Shaftesbury Grammar School War Memorial

Gerald Bardsley Taylor

Surname: Taylor
Other names: Gerald "Jerry" Bardsley
Other people in this story:
John William Taylor
Ann Mary Taylor née Bardsley
John "Jack" William Taylor
Pryce Taylor
Arnold Bradley Taylor
Locations in this story:
Loughborough, Leicestershire
Bell Foundry House, Freehold Street, Loughborough
Shaftesbury Grammar School, Shaftesbury, Dorset
Nottingham University
Canada
France
Trefcon British Cemetery, Caulaincourt, Aisne, France

Story:
Gerald “Jerry” Bardsley Taylor was born in 1886 in Loughborough, Leicestershire. He was the son of John William Taylor, a Bellfounder, and Ann Mary Bardsley. His siblings included John "Jack" William (born 1885), Pryce Taylor (born 1891) and Arnold Bradley (born 1894). The family lived at Bell Foundry House, Freehold Street, Loughborough. “Jerry” attended Shaftesbury Grammar School from September 1893 to July 1902. He was captain of the cricket and football teams, and was “Champion Athlete” in 1901 and 1902. After leaving the school he entered Nottingham University and then, in 1905 went to Canada, where he remained until the outbreak of the war.

The Shaftesbury Grammar School Magazine reported: “Jerry Taylor enlisted in a Canadian Infantry Battalion (31st Alberta) soon after the war broke out, and went to the front in September, 1915. He soon rose to be a sergeant, and after the Somme offensive in July, 1916, he came home and took a commission in the Leicestershire Regiment.” In 1918 he was allowed to return to Canada to visit his farm for three months. The first fortnight of September was spent in England before he returned to France.

The report continues: “On Sept. 23rd, a neighbouring battalion of the Durham L.I. applied to his regiment for three officers to go “over the top” with them next day. “Jerry” was one of the three selected, and had scarcely crossed the parapet when he was instantaneously killed by machine gun fire. He was a fine all-round sportsman, and after leaving School played regularly for the Loughborough Corinthians F.C. A magnificent figure of a man, full of life and energy, and yet so gentle and affectionate that he was beloved by all. He is the third of his brothers to die in this war, Arnold having been killed in July, 1916, and John in September, 1916, and we offer our very deepest sympathy to his father and family in their terrible losses.”

He died on 24th September 1918 and was buried at the Trefcon British Cemetery, Caulaincourt, Aisne. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

As a former pupil his name was recorded on the Shaftesbury Grammar School war memorial, now in Shaftesbury School.  A "First List of Old Shastonians Serving in H.M. Forces" was produced by Shaftesbury Grammar School in September 1915. It shows the regiment in which Gerald served and the date and term in which he left school. Throughout the war a hand-written list was also compiled of Shaftesbury Grammar School old boys serving in the armed forces. An asterix can be seen next to Gerald's name, indicating that he had died. The board is now at Gold Hill Museum.

Printed Sources: 

Shaftesbury Grammar School Magazine, June 1918
Shaftesbury Grammar School Magazine, November 1918
First List of Old Shastonians Serving in H.M. Forces, September 1915

Images:
  • List of Old Shastonians 1
  • List of Old Shastonians 4
  • Shaftesbury Grammar School Old Boys 7
  • Shaftesbury Grammar School Old Boys 1

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