Quorn WW1 Roll of Honour - Alfred Hall Taylor
Died 30th October 1914, aged 30
First Battle of Ypres, Belgium
Life prior to the war
Alfred was born in Loughborough in 1884, the youngest son of Henry and Sarah Jane Taylor. They had five children who they brought up at their home at 55 Leopold Street. At that time, Alfred’s only connection with Quorn was that it was the birthplace of his maternal grandmother.
The 1901 census shows that Alfred was employed as an iron turner in Loughborough, but by 1911, circumstances had changed. His father died in 1909 and the 1911 census finds Alfred boarding in Coventry, employed as a railway porter. He later moved back into this area and early in 1914, he married Amelia Locke. Amelia had been born in Barrow upon Soar, but had moved to Quorn to work at Wright’s factory as an elastic web weaver. She was boarding on Wood Lane in Quorn in 1911, and living on Station Road at the time of her marriage.
The couple set up home on Soar Road in the village, but shortly afterwards war broke out and Alfred joined the King’s Dragoon Guards when they were recruiting in Leicester.
Waiting and finally hearing the worst news
Tragically Alfred was killed in the first battle of Ypres, on 30th October 1914, after only a very short period of service and only a few months after the wedding.
Quorn Parish Magazine for January 1915 reported Alfred as missing:
“Of local war news I have very little to give this month. So far as I know, all our men at the front are safe and well. Private A H Taylor is reported missing and there is no report that could cause a wife greater anxiety than this.”
Amelia must have gone through a time of great worry, but relief came for her early in 1915, when Alfred was unofficially reported as having been taken a prisoner of war.
It was not until 18 months after Alfred had been killed, that a short piece appeared in Quorn Parish Magazine in June 1916, saying that his death was finally and officially ‘assumed’. One can only imagine the turmoil of emotions, caused by the uncertainty, false hope, and finally hearing that the worst news was true.
Alfred’s death was also reported in the Loughborough Echo on 2nd June 1916 where it stated that Alfred had left a widow and baby daughter. Despite extensive research a birth couldn’t be traced for a child of Alfred and Amelia, but if they did have a child and the newspaper hadn’t made a mistake, Alfred would have been killed before he saw the baby.
Four months later, on 21st September 1916 Amelia remarried in Quorn Church. Her husband was 34 year old Robert Symes and the couple must have stayed in Quorn for a while, as their son (Robert Norman) was baptised in St Bartholomew’s Church in August 1918. Amelia died in Manchester in 1968 aged 79.
Two years after Alfred’s death, but only months after it was confirmed, Alfred’s mother, brothers and sisters placed an ‘In Memoriam’ tribute in the Loughborough Echo:
“TAYLOR – In loving memory of my dear son, Alfred Hall Taylor, who has never answered the roll call since 30th October, 1914.
‘Oh for a touch of the vanished hand,’
‘Gone but not forgotten’ by his MOTHER, BROTHERS and SISTERS”
Albert’s body was never found and he is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial at Ypres in Belgium, along with nine other lads from Quorn. The Menin Gate was built between 1923 and 1927 and is one of the most famous war memorials in the world. It contains the names of more than 54,000 soldiers who were killed in Belgian Flanders (the Ypres Salient) before 16th August 1917, and have no known grave. A service is held every evening at 8.00pm. The traffic stops, prayers are said and a bugler plays the last post.
A photograph of the Menin Gate and below that is a close-up of Albert’s inscription.