RFA West Lancs Bdes
680610 CPL. R. TAYLOR. R.F.A.
Richard Taylor was born in December 1884 in Preston and baptised at Preston St Mary’s on 28 December. His father was Henry Taylor (b. 1838 in Newchurch in Rossendale), a labourer in a cotton mill. His mother was Margaret Gornall (b. 1839 in Preston). Henry and Margaret were married in 1867 and they had 11 children, though they lost three in infancy. The survivors were: Margaret Ann (b. 1867), John (b. 1869), Alice (b. 1874), Nellie (b. 1879), Edward (b. 1881), Henry (b. 1883), then Richard, and finally Ashworth (b. 1889). By 1911, Henry and Margaret, still alive and in their 70s, were living at 24 St Mary’s Street, Preston, and were looking after a couple of grandchildren.
Richard married in 1908. His wife was Mary Robinson (b. 1885 in Preston). In 1909 they had a son, William, and in 1911 a daughter, Margaret. In 1911, the family lived at 46 Brewery Street, Preston (this street no longer exists but it was off Queen Street). Richard was a grinder working in the cardroom of a cotton mill.
Richard enlisted in the Royal Field Artillery in Preston, probably in May 1915 and was assigned service number 680610. He was posted to “A” Battery of 286 Brigade, and at some point was promoted to Corporal.
He landed with his Division in France in 1917 and was engaged in the defence of Armentières in the early part of the year and later at the Second Battle of Passchendaele. In April 1918, the Division was engaged in the Battle of the Lys, when they were forced by the Germans to retreat from Armentières towards Hazebrouk. Richard was killed on 14 April. The War Diary describes what happened that day:
14.04.18 The Brigade supported the 2nd Battalion Australians in rushing a farmhouse near Merris. This operation was successful, 40 of the enemy being killed. The batteries were shelled and they withdrew to positions 1000 yards west. Harassing fire was carried out by day and night. 4 OR killed, 13 OR wounded.
Richard was 33 years old.
Service No: 680610
Date of Death: 14/04/1918
Regiment/Service: Royal Field Artillery, "A" Bty. 286th Bde.
Grave Reference: Plot 4. Row A. Grave 7.
Cemetery: LE GRAND HASARD MILITARY CEMETERY, MORBECQUE
Additional Information: Son of Henry and Margaret Taylor, of Preston. Husband of Mary Taylor, of 46 Brewery Street, Preston