Next of kin plaque : Private James Robert Taylor, 4th Battalion, AIF

Accession Number REL48344
Collection type Heraldry
Object type Heraldry
Maker Unknown
Place made United Kingdom
Date made c 1922
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918

Bronze next of kin plaque, showing on the obverse, Britannia holding a laurel wreath, the British lion, dolphins, a spray of oak leaves and the words 'HE DIED FOR FREEDOM AND HONOUR' around the edge. Beneath the main figures, the British lion defeats the German eagle. The initials 'ECP', for the designer Edward Carter Preston appear above the lion's right forepaw. A raised rectangle above the lion's head bears the name 'JAMES ROBERT TAYLOR'.

History / Summary

Born in Luddenham, New South Wales, James Robert Taylor was employed as a hospital attendant at the Gladesville Hospital for the Insane when he enlisted in the AIF on 12 July 1916. He stated that he had twice been rejected for service. After initial training he was posted a private, service number 6804, to the 22nd Reinforcements for 4th Battalion. The unit sailed from Sydney on 8 November, aboard SS Port Nicholson. Shortly before he sailed James married Emily Elizabeth Manlove.

Taylor arrived in England on 10 January 1917 where he undertook further training as a signaller. He joined the headquarters of 4th Battalion at Vaux, France on 2 May, just before it went into the line at Bullecourt. He subsequently fought in the third battle of Ypres. In February 1918 Taylor was granted leave in England. He was court martialled after he returned from leave 5 days late but his forty day sentence was remitted.

Taylor was mortally wounded by a high explosive shell near Meteren at 8 a.m. on 29 April while the battalion's headquarters signallers were resting in a barn (battalion War Diary says a cellar). One man was killed outright and nine wounded. Taylor, who was hit in the left thigh and abdomen, was conscious and stated that he was 'all right'. He was evacuated to an Advanced Dressing Station at Fletre before being transferred to the 15th (British) Casualty Clearing Station at Ebblinghem. He died there on 30 April, aged 23. He is buried in the Ebblinghem Military Cemetery.

This commemorative plaque was sent to his widow, Emily, in November 1922.