TAYLOR, L/CPL Frederick Walter – 2833A .

Married father of 3 children, who was killed within eight ( 8 ) weeks of arriving at the Western Front. His wife, Elizabeth died on 14 October, 1916, the day she received advice of her Husband’s demise. Mother-in-Law took over Guardianship of 3 orphaned children, however, she too passed on 12 December, 1918. How did the children fare in dealing with these traumatic losses before they entered their teenage years?

PTE. Frederick Walter TAYLOR was married  with three small children aged 7, 5 and 3 years,  when he enlisted for War Service at Blackboy Hill WA, on 10th August, 1915.  After completing initial training, he  embarked Fremantle in early November 1915 on the troop ship ” Ulysses ” , bound for Alexandria Egypt.

PTE. TAYLOR completed additional training at Zeitoun and Tel-el-Kebir in Egypt with the 51st Battalion , before being shipped to Marseilles France.  After 4 weeks  in the field in France, PTE. TAYLOR was promoted to the rank of LANCE CORPORAL.

Sadly, L/CPL. TAYLOR 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.

Tragically, the soldier’s widow, Elizabeth, lost her life six ( 6 ) weeks later on 14 October, 1916, the date she received correspondence from the Army ,  advising that her husband was Missing in Action. Their three ( 3 ) orphaned children were immediately cared for by their maternal Grandmother, Mrs. Alice Young of Boulder City, WA.  The children had to confront further trauma on 12 December, 1918, when Mrs. Young died.

Extracts from correspondence between the Army, Officer in Charge, Base Records, Melbourne, VIC, and the Family follow, which clearly demonstrate the impact on families, when soldiers are lost at War:-

 

( 1 )-  Letter Dated 27 April, 1917  from Mary  McDonald, 31 North Terrace, Boulder City, WA-

” I am writing on behalf of Mrs.A.Young, 53  Miller  Street Boulder City, 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 , since reported  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  from Alice Young,  53 Miller St, Boulder City, WA:-

” 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, 31 North Terrace, Boulder City, WA:-

” Your favour of Nov. 11th to Mrs. A.Young 53 Miller 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

 

Memorial Inscriptions

Villers-Brettoneux Memorial , France

Australian War Memorial Canberra – Panel No. 154

Collie War Memorial Western Australia

 

AUTHOR  NOTE:-

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 orphaned  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 “