Friday, 17 January 2014

Named But Unknown

An entry to Sepia Saturday "Using old images as prompts for new reflections"

The face of an ordinary soldier killed in the Great War at the Battle of the Somme for this week's Sepia Saturday is one of loss but my choice of images is a different kind of loss, that of a life story.
On the back of the photograph is a question "Did I send you one of these before?" Well I only have one so maybe he hadn't.  A name has been added on the back - Henry Taylor, Royal Artillery.  It was amongst my Grandmothers stash but I have no idea of the connection. To find a member of the Royal Artillery from WW1 is like a needle in a haystack, each town in the country had an artillery unit.  I can surmise he could be from Westmorland or abutting Lancashire area from the family connection, but I don't know what section he was from Royal Field, Royal Garrison or Royal Horse Artillery. Maybe the indistinct lapel badges will give clues with further research.  
 There are about 150 'Henry Taylor' listed and if we go to those only listed as H Taylor then we are up about 650.  What can be told from the photograph, when not being mesmerised by those immaculately shined shoes, is the absence of ribbons or medals which indicates he was neither a regular soldier or a territorial and was war raised. From the jodhpurs like trousers and whip he might have been connected to the horses but I know nothing about the artillery. I did find an ebook on Project Guttenburg printed for private circulation in 1919 by CA Rose MC  called 'Three Years in France with the Guns' which had this photo
The 'Grey Battery' at St Omer, May 1917

The name written on the back of the card was in my father's handwriting so I had to check that uniform just to make sure it was WW1 and from my Grandmother's collection.  Was the name Henry Taylor familiar, I  know he had a scouting friend called Wilf Taylor so I turned to something I inherited from my paternal Grandparents  a bound collection of the weekly "The War Illustrated" -
 and yes this the uniform was the same as this Royal Horse Artillery Battery from the Great War, on the occasion of 3 of their members being recommended for the VC in the November 1914 issue.  The deed took place at Compi├Ęgne which was also the site of the signing of the armistice in 1918.  I wonder how many survived?   

9 comments:

Deb Gould said...

So, who WAS this Henry Taylor? And what was the real connection to your grandmother? Ahhhh, the mystery of it all!

Postcardy said...

The newspaper photo looks more like a winning football team than a wartime illustration. It sort of makes war look like a big game.

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

so Henry Taylor or H Taylor was one of hundreds yet there is his photo. Another mystery.

Bob Scotney said...

Finding any name when there are more than one unit makes research much more difficult. Taylor is a fairly common name as well. Just hope he survived.

ScotSue said...

It is mysteries like this that make family history such an absorbing hobby. Good luck with your search.

Little Nell said...

He may be unknown, but at least he is remembered by us here.

Little Nell said...

He may be unknown, but at least he is remembered by us here.

Wendy said...

Your analysis of the clues in the picture inspires me to be more critical of some of my old photos rather than rush through them in frustration at not recognizing the face.

retriever said...

I love old fotos and all history with its .