SERVICE NO: 3643
YEAR OF BIRTH: 1900
PLACE OF BIRTH: Hamilton
DATE OF ENLISTMENT: 16 June 1916
PLACE OF ENLISTMENT: Melbourne
AGE AT ENLISTMENT: 16
UNIT: 4th Light Horse Regiment, 28th Reinforcements
EMBARKED: 7 September 1917
TROOPSHIP: HMAT A55 Kyarra
FATE: Killed in Action – 2 May 1918 – Palestine
Born at Hamilton in 1900, Thomas Taylor was one of ten children born to saddler William Walker Taylor and Isabella Drever. The family lived in Mount Baimbridge Road and Thomas attended Hamilton State School. By 1913, the Taylors had moved to Orchard Street, Malvern. When the war broke, Thomas’ elder brother George enlisted on 22 October 1914. He went overseas but returned to Australia in May 1915. Then another brother Robert enlisted in January 1916 at eighteen years and one month.
Thomas was working as a warehouse assistant but was keen to follow his brothers. On 16 June 1916, Thomas enlisted. He was sixteen, but he gave his age as eighteen years and two months. He noted he had spent three years with the senior cadets and had written consent but only if he did not go overseas until he was nineteen.
He also provided his parents’ consent on his application form.
Thomas didn’t go overseas straight away. Instead, he spent fourteen months in Melbourne at the Royal Park Depot. On 8 August 1916, Robert was killed at Pozieres, France just eight months after enlisting. Robert’s death compelled his father to enlist and he did so on 22 June 1917 at forty-four. Thomas’s time arrived to go overseas, and he left with the 4th Light Horse Regiment (4th LHR), 28th Reinforcements on 7 September 1917. He was still seventeen, not nineteen as required.
Thomas arrived in Egypt at the end of October and joined the 4th LHR at Moascar. During December he spent a few weeks with the 4th LHR Training regiment before returning in late December while they were at Shilta in Palestine. His father had arrived in Egypt with the Field Company Engineers. He was there for a month before going on to England. On 2 May 1918, Thomas was killed in action in Palestine.
At the time, William was preparing to leave for France. He was only in France a matter of weeks when he contracted trench feet and eventually returned to Australia.