Taylor, Lieutenant Harry MC, MM
No 8 Training Sqn AFC
Harry Taylor was born in Birmingham, Warwickshire, England in 1889. He was a Mechanic when he joined the 17th Divisional Ammunition Park in Sydney on 17 October 1914. He left from Sydney on HMAT A40 Ceramic on 22 December 1914. His unit was sent to England prior to being sent to the Western Front. He was awarded the Military Medal in the Gazette of 17 October 1916 for service with the Ammunition Park; the recommendation: During the month of April 1916 he was in charge of fatigue parties constructing machine gun emplacements at Armentières and Houplines while the position was frequently under shell fire. He was complemented on his work by the Commander, Royal Engineers. In December he transferred to the AFC for pilot training, after which he was commissioned in May 1917. In August he was assigned to No 68 (Australian) Sqn which was forming up at Harlaxton with the DH5, and on 21 September he flew DH5 A9224 to Baizieux when the unit moved to France. In November he was promoted to Lieutenant.
On 20 November 1917, he was flying DH5 A9378 when he was shot down in No Man’s Land during the Battle of Cambrai. He was awarded the Military Cross for his subsequent actions; the citation: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. Whilst he was engaging enemy troops his machine was shot down and crashed in the open. On crawling out of his machine he was fired on by enemy snipers, whom he engaged with a rifle that he had picked up. He eventually made his way back to one of our patrols, carrying a badly wounded man whom he had discovered on the way. On a later occasion, [23 November] when flying at 1500 feet, he engaged an enemy two-seater, which dived steeply into the ground and crashed. [Possibly a DFW from FA 225(A), in which the observer, Ltn d R Erich Herold was killed.] He is a clever and daring pilot, always ready to perform any kind of duty. The citation doesn’t mention that while on the ground at Cambrai after being shot down, he tried to fly out A9473, the DH5 of Capt J Bell, who had also been shot down.
Lt Taylor is also mentioned in the Official History for his fight with a formation of four enemy two-seaters on 30 November, when he flew on a head-on course at the leader, turning away only at the last second. His aeroplane was much damaged by ground fire on 30 November.
After an accident in January 1918 he was evacuated to England with severe concussion. After recovery, he was posted to No 8 Training Sqn as an instructor.
He was killed in an aircraft accident at Leighterton on 18 August 1918 while flying Sopwith Camel F4170, which collided in flight with Camel C6746, flown by 2Lt D A Ferguson, who was also killed. The airmen were practising aerial fighting when the collision occurred.
Lt H Taylor MC MM is commemorated on Screen Wall B10 157 at Birmingham (Lodge Hill) Cemetery, Warwickshire, England.