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Map of Laventie showing the Fauquissart Sector in 1916, from 'The Story of the 2/5th Gloucestershire Regiment 1914-1918'
Laventie showing Fauquissart Sector 1916
image: Doreen and Ray Niblett
Trench map showing Ginchy and Guillemont in September 1916
Ginchy and Guillemont, September 1916
image: Paths of Glory
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Taylor, Henry

1914 Star
1914 Star + clasp
Victory Medal
Victory Medal
British War Medal
British War Medal
Private Henry Taylor (14964)
Died of Wounds on Monday 2nd October 1916
Battle of Morval, aged 25
Son of John & Lucy Taylor
Father's occupation: Woodman
Born Q2 1892 at Hurst
1 sister, 3 brothers, position in family: 5
Local address: Broad Common, Hurst
Pre-war occupation: General Labourer; Soldier
Enlisted:Reading, Tuesday 1st November 1910
Regiment:Grenadier Guards
Battalion:4th Bn.
Brigade:3rd Gds
Went overseas:Sunday 4th October 1914
Died:Monday 2nd October 1916
Cause:Died of Wounds
Action:Battle of Morval
Battalion at:Les Boeufs
Commemorated:Grave at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais

Henry Taylor was born in Hurst in the summer of 1892 to John and Lucy Taylor. He was the youngest of five children and had three brothers and one sister. Henry's mother died while he was still young and Henry moved to 4 Eaton Place, Reading to live with his uncle, aunt and five cousins. Henry's father was a woodman and remained in Broad Common, Hurst with the other children.

Upon leaving school Henry became a general labourer and on 1st November 1910 he signed up in Reading for a short service enlistment in the Grenadier Guards. Henry was eighteen years old, 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed 136 lbs. He had committed himself to three years service with the Colours, to be followed by 9 years in reserve.

Henry joined the Grenadier Guards at Caterham and spent his three years of soldiering in the British Isles. He was still a Private when transferred from 2nd Battalion to the Reserve in November 1913. He was commended on his conduct and described as 'honest, sober and hard working' with no cases of drunkenness throughout the three years. Henry returned to his Aunt's house in Reading with the intention of becoming a policeman.

Within nine months war came and Henry was mobilised from the Reserve on 5th August 1914 and reported back to the Grenadier Guards in London. After a period of training Henry served on the Western Front in October 1914, qualifying for the Mons Star and Clasp. He then returned to the UK until 15th August 1915 when he again embarked for France. By this time all of the Guards battalions had been brought together into the elite Guards Division which fought with distinction in many of the major engagements of the war.

The Guards Division's first action was the Battle of Loos in September-October 1915. In particular the Guards fought at Hill 70 and the Hohenzollern Redoubt: casualties during this period were 74 officers and 2,041 men. New Year's Day 1916 saw the 4th Grenadier Guards in billets at Merville, France. Steady drill, route marching, Lewis gun and bombing practice occupied most of the next thirteen days. Tours in trenches at Laventie followed then, after a time out of the line at Herzeele, the Battalion, moved into camp near Poperinge. On 15 March the Guardsmen travelled by train to Ypres and next day took over a line of trenches just north of the Menin Road. In July 1916 Guards Division left the Ypres Salient to take part in the great Allied offensive of the Somme. The Division fought at Guillemont and Ginchy during the Battle of Flers-Courcelette from 14th to 22nd September, at the Battle of Morval from 25th to 28th September including the capture of LesBoeufs on 25th September. The Battalion War Diary describes the part that the 4th Grenadier Guards played in the attack on Les Boeufs:

Monday 25th September 1916 11 p.m.
The Battalion took over its battle position last night. 2nd Lieut.MAINE hit in the foot. A lot of shelling and bombing. The artillery bombarded the two lines in front of the Battalion from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, but Capt . BRITTEN in a message which reached Battalion Headquarters at 12.20 p.m. reported that the fire was weak and inaccurate. At 12.35 p.m., the line advanced to the attack preceded by a creeping barrage 150 yards in advance which moved at the rate of 50 yards a minute, and a stationary barrage on the 2nd objective.
The Battalion was met by a terrific machine gun and rifle fire which caused very heavy casualties but failed to stop them. The two left Companies got into the German trench and killed many men there, numbering from 100 to 150; the two right Companies, who had not met with such heavy opposition passed right on to the 1st objective, where later they were joined by the remnants of the two left Companies. At 1.35 p.m., the attack on the 2nd objective commenced, the Brigade on our left had failed to reach the 1st objective, and our left was totally in the air. Consequently the right of the attack got forward and attained the 2nd objective, while the left only partially got forward. Each unit then dug itself in facing the nearest enemy.
At 2.35 p.m. the 1st Battalion Grenadiers, who had gradually been closed up on the leading line, passed through and attacked the 3rd objective. As the left flank was totally exposed the result was exactly the same. The right got forward and attained its objective; the left was echeloned back and dug in. The WELSH GUARDS now moved up and filled up gaps forming a continuous line facing North and North East, and gradually all units became linked up. 1st Battalion Grenadiers on the right, on the 3rd objective, facing east, 2nd Battalion SCOTS GUARDS in the centre facing East and North East, and WELSH GUARDS and 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards on the left facing North.
The enemy made several half-hearted counter-attacks which were easily repulsed. The 2nd Guards Brigade got into and through LES BOEUFS and were in touch with the 1st Battalion.
Tuesday 26th September 1916 8 p.m.
The night was comparatively quiet and was spent in consolidating, getting up supplies of small arms ammunition, water, rations, etc, and getting wounded away and getting all parts of the line linked up.
At 6 a.m. a tank appeared and moved slowly along GIRO Trench, which was strongly held by the Germans, firing into it as it moved along; 200 of the enemy surrendered and the DURHAM LIGHT INFANTRY moved up and occupied the trench getting into touch on our left, the LEICESTERS continued the line to the left towards GEUEDECOURT. At noon several hundred Germans left their trenches between GEUDECOURT and TRANSLOY, and retired across the open in great disorder, apparently leaving their rifles behind them. The guns got on to them and inflicted heavy casualties.
A squadron of Cavalry rode up to GUEDECOURT and passed through it. Large bodies of our troops could be seen advancing to the North and North East of GEUDECOURT. Enemy artillery kept up a fairly heavy barrage throughout on our front and support troops, and we suffered considerably throughout the day from small bodies of enemy snipers concealed in shell holes and old Trenches, many of whom were taken single handed by our men and shot. At 10 p.m. the Battalion was relieved by the 2nd Guards Brigade and marched to bivouacs near CARNOY arriving at 3 a.m.

During these actions the Battalion suffered 453 casualties and Henry Taylor was one of those wounded. He was evacuated from the front line and transferred to a Base Hospital in Etaples, where he died on 2nd October 1916. Henry was 24 years old and had been in France for 14 months. His family were notified on 4th October 1916 and in due course his aunt received Henry's three war medals and a commemorative scroll. Henry rests in the Etaples Military Cemetery, France.


Henry Taylor at Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais
Etaples Military Cemetery, Pas de Calais
Only goodnight and
not farewell

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in morning
We will remember them.
Lawrence Binyon