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William Taylforth


William Taylforth was born on November 4, 1882 and baptised on December 13, 1882 in Kirkby Lonsdale, Westmorland. He was the first of three children born to William and Marion (née Cleugh). William married Marion in Manchester on January 11, 1882 and they lived at Kirkby Lonsdale for the rest of their lives. Their daughter, Marion, was born in 1887, and a second daughter, Margaret, was born in 1889.

Early Life

In 1891, the family were living on Main Street, in Kirkby Lonsdale. William senior was employed as a Solicitor’s Clerk and the two oldest children were at school; the youngest still at home with Marion. In 1901, still on Main Street, William senior had gained a position as Manager of one of the local banks and William junior was employed as a Pupil Teacher at the National School. William attended Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, in Kirby Lonsdale.

Ten years later in 1911, William left home and was boarding with his friend, Charles Kenneth Valentine, at the Valentine family home at 5 The Polygon, in Lower Broughton. William was by then a trained and certificated Teacher and employed in one of the Corporation’s Elementary Schools. His friend, George, was an Insurance Agent, and George’s brother, Charles Kenneth Valentine, who also lived with them, was a certificated Teacher for the Corporation.

Chester College

William attended Chester College and left in 1904.

Military Service

In 1905, William enlisted as a Territorial and served in the 1st/6th Battalion Manchester Regiment as sergeants. William and George Valentine had consecutive regimental numbers, 141 and 142, which suggests that they had enlisted on the same day.

The 1st/6th Battalion Manchester Regiment was one of the battalions sent out to the Dardanelles in early 1915 to fight in the Gallipoli campaign. William was killed within a month of the Battalion landing at Gallipoli.

Lest We Forget

On May 2, 1915 “A” and “B” Companies of the Battalion entrained for Alexandria, to be followed by the other companies the following day. On reaching Alexandria, the Battalion embarked on H.M.T. Derflinger. The Battalion was intended to take part in the attack on Achi Baba which was then proceeding, but they seem initially to have been kept in reserve in bivouac. The Battalion was ordered forward to attack on May 8; “A” and “B” Companies in the lead. The Battalion remained in the forward trenches on the 9th and experienced shelling and sniper fire. Part of the trench collapsed under the bombardment and one man was killed and several wounded.

On May 10, the Battalion remained in their trenches, there was light shelling and seven men were wounded. The following day, the Battalion was ordered to relieve the 1st Battalion Worcestershire Regiment and the New Zealand Canterbury Regiment. This involved moving forward and crossing about 400 yards of traverses, despite some heavy Turkish fire, this was done with comparatively few casualties.

The next few days were relatively quiet, and the men were mostly employed in repairing and improving the trenches. On May 16, the Battalion again came under heavy shell fire, mostly shrapnel. The following day was quieter. On May 21, the Battalion was relieved and went back to bivouac.

The Battalion went back up to the front on May 25. There were some exchanges of fire and on the May 27, the Battalion pushed forward some 200 yards on the left and 70 yards on the right, in what seems like an attempt to straighten their line. They spent May 28 consolidating what gains had been made. It was in carrying out this work on the trenches that Sergeant William Taylforth was killed.

Post Mortem

At the time of his death, William was in credit to the sum of £10 13s 3d, which was duly paid to his father on September 29, 1915. William’s War Gratuity of £6 0s 0d was also paid to his father on July 10, 1919. William was commemorated on the Helles Memorial, in Turkey, and also on a headstone at St. Mary the Virgin Church, in Kirkby Lonsdale. William was awarded the 1915 Star medal together with the British War and Victory Medals.