Note: although the plaque gives his rank as Sergeant Major, such contemporary military records as survive for him all give his rank as simply Sergeant.
SGT MAJ. C. TAYLOR
Connection with Effingham
At present this is entirely unknown.
His forenames were registered at birth as “William Charles” although he generally preferred the reverse order. In this account he is referred to as “William”.
His mother was Alice (née) Curtis, born in the 1860s in Ellisfield, a few miles south of Basingstoke. It is not known who her parents were but by the time of the 1871 Census she was in the care of her grandparents:
The Common, Ellisfield, Hampshire : PRO Ref: RG10 Piece 1237 Folio 39 Page 2
William Curtis : head : mar : 56 : agricultural labourer : Cliddesden, Hampshire
Elizabeth Curtis : wife : mar : 53 : — : Nutley, Hampshire
Caroline Curtis : dau : unm : 27 : field work : Cliddesden, Hampshire
William Curtis : son : unm : 23 : agricultural labourer : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Susan Curtis : dau : unm : 12 : agricultural labourer : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Henry Curtis : son : unm : 10 : scholar : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Alice Curtis : grand-dau : unm : 6 : scholar : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Fanny Curtis : grand-dau : unm : 1 : — : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Betsey Curtis : grand-dau : unm : 1 : — : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Ten years later she was in service in Whitchurch, about 10 miles west of Basingstoke:
Newbury Street, Whitchurch, Hampshire : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 1258 Folio 63 Page 11
Frederick Dudley : head : mar : 40 : retired Civil Service : Pool [sic], Dorset
with his family and this servant:
Alice Curtis : servant : unm : 18 : general servant domestic : Ellisfield, Hampshire
In 1885 Alice, still unmarried, gave birth to William [GRO Ref: Basingstoke 2c 206, 1885 (Q1)]. It is not known who his father was.
The following year Alice married Henry Taylor [GRO Ref: Basingstoke 2c 351, 1886 (Q4)] by whom she had several further children. Here they are in the 1891 Census, where her first child William is entered as “Charlie Curtis”, suggesting that he had not been fathered by Henry:
No. 45, Southern Road, Basingstoke : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 957 Folio 79 Page 6
Henry Taylor : head : mar : 38 : coal carter : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Alice Taylor : wife : mar : 28 : — : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Charlie Curtis : son : unm : 6 : scholar : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Robert Taylor : son : unm : 2 : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
[Daisy] May Taylor : dau : unm : 6 months : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
By the time of the 1901 Census the family had moved to a different address in Basingstoke, and William was now entered under the Taylor surname with his original forename order:
No. 27, Victoria Street, Basingstoke : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 1107 Folio 19 Page 29
Henry Taylor : head : mar : 49 : groom : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Alice Taylor : wife : mar : 41 : — : Ellisfield, Hampshire
William C. Taylor : son : unm : 16 : …[unclear] journeyman : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Robert Taylor : son : unm : 12 : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Daisy M. Taylor : dau : unm : 10 : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Lillian B. Taylor : dau : unm : 9 : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Henry E. Taylor : son : unm : 7 : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Eli A. Taylor : son : unm : 2 : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Florence L. Taylor : dau : unm : 8 months : — : Basingstoke, Hampshire
In the 1911 Census most members of the family were still in Basingstoke. Alice was entered as widowed but the GRO index offers no clear candidate for the death of Henry in the previous decade. It may be that he was still alive but no longer with the family. William also was absent from Alice’s household – he had already joined the army, had become a Lance Corporal and was serving abroad with the 21st (Empress of India’s) Lancers in Cairo:
No. 1, Draper’s Hill Terrace, Winchester Road, Basingstoke : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 6274 Schedule 18
Alice Taylor : head : widow : 47 : household duties : Ellisfield, Hampshire
Robert Taylor : son : unm : 22 : packer : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Daisy Taylor : dau : unm : 20 : tailoress : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Lillian Taylor : dau : unm : 19 : tailoress : Basingstoke, Hampshire
[Henry] Ernest Taylor : son : unm : 17 : assistant gardener domestic : Basingstoke, Hampshire
[Eli] Alfred Taylor : son : unm : 12 : school : Basingstoke, Hampshire
Florence Taylor : dau : unm : 10 : school : Basingstoke, Hampshire
21st (Empress of India’s) Lancers,
Abbassia Barracks, Cairo, Egypt : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 34994
among numerous other soldiers:
Charles William Taylor : Lance Corporal : unm : 25 : Basingstoke, Hampshire
His Service Number with the 21st was 21L/6461. He was promoted to Sergeant while still in the 21st. In 1913 he was back in England, for in that year he married Lillie Rose Trueman [GRO Ref: Chertsey 2a 80, 1913 (Q4)]. She was born in Surrey in 1887 [GRO Ref: Chertsey 2a 53, 1887 (Q3)].
When the time came for him to serve in the War he transferred to the 9th Lancers, “C” Squadron, with Service Number L/13634. He died of wounds in France/Flanders on January 24th 1918. His military records gave his residential address as Bagshot at that time and he is duly commemorated on the Bagshot War Memorial besides the Effingham one.
It appears almost certain that he and Lillie had produced one child, Lillie Rose (née) Taylor born (perhaps at his mother’s home) in 1916 [GRO Ref: Basingstoke 2c 417, 1916 (Q2)]. She married Henry E. Daines in 1945 [GRO Ref: Surrey N.W. 2a 941, 1945 (Q4)].
1. Service Record – not found
2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record
Date of Death
9th (Queen’s Royal) Lancers, “C” Sqdn.
Son of Henry and Alice Taylor, of Basingstoke, Hants;
husband of Lillie Rose Taylor, of 1, Connaught Rd., Bagshot, Surrey.
XXXI. F. 16.
ETAPLES MILITARY CEMETERY
3. “Soldiers Died in the Great War” Record
This adds that he was born in Basingstoke and enlisted there; it also confirms that his residence was Bagshot and his rank Sergeant. It associates the 9th Lancers with the “Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line (including Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps)”.
4. Medal Record