Lieutenant Garth Smithies Taylor

  • Batt - 2
  • Unit - Nottinghamshire & Derby Regiment (Sherwood Foresters)
  • Section -
  • Date of Birth - 27/06/1896
  • Died - 15/10/1916
  • Age - 20

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Source: Michael Doyle Their Name Liveth For Evermore: The Great War Roll of Honour for Leicestershire and Rutland.
He was the son of Thomas Smithies Taylor, a scientific instrument manufacturer, born in the July quarter of 1863 in Hackney, Middlesex (son of Richard Taylor, 1831 and Marianne Smithies, 1834) and his wife Mary Ellen Taylor (nee Bennett, married in the July quarter of 1891 in the Blaby, Leicestershire district), born in the April quarter of 1863 in Leicester (daughter of John Bennett, a corn merchant and one time Lord Mayor and Alderman of the City of Leicester, 1831 and his wife Sarah A. Swain, 1834). Garth Smithies was born on the 27th June 1896 in Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire he had one sibling, a sister Lily Dorothea Taylor, born in the October quarter of 1892 in Leicester, in March 1901 the family home was at Main Street, Smeeton Westerby, Leicestershire. In April 1911 Garth was absent from the family home in Smeeton Westerby, residing there was his father a scientific instrument manufacturer, his mother and brother, Mark Herschel, born in the April quarter of 1903 in Smeeton Westerby, in the 1911 census his mother was not recorded on the census return, but the following caption was written at the bottom of the return: - Women absent protesting. “No vote no census.” Garth was residing as a pupil boarder at Bedales County Educational Proprietary Boarding School, Bedales, Petersfield, Hampshire.
Garth’s Army enlistment documents were not researched, and as such all that is known of his military service is that he was commissioned into the Nottinghamshire & Derbyshire Regiment (Sherwood Foresters), and was posted as a 2nd Lieutenant to the 2nd Battalion, during his service he gained promotion to Lieutenant. It was with this unit that he first entered the theatre of war sometime after the 31st December 1915, he was killed in action on the 15th October 1916. His body was not recovered and he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. He was awarded the British War Medal and Victory Medal.
The War Diary records: 15 Oct-16 – MONTAUBAN. N.32.D.8.4. At 5.35am. Our guns opened fire which was the signal to attack.
At 6.45am. All telephone wires having been cut, an orderly returned and reported our men were digging in, in front of the gun pits.
At 7.00am. A message was received from Company Sergeant Major ROWE, “D” Company stating that the gun pits had been captured and that Major E. R. STREET, D.S.O., had been badly wounded in the abdomen during the early morning.
At 7.30am. Officer Commanding, gun pit party (2nd Lieutenant BYLES) reported by runner objective taken without casualties but several casualties since from snipers and enemy machine guns about 150 – 200 yards to his front. About this time Captain E. H. BACKHOUSE was sent up to take over command of “D” Company and to report on the situation. The party assaulting the new German trench did not gain their objective owing to enfilade machine gun fire and casualties so they dug themselves in about 40 yards North of the gun pits.
11.00am. The Commanding Officer went up to the front line to see the situation for himself.
At 2.00pm. The Commanding Officer returned and asked Brigade for a reinforcement of 2 Platoons and 2 Lewis Guns be sent up from Support Battalion tonight.
3.00pm. Orders were received for all the gun pits to be connected up and a communication trench dug to the rear to join up with CLOUDY TRENCH. At the same time a fire trench to be dug around the gun pits to connect up with the right of CLOUDY TRENCH. One Company 11th LEICESTERSHIRE REGIMENT (Pioneers) and 1 section ROYAL ENGINEERS would assist.
6.00pm. No report having been received from Captain BACKHOUSE the Commanding Officer again went up to the line and was severely wounded between the gun pits and CLOUDY TRENCH. Officer casualties for the day.
Lieutenant Colonel C. J. W. HOBBS, D.S.O. Wounded.
Major E. R. STREET, D.S.O. Wounded.
Captain H. E. BACKHOUSE. Killed.
Lieutenant G. S. TAYLOR. Killed.
2nd Lieutenant S. M. WILLIAMS. Killed.
2nd Lieutenant J. BUNTING. Wounded.
Captain and Adjutant F. E. JONES assumed command of the Battalion.
On Wednesday October 15th, 1924, The Leicester Daily Mercury published the following article on page 10, under the heading. – BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS. – IN MEMORIAM. – SMITHIES-TAYLOR. – In proud and happy memory of Garth Smithies-Taylor, Lieut. (acting Capt.), 2nd Sherwood Foresters, who fell while gallantly leading his company near Le Transloy, 15th October, 1916. Also in honoured memory of those who fell with him.
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Source: Leicestershire War Memorials Project.
Mary Ellen Taylor (nee Bennett; mother of Garth Smithies Taylor) was the daughter of John Bennett and his first wife, Sarah Ann Swain. John & Sarah's marriage was recorded the second quarter of 1854 in Leicester. Sarah died 15 Dec. 1871 and sometime between her death and the 1881 census John married his second wife, Elizabeth.
John & Sarah are buried at the Welford Road Cemetery.
Information submitted by C. Weldon, 2018

Leicestershire Project Findings
  • Conflict - World War I
  • Other Memorials - University College Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Memorial Hall
Research from Michael Doyle's Their Name Liveth For Evermore
  • Unit - Nottinghamshire & Derby Regiment (Sherwood Foresters)
  • Cause of death - KILLED IN ACTION
  • Burial Commemoration - Thiepval Mem., Somme, France
  • Born - Kibworth Beauchamp, Leicestershire
  • Place of Residence - Petersfield, Hampshire, England

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