Private Charles Herbert Taylor

Service number 908
Birth Date 1897-04-08
Birth Place Australia: New South Wales, Maitland
Death Date 1935-10-08
Death Place Australia: New South Wales, Lithgow
Final Rank Private
Unit 34th Australian Infantry Battalion
Conflict/Operation First World War, 1914-1918

Charles Herbert Taylor was born at West Maitland, NSW, on 8 April 1897 to builder Charles Taylor and Eva Taylor (née Dee). Charles worked on the railways as a porter. He enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force on 16 January 1916 at West Maitland, with permission from his father, joining the newly-formed 34th Battalion as a private. The 34th left Sydney on 2 May 1916 aboard the HMAT Hororata.

In England they joined the 3rd Division under Major General John Monash. The battalion moved out from Larkhill on 21 November 1916 and entered the trenches of the Western Front a week later before enduring the terrible winter of 1916–17.

In March 1917, Taylor was in hospital for several weeks with a gastrointestinal illness. As the focus of the fighting shifted to Belgium, the battalion experienced its first major battle at Messines on 7 June. In September, Taylor wrote that a third of their original members were gone, and talked about the loss of mates. The battalion entered battle again on 12 October around Passchendaele, losing over half its number as casualties. In letters home, Taylor was growing tired of the war and repeatedly told his younger brother Walter not to enlist.

After leave in England, Taylor returned to his unit in mid-March. He was in charge of a Lewis gun with five other bandsmen when he received a shrapnel wound to the left thigh, on 4 April 1918 in the battle at Villers-Bretonneux. After time in hospital he was invalided home, and was discharged on 8 June 1919.

He married Hazel Flora Donn on 25 March 1922, and they had two children. Taylor was stationed at Cowra as a train guard for many years before being transferred to Lithgow in 1929. On 27 September 1935 he was admitted to hospital with what was believed to be a gastric ulcer. Two of his railway colleagues were ready to give blood, but he died on 8 October 1935 at Lithgow Hospital, aged 38, and was buried at the Presbyterian Cemetery, Rutherford.



Date of birth 08 April 1897
Date of enlistment 16 January 1916
Date of embarkation 02 May 1916
Date returned to Australia 19 October 1918
Date of death 08 October 1935