Lieutenant Samuel William Taylor



Samuel William Taylor was born on 13 May 1893 at Carranadore, Castlefin, County Donegal, the second of four children and only son of farmer Samuel Taylor and his wife Martha Jane (nee Crawford). He grew up on the family farm and was educated at Donaghmore School. On 31 October 1906 tragedy struck, as related in the Dublin Daily Express:


The circumstances of a painful tragedy were revealed at an inquest held in Liscooly, Co. Donegal, yesterday evening, on the body of a little girl named Catherine Taylor, aged two and a half years, who was the previous day shot by her brother, William, aged 12. The mother, who is the wife of a small farmer, left the children playing in the kitchen while she went upstairs. After a few minutes she heard the report of firearms, and, running down, was horrified to find the little girl lying on the floor covered with blood and terribly injured about the head. Drs. Regan and Weir attended, but the child was beyond human aid. The little boy told the Coroner and jury that he saw where his father put the revolver, and took it down "to make fun for baby." Not knowing that it was loaded he pointed it at her head and pulled the trigger. It went off, and she fell. Samuel Taylor, the father, stated he thought no one in the house knew where the revolver was. When he got the revolver after the accident the other five chambers were loaded. The jury having heard the medical evidence returned a verdict of death, caused by a bullet wound, accidentally inflicted. Widespread sympathy is felt for the parents, who have been bereaved under such peculiarly sad circumstances.

Taylor enlisted in the North Irish Horse at Castlefin on 16 February 1912 (No.670). He was promoted to lance corporal on 8 April 1913, corporal on 11 April 1914 and sergeant on 21 December 1914. On 17 November 1915 he embarked for France with F Squadron.

The following March he was recommended for a commission in the Essex Yeomanry, following a course of training at an officer cadet school. He left France on 12 August 1916 and after a short leave reported for duty at No.2 Cavalry Cadet Squadron, Kildare three weeks later. On 21 December 1916 he was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant, was posted to the 2nd Reserve Regiment of Cavalry, and was attached to the Essex Yeomanry.

Between February and June 1917 (probably in May) Taylor embarked for France where he was posted to 1/1 Essex Yeomanry. He is mentioned a number of times in the regimental diary: on 12 June 1917 at Courcelles making a reconnaissance of routes to dismounting points; on leave to the UK from 18 to 30 September; attending a course of instruction at the Heavy Artillery Reserve School at Le Touquet in December; and another course at the 3rd Cavalry Division School of Instruction in February 1918.

At the end of March 1918 the 1/1 Essex Yeomanry was split up and its squadrons divided up among the regiments of the 1st Cavalry Division. Taylor, with three other officers and 94 other ranks, was posted to the 11th (Prince Albert's Own) Hussars, Special Reserve, joining it on 4 April outside Amiens.

He was promoted to lieutenant on 21 June 1918 (an automatic step), and formally transferred to the 11th Hussars on 26 September.

Taylor saw action with the Hussars during the Advance to Victory offensive in the last months of the war. The regimental war diary mentions him on two occasions on 8 October 1918:

11.35 'B' Squadron were sent to work round the Eastern side of Premont and keep in touch with the Infantry who were supposed to be in 12.d. and to exploit any success that they might obtain. O.C. 'B' Squadron sent forward Lieut. Taylor's Troop to pass through the Infantry and reconnoitre the wood as far as Bohain-Premont Road in C.12.b. and C.7.a. This patrol carried out the reconnaissance and reported that the wood North of the Bohain-Premont Road was strongly held by the enemy.

14.30. Orders were sent to O.C. 'B' to clear up the situation in Bois Mirande and Wood in U.30.d. as the Brigade was going to occupy these places, and clear up the situation in V.13. Lieut. Taylor reported Bois Mirande clear but the woods in V.13 strongly held.

Taylor was demobilised on 30 March 1919 and relinquished his commission on 6 March 1920.

He returned to farming and on 29 April 1924 married Lydia Perry at Strabane. He died on 14 September 1972.


Donaghmore Presbyterian Church churchyard


Images sourced from, posted by JanetOliver68.