Frederick Walter TAYLOR was a married man with three small children aged 7, 5 and 3 years, when he enlisted for War Service at Blackboy Hill WA, on 10th August, 1915. When initial training was completed, he embarked Fremantle in early November 1915 on the troop ship ” Ulysses ” , bound for Alexandria Egypt.
Frederick completed additional training at Zeitoun and Tel-el-Kebir in Egypt with the 51st Battalion , before being shipped to Marseilles France ex Alexandria Egypt. Within 4 weeks of being in the field in France, with his Unit, Frederick was promoted to the rank of LANCE CORPORAL.
Tragically, Frederick was reported Missing in Action in France on 3rd September, 1916. The family were to learn shortly thereafter from the Army that their Husband/Father was confirmed as being Killed In Action. He is memorialised by inscription on the Villers-Brettoneux Memorial France, as his body was never found.
Extracts from Letters to the Army, Officer in Charge, Base Records, Victoria Barracks, Melbourne, VIC follow:-
( 1 )- Letter Dated 27 th April, 1917 from Mary McDonald-
” I am writing on behalf of Mrs.A.Young, 53 Millen Street Boulder WA, the appointed Guardian of the Deceased Soldier’s three children. Mrs Taylor , the Deceased Soldier’s Wife died on the 14th October 1916 on the same day your message reached us stating that her husband had been missing since 3rd September , subsequently cofirmed Killed in Action.
With the view to collecting the Death Dues from his Lodge the Druids , I respectfully beg of you to kindly forward on a Death Certificate “.
( 2 )- Letter Dated 16th August, 1917 on behalf of Alice Young, per Mary McDonald:-
” Please find enclosed signed receipt for package. I beg to state that my Daughter , Mrs Taylor, the Deceased Soldier’s Wife , died on the 14th October 1916, the day that your message reached me saying that her Husband was reported missing on 3rd September 1916. Their three children are in my care, so that will explain why my name and not Mrs Taylor is on the receipt.
I also respectfully beg to bring under your notice that the Deceased Soldier’s Pay and deferred Pay has not been received yet, and on behalf of the children and myself I kindly ask you to make this money available, and so help in the care of the orphans “.
( 3 )- Letter Dated 25th November 1920 from Mary McDonald:-
” Your favour of Nov. 11th to Mrs. A.Young 53 Millen Street Boulder , re War Medals to next of Kin of the Late No. 2833A Lance Corporal F.W.Taylor 51st Battalion.
I beg to inform you that my Mother Mrs A.Young died 12th December 1918, and that I, her Daughter , and the Deceased Soldier’s Sister -in-Law , am now Registered Guardians for the three orphaned children, two daughters and one son, namely Elsie 12 years, Ada 10 years, and Jack 8 years.
I shall be glad to receive and care for any War Medals that may be awarded to the Fallen Soldier’s Children “.
Service Medals Awarded
1914/15 Star – No. 23070
British War Medal – No. 23700
Victory Medal – No. 23532
Memorial Plaque/Scroll – No. 317225
Villers-Brettoneux Memorial , France
Australian War Memorial Canberra – Panel No. 154
Collie War Memorial Western Australia
The three young children, Elsie, Ada and Jack , were dealt severe psychological blows in late 1916 ,at the ages of 8, 6 and 4 years respectively, when they lost both parents.
It appears that their Grandmother, Mrs Young, had taken up the challenging task of raising her Grandchildren. The Family did not have access to Financial Benefits that are readily available in the 21st Century, and the letter dated 16th August 1917 clearly indicates the tardy response from the Army in this regard.
Mrs Young would have been at wits end, in attempting to provide a stable, well-nourished environment for her Grandchildren, and there seems a strong likelihood, that her concerns were a contributing factor to her Death in 1918.
As per. Correspondence above, Mary McDonald and her Sister-In-Law then became Registered Guardians for the three children.
We are left to ponder whether the Taylor Children survived these heart-wrenching times, to lead fulfilling lives.
” Should any descendants be able to provide any further information, please email the Author accordingly “