Stanstead Abbotts

Local History Society

Charles TAYLOR

Sergeant 25405

Northamptonshire Regiment

Killed in action on 21st March 1918 aged 30

Born in 1888, in Stanstead Abbotts, to parents Charles and Annie, he was one of ten.  In 1891 they were living in Chapel Lane, Stanstead Abbotts and his father was employed as a malt maker. The next two census records shows that he remained in Chapel Lane but his mother was now a widow and Charles was working locally as a grocer’s assistant.  Between the time of the last available census in 1911 and 1918he married his wife Kate Edith who was living at 5 New Windsor Street, Uxbridge, at the time of his death.

He joined the army at the recruiting office in Bedford on 30th May 1916 and was posted as a private to the Northamptonshire Regiment, by 1918 he had reached the rank of sergeant. During 1916 his unit had been engaged in the first Battle of the Somme, fighting around Montaubon and Guillemont.  From there his unit had moved north to the Ypres salient from the end of June until August where they took part in the Battle for Passchendaele.  The Northamptonshire’s moved to a quieter area on the front near the town of Loos, scene of 1915 battles, but where there were numerous casualties from gas.  From hear the troops were moved into action near the town of Pozieres on the old 1916 Somme battlefield

On 21st March 1918 the Germans began their major assault, Operation Michael. They attacked across the old Somme battlefields having been heavily reinforced by troops released from the Eastern front when Russia withdrew from the war.  Charles Taylor’s unit was sent into action at 04.40 in support of the 17th Infantry Brigade.  They fought a running rearguard action against the German advance until it was halted. The Northamptonshire’s were one of many British units almost overrun during this period as the Germans forced their way through towards Amiens.  

He is commemorated on the PozieresMemorial along with almost 15000 other British and South African soldiers who died in this battle.

Medals Awarded: British War Medal, Victory Medal