JOSEPH TAYLOR 

Rank: Private
Service Number: 113.
Regiment: 1/7th Bn. Cheshire Regiment Killed In Action Tuesday 10th August 1915 Age 36County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried HELLES MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 75 to 77.
Turkey

Son of Mr. William Taylor and Mrs. May Taylor, of 1, Oakes Yard, Congleton, Cheshire and husband of Mrs. Amanda Gaunt), of 12, Prospect Street, Congleton, Cheshire. They were married in a Civil Ceremony, at Congleton, Cheshire, in 1907. He had one child. In 1901, he resided at Bank Top Farm, Wagg's Road, Congleton, Cheshire, where he was employed as a Servant. He had one brother, Walter Taylor. Pre-War he served in the Territorial Army with the 1st/7th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, enlisting in 1908.

On the 2nd of July 1915, orders arrived to re-equip for service in the Mediterranean and on the 14th they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria and made a landing at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on the 9th of August 1915. The Regimental History states, " After landing the troops did not know where they were until a case of maps were found and disclosed they were at Suvla Bay, the military situation at this juncture beggar’s description, two Divisions had landed earlier and had been severely mauled by the enemy and poorly directed. Commanders, Staff Officers and men, all showed signs of having reached the limits of endurance, they realised the conditions in which they had to go into battle. They had no ammunition, except what they carried, no transport, no artillery. It seemed incredible. Captain Arthur Crookenden of the regiment went up the hill to see the state of affairs. He saw the Salt Lake covered with wounded men coming back to the beach. He told the G.O.C., that the Brigade could capture the distant objective if an hour’s lull was granted for a talk with his officers with map and compass on the top of Lala Baba. But no! Hurry was the order of the day. He objected and was threatened with arrest and was given a verbal order to send two Battalions "to report to General---- in the bush, he refused the order and the G.S.O. himself went to General Cowans. However, the 7th Battalion at length received orders to advance against a distant point when the only obvious fact was that it was strongly held and had already held up the rest of the troops in that neighbourhood. Night fell with three Battalions of the Brigade "lost". The order by which the Brigade was placed under the 11th Division on this day must be recorded. The 53rd Division is placed under 11th Division and can be used in such way that is possible to re assemble them in the evening" Comment is needless. The Brigade Major spent the night trying to find his missing Battalions and only succeeding in finding part of the 7th Battalion. On reaching Brigade H.Q. about 03:00 hours on the 10th of August, he found an order had arrived for an attack at 06:00 hours which involved leap frogging by a Brigade which had last been seen in Bedford. It was pitch dark, they had no transport of any sort, no arrangements for ammunition supply, no medical arrangements except the doctor's haversacks, no tools, no food, no water, nothing but what they stood up in, and a few boxes of ammunition carried by the men. There was no artillery. At 06:00 hours portions of the 7th Battalion, followed by the 4th Welsh, advanced a few hundred yards, until they reached a trench full of various Brigades and Corps. Here all halted, and nothing would make them face the steady stream of bullets which swept over their heads. A machine gun in Sulajik Farm fired uselessly in the general direction of the Turks, but otherwise the troops seemed dazed and at the end of their tether, as indeed most were. During the afternoon an order from the beach directed a general advance at 17:00 hours. It was obeyed by a few brave men of the 159th Brigade led by their Commander, General Cowans. But these were soon killed, or wounded and left to perish in the bush, which was by now burning fiercely. The survivors reached a bank some 200 yards ahead, from which they were driven by a counter attack, while the men in the packed trenches looked on. Water was short but available. There were wells in many places, but all were under fire and needed earthworks to protect the users. But the 53rd Division had no tools and it is likely that the other Divisions had none neither. The whole action was a nightmare of indecision starting at the top and spreading its evil effects through all ranks. The opposition was not negligible, but even without artillery support it was within the capacity of a combined effort by well led troops to overcome. The 7th Battalion lost 9 Officers wounded, 2 missing, 18 men killed, 145 wounded and 286 missing. Amongst those killed were Private Joseph Taylor, Private Thomas Ridgway who died of wounds, Private Arthur Hassall and Private John Etchells were killed on the 9th of August and Sergeant George Arthur Gallimore and Private Herbert Whalley on the 13th of August.

Extract from the Congleton Chronicle 1915.

Of the number of Congleton men who are now included among Congleton's honoured dead, few were more popular than Private Joe Taylor, who died a hero's death in the sanguinary fighting in the Gallipoli Peninsula. A true and impartial sportsman, a staunch and trustworthy friend and a jolly and good-natured messmate, his companions in arms have felt that in the passing of Joe, the battalion has lost one of its most popular soldiers. Hardly a letter has reached the old town but what contains some reference to the departed comrade who had made the noblest of all sacrifice, given his life for King and Country. Truly those who knew him best can say with the immortal bard, the elements were so mixed in him that nature might stand up and say to all the world, this was a man. Was it an impromptu convivial that was being inaugurated. Then send for Joe. Little wonder that he was, the idol among the Gods for his witty repartee, no less than affable and cheery disposition, had deservedly won for him a wide circle of friends in the ranks and there are few, too, in Congleton who dwell within the fringe of the world of sport who will not feel the loss of so gay a chevalier. Of all the Congleton lads now fighting in the deadly and desperate conflict against the common enemy in various arms of the service and the hearts and prayers of every man, woman and child in these isles should be with them in this critical juncture, not one we know, but what will miss Private Taylors cheery greeting and his genial smile when the dogs of war have ceased flying at each other's throats. He was not only highly respected among his comrades of the 7th, but the officers recognised his sterling qualities and felt that they had lost a good soldier, as the following message from his Captain to Mrs. Taylor will testify,

Dear, Mrs. Taylor,

After so many years of service together, it is a real grief to me to write of the death of that good soldier, your husband, which happened here a few days ago. You have my very sincere sympathy.

Yours, Sincerely, William P. Reade.


Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this information on Joseph.