23748, Private, Ernest TAYLOR
Aged 23

11th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment
Killed in Action on Saturday 28th April 1917

Ernest Alfred TAYLOR was born in Cretingham, according to 1911 census, Kettleburgh according to 1901 census , son of Jesse Webster and Emma Taylor (née REYNOLDS).

1901 census...Aged 7, he was at Birds End, Hargrave with his father Jesse [40] horsekeeper born Framlingham; his mother Emma [39] born Mendlesham; brothers James [18] horseman and Jesse [16] farm labourer, both born in Kenton; Samuel [13] and Frederick [10] both born Brandeston, Cecil [2] born Hartest; sister Elizabeth [14] born Cretingham. Ernest is recorded here as born in Kettleburgh.

1911 census... Aged 16, a farm labourer, he was at Green Farm, Hargrave with his parents (father horseman on farm); brothers Samuel [22] born Brandeston,a farm labourer; Cecil Herbert [12] born Hartest and Charles William [9] born Hargrave. Born in Hartest, enlisted in Newmarket ("Soldiers Died").-This soldier's father was Jesse (from "Soldier's Personal Effects").

As Ernest is named on the Astley Club plaque,he would appear to have been employed in horse racing at some time. It is not known when the family moved to Newmarket and Ernest's birth registration has not been positively identified. In fact only the first 3 of the nine children's birth registrations have been found anywhere.

More positive identification came via the Bury Free Press of 14th July 1917 which published a photographic montage showing the four Taylor brother in uniform and reported:-

Our photo is of four sons of Mr.and Mrs.Jess Taylor, of 2 Vicarage Road,Newmarket, and late of Hargrave, a much respected family who have shown their patriotism in a very practical manner. Gunner Jesse Taylor joined the Royal Field Artillery in January 1917. He did his training in Ireland and is now in France. He was employed before the war by Messrs T.Ridley and Sons, of Abbeygate Street, Bury St.Edmunds
Prvt Fred Taylor joined the Winnipeg Grenadier Guards in March 1916. he landed in England in September of the same year and went to France in February 1917, where he is now serving in the trenches. Previous to joining up he had spent six years in Canada.
Prvt Ernest Taylor, Suffolk Regiment, we regret to state, was reported missing on April 28th, and has since been officially reported killed in action. He had been wounded in July 1916, and returned to France in November. He was employed on the G.E.R. before enlisting. His age was 23 years.
Prvt Cecil Taylor joined the King's Royal Rifles at the age of 18 and has since been transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. He finished his training and is now waiting to join his brothers in France. He was working in munitions in Woolwich 18 months before he joined up. This family record is an extremely praiseworthy one.

In the light of this newspaper article it was then possible to re-visit Ernest's history, as it is now above.

28th April 1917 was the day of the attack on the chemical works at Roeux. At 4.27 am the 11th Suffolks formed the left battalion of the 101st Brigade in attacking the chemical works north of Roeux and immediately south of the railway. It was soon held up and then driven back by intense machine gun fire from a trench which appeared to have been missed by our barrage, but a few men actually got right through and into a quarry on the east of the works, coming back in the evening with 2 or 3 prisoners. At 9:45 am the enemy counter attacked from the direction of Roeux, capturing Mount Pleasant wood and part of Ceylon (communication) trench. Major Tuck went up into the line again and found the battalion front intact, Ceylon trench once more in our hands and the enemy in the process of being driven out of Mount Pleasant wood. At ten o'clock that night the battalion was withdrawn from the front to the support line trenches for two hours to enable our heavy artillery to bombard the chemical works, which were attacked-but again unsuccessfully-by a fresh unit
The 11th Suffolks lost 110 men killed, 82 are named on the Arras Memorial, the rest are buried 4 local cemeteries (15 in Brown's Copse)

photos: Michael J. Pettitt

Ernest is buried in Brown's Copse Cemetery, Roeux, France- Ref:I.C.13
and also commemorated on the plaque in the New Astley Club, Fred Archer Way, Newmarket

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details