Private 11049 Richard Taylor

Killed in Action Gallipoli on Saturday, 21st August 1915, age 31.
Commemorated on Panel 171 to 173 of Helles Memorial, Turkey.

6th Bn., York & Lancaster Regiment. 32nd Brigade of 11th Division.

Son of William Taylor and the late Eliza Taylor, of 13 Old Cross Street, Tipton, Staffs.
Born: Tipton, Enlisted: Mexborough, Resident: Wath upon Dearne, Rotherham.

First landed Balkans, 2nd July 1915.
Medal entitlement: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal.
Soldier's Papers at National Archives survived and transcribed.

Not commemorated on any Tipton memorial.
Commemorated here because identified as Tipton on 'Soldiers Died in the Great War'.

Link to Commonwealth War Graves Site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/686306/

Genealogical Data

Birth of Richard Taylor registered December quarter 1883 in Dudley.

1891 Census
12&13 Old Cross Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Taylor (37, Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Eliza (34, born Tipton), and their 5 children: Lizzie (12, born Tipton), Richard (7, Scholar, born Tipton), Arabella (4, born Tipton), Lilly (2, born Tipton), and Edward (3 months, born Tipton).

1901 Census
2 House 5 Court, Union Street, Tipton, Staffs.
William Taylor (47, Iron Puddler, born Tipton), his wife Eliza (45, born Tipton), and their 6 children: Richard (17, Labourer, born Tipton), Bella (14, Domestic Servant, born Tipton), Lilly (12, born Tipton), Elias (8, born Tipton), Maud (6, born Tipton), and Ernest (1, born Tipton).

1911 Census
Not immediately obvious where Richard Taylor is living, he should have been 27 years old. His parents were still living at 13 Old Cross Street, Tipton, but Richard was not living with them.
There is a 22 year old Tipton-born Richard Taylor living in Rotherham, but his age is wrong and can be traced to a different family. There is a 29 year old Richard Taylor, born Tipton and previously a Blast Furnace Labourer, residing at His Majesty's Pleasure in Winson Green Prison, Birmingham. This is possibly the correct man, but it is not certain. If it is the correct man, he lied at attestation as he denied having been to prison.

Personal Data

Richard Taylor attested at Mexborough, Yorkshire on 25th August, 1914. His address was 1 Park Lane, Nash Row, Wath upon Dearne, near Rotherham. As a miner, it is likely that he worked at Manvers Pit in Wath-upon-Deane. He was 5ft 7½inches tall, had a 38½inch chest, weighed 143lbs, and his physical development was described as 'good'.

Although Pte. Taylor had volunteered, military discipline did not come naturally to him and his Conduct Sheet had regular entries. Initial training at Belton Park saw a number of entries: in October 1914 he was drunk, in February 1915 he used obscene language to an NCO whilst drunk, in March he was absent for almost 4 days, and then absent from the subsequent Defaulter's Roll Call on 9 occasions.

In April 1915 the 6th Yorks & Lancs moved to Witley Camp, he was soon charged with stating a falsehood against an NCO, in May being absent from tattoo until apprehended by the Military Police, and in June smoking whilst on parade. On the 2nd July 1915, the 6th Yorks & Lancs sailed from Liverpool for Lemnos en route for Gallipoli. In Lemnos Private Taylor was charged with gambling, and breaking out of camp whilst under open arrest until he handed himself in at the guard house.

After Richard's death, his outstanding army pay and allowances amounted to £1/6/7d (1 pound, 6 shillings and 7 pence); this was paid to his father, William, in November 1916. His War Gratuity was £3/0/0d (3 pounds exactly), this was also paid to his father in September 1919. The value of the War Gratuity suggests that Richard had enlisted within the previous 12 months.

Richard's father, William, also received a Dependant's Pension of 5/0d (5 shillings) per week, effective from 11th April 1916.

Action resulting in his death

The 6th Yorks & Lancs (6/Y&L), as part of 11th (Northern) Division, landed at Suvla Bay on 6th August 1915. After landing, they did not take advantage of the element of surprise, and delayed too long on the landing beach before striking inland. This allowed the Turkish defenders to prepare and draft in reinforcements.

Suvla Bay was surrounded by significant hills and ridges which provided the Turks with defensive positions and visibility over the British. Attempts at storming the defensive positions were unsuccessful and costly. The 6/Y&L lost 55 men killed in the 2 weeks between the 7th and 20th August.

For the renewed attack on the hills surrounding Suvla Bay on 21st August, the 29th Division and the dis-mounted 2nd Mounted Division were added to the attacking forces. The 29th Division had been in action in Gallipoli since April 1915 so was well below its establishment, and this would the first dis-mounted action for the 2nd Mounted Division.

The two hills of Scimitar Hill and W Hill were preventing a decisive breakout from Suvla, to rectify this 29th Division were to attack Scimitar Hill and 11th Division were to attack W Hill on 21st August.

The attack was to start at 3.00pm but was to be preceded by a 30-minute artillery bombardment, and a machine-gun barrage to ‘soften’ the defending Turks. Neither was in a volume or accuracy to help the attack.

The War Diary reports that the attackers met heavy shrapnel fire at almost point-blank range causing heavy casualties, but the first objective was reached and a move immediately made towards the second objective.

The 11th Division then seemed to lose direction, veering to their left and presenting their flank to the defending Turks. The volume of fire from the Turks caused the attack to stall, and by 5.00pm had come to a standstill. By 8.00pm, the majority of those left alive were back at the trenches from where they had started. There were a few scattered parties still on the battlefield, one of about 100 men under the command of Colonel Eustace.

40 men from the 6th Yorks & Lancs were killed on that day, including Richard Taylor who has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial. Another Tipton man, Benjamin Whitehouse, was also to lose his life in the same action, but on the next day, 22nd August.

Newspaper Cuttings