Lieutenant Thomas George Taylor 1877 – 1917

We continue with our series of histories about our local Diggers with this vignette on the life and loss of another young local soldier, written and researched by Matt Katunar and Zac Watson.


Lieutenant Thomas George Taylor, of the 41st Australian Infantry Battalion, was born on 16 February 1877 to Owen Taylor and Harriett March, in Bungendore, New South Wales. He was the firstborn child of Owen and Harriett, who had 11 other children.
Not much is known about Thomas’s childhood, but he moved to South Africa before the Second Boer War. In 1899 he enlisted along with his younger brother, Owen Albert, in the NSW Imperial Bushmen and The Brabant’s Horse in the Second Boer War in South Africa, from 1899 to 1901. In 1901 he was promoted to Lieutenant and after the war he received the Distinguished Conduct Medal along with the Victory Medal. After the war, he moved to England, where he met his wife, Emma Jane Ramsden, and later married her at St John’s Church of England in Hampstead, London, in February 1906. Later, they moved back to Australia, to settle in Willsoona, Indooroopilly, where they lived until 1915 where Taylor became a farmer.

In December 1915, after the outbreak of war in Europe, Thomas, along with brothers Owen, Herbert, Alfred and Victor, enlisted in the Armed Forces. He was positioned in the 41st Australian Infantry Battalion. After a short training camp in Sydney, on 18 May 1916, he embarked aboard the HMAT Demosthenes. On 20 July 1916, he disembarked in Plymouth, England. He stayed in England until November, when he proceeded overseas to France, and in December he marched out to Anzac School.

On 14 January 1917, he rejoined the 41st Battalion to fight in the Western Front. Thomas was relatively short compared to his ANZAC compatriots, standing at just 5 feet 4 inches. He was also older than most of his fellow soldiers, being 38 when he enlisted.
From January 1917, the 41st battalion proceeded north of France, towards Belgium. On 12 May, he was promoted to Lieutenant. In June, during the Battle of Messines, the 41st Battalion played a vital supporting role for the Allies in their victory. The 41st Battalion stayed in Mesen after the battle to protect the village from any enemy invasion.
On 2 July 1917, during a German invasion, Thomas George Taylor was shot in the right thigh and admitted to the 9th Australian Field Ambulance. After his condition continued to deteriorate, he was moved to the 2nd Casualty Clearing Station, where he died on 5 July at the age of 40.

Taylor was buried in Trois-Arbres Cemetery, Steenwerck, France. In his home town of Bungendore, there is a memorial for him, at the Anglican Church. Although Thomas had no children with his wife, and his wife died in 1941, Taylor’s brothers Curtis and Herbert had children, and their descendants are still living in Australia. Taylor’s name is on panel 134 on the Roll of Honour in the Australian War Memorial. His name is also on the Kenmore-Moggill Memorial Cenotaph, where he will be remembered for generations to come.
Lest We Forget