15, Boat Legger in Dudley Tunnel, born Dudley), Benjamin (13, School, born Tipton), Priscilla Catherine (10, School, born Tipton), and Mary Ann (8, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Joseph's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £6/5/8d (6 pounds, 5 shillings and 8 pence); this was paid to his father, Joseph, in June 1918. His War Gratuity was £8/10/0d (8 pounds and 10 shillings), this was also paid to his father in November 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Joseph had enlisted in approximately November 1915.

Action resulting in his death

After the initial success on the opening day of the Battle of Cambrai, the breakthrough to Cambrai was elusive. Bourlon Wood, dominating the northern end of the battlefield, was eventually captured but was under constant bombardment giving massive casualties. On 28th November the 2/6th South Staffs moved into Bourlon Wood and came under heavy bombardment, with large amounts of phosgene gas. Bourlon Wood was abandoned on the 3rd December, as it was impossible to hold against German shelling.

27 men of the 2/6th South Staffs were killed on the 30th November, Edward Malugani, Joseph Taylor and Jonathan Edwards, were from Tipton. Over the next 2 weeks, a further 55 men of the 2/6th South Staffs died, mostly due to the effects of gas in Bourlon Wood.

Joseph Taylor has no known grave and is commemorated on the Cambrai Memorial at Louverval.

War Diary of 2nd/6th South Staffs.
29th November 1917, Bourlon Wood.
Enemy heavily bombarded Bourlon Wood with High Explosive and Gas shells and attacked front line positions on the 2/6th North Staffs regiment front, to which we were in support. 'A' Company advanced through the wood under heavy fire and reinforced the front line in answer to the S.O.S signal. The Company sustained several gas casualties.

30th November 1917, Bourlon Wood.
The battalion was heavily bombarded by Gas and High Explosive shells. During these two days the battalion suffered heavy causalities from gas, the whole of 'A', 'C' & 'D' Companies becoming casualties.

Newspaper Cuttings

Dudley Chronicle, 19th January 1918
Missing: Pte. E. Dudley, 16485, Worcesters; Acting Corpl. A. Smith, 15383, South Staffords; Pte. J. Taylor, 241471, Somerset Light Infantry, and J. Lovell, 203717, Somerset Light Infantry, all of Tipton are reported missing.
Editor: Of the above 4 men, only Lovell was to survive the war.