Private 19205 Oliver Samuel Taylor

Taylor Oliver 96 445x600

Killed in Action on Saturday, 29th July 1916, age 22.
Buried in Grave XV. E. 32. at A.I.F. Burial Ground, Flers, Somme, France.

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

Son of Samuel T. Taylor, of 67, Queen's Rd., Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Tipton, Resident: Unknown.

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 Memorial.
Commemorated here because he appears on a Tipton memorial.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/264794/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Oliver Samuel Taylor registered March quarter 1894 in Dudley.

1901 Census
17 Queen's Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel T.H. Taylor (43, Coachman, born Tipton), his wife Annie (40, born Tipton), and their 4 children: Alfred T. (16, Labourer in Iron Works, born Tipton), Elsie (11, born Tipton), Oliver S. (7, born Tipton), and Winifred (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
29 Queen's Road, Tipton, Staffs.
Samuel Thomas Hyde Taylor (53, Widower, Bricklayer's Labourer, born Tipton), and 3 of his 7 surviving children of 9: Harold (24, Iron Founder's Labourer, born Tipton), Oliver Samuel (17, Horse Driver for Coal Dealer, born Tipton), and Winifred (11, School, born Tipton).

Personal Data

After Oliver's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £0/14/3d (14 shillings and 3 pence); this was paid to his father, Samuel Thomas H., in November 1916. His War Gratuity was £4/0/0d (4 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Oliver had enlisted in approximately June 1915.

Action resulting in his death

Early on the 28th July 1916, all units except the 17th Middlesex and 2nd South Staffs were withdrawn from Delville Wood to minimise casualties from shellfire - they were now the only British troops in the wood. 2nd South Staffs was the left battalion being just to the east of Longueval. Throughout the day the battalion suffered heavy German artillery fire.

A German prisoner had told of a planned German counter-attack on Delville Wood late in the day. At 9.00pm the bombardment intensified, the trenches being badly damaged, and at 9.30pm a series of German attacks was launched - primarily bombing parties and snipers. The Middlesex and South Staffs battalions were waiting and repulsed the counter-attack inflicting heavy German losses. In places, small parties of Germans got into the British lines and hand to hand fighting took place.

On the 29th July, the battalions suffered from more German artillery shelling, but no more German attacks were launched. The 17th Middlesex and 2nd South Staffs were relieved at 9.00pm that day, and went back to the support line at Montauban Alley. It is likely that Pte. Taylor was killed on the 29th July by artillery fire; 30 men of the 2nd South Staffs were killed that day.

Oliver's body was not found until November 1927 when his remains were exhumed from Delville Wood from a spot about 200 yards west of the South African Memorial (map reference 57c.S.18.a.40.65). The Burial Return shows that identification was through G.S. (General Service) uniform and boots, but more likely from the partly illegible identity disk and watch forwarded to base. Oliver was re-buried at the A.I.F. Burial Ground at Flers, this was not the closest CWGC cemetery, but the closest "open" cemetery.

Newspaper Cuttings

Birmingham Daily Gazette September 1st 1916
The following casualties amongst warrant officers, non-commissioned officers, and men are reported under various dates:
S. Staffords- Taylor, 19305, O., (Tipton).