Diamond War Memorial Project

Sergeant Samuel F. Taylor

2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. Regimental Number 10124
Born: ---- Died: 1917-08-08 Aged: 24 Enlisted: Londonderry.

Interred in Coxyde Military Cemetery, Koksijde, West Vlaanderen, Belgium. Name inscribed on St Columb’s Cathedral (Church of Ireland) Memorial to the men connected with that cathedral who died during the 1914-18 War. Name also commemorated on the Diamond War Memorial.

Fourth son of John (born 1861/62) and Mary (born 1863/64) Taylor, 111, Fountain Street, Londonderry. Brother of Matthew (born 1887/88); John (born 1888/89); Thomas (born 1894/95); Annie (born 1895/96); Jane (born 1896/97); William (born 1900); and Mary (born 1901).

The town of Nieuport, where Sergeant Taylor met his death, was situated on the Yser, ten miles south west of Ostend. Before 1914 it possessed some fine old buildings, including the church of Notre Dame, the Cloth Hall, and the Templars’ Tower, but these and many others, as well as numerous houses, were destroyed during the Great War. During that war there was much fighting around it, especially in 1914, when it was the extreme northern point of the Western Front.
In a letter of sympathy to his parents Captain and Adjutant J. Colhoun wrote – ‘He was every inch a soldier. Since I joined the army I came in contact with him a lot from time to time, so know well what his loss will be to you all.’
Sergeant Taylor had been at the Front since the outbreak of war, being wounded in 1914 and promoted on the field. He had two brothers serving with the colours. One brother, John, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was wounded at the Dardanelles in 1915, and spent time recovering in Netley Hospital. The other brother, Matthew, 10th Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, was wounded on the same day Sergeant Samuel Taylor died.
Sergeant Samuel Taylor’s father, Mr John Taylor, was a native of Coleraine, and served his time with the Londonderry Sentinel newspaper works, where he was for forty years, most of which were spent in the newsroom, before his death, on December 30, 1934, at the age of 74.
Mr John Taylor was a lifelong and staunch Unionist, and was one of the key men in the Sligo gunrunning in 1913, when Unionists were arming against Home Rule. As another man could not go for business reasons, on account of the long absence it would mean from work, John Taylor took his place, and was joined at Enniskillen by an assistant. At Sligo port for three weeks, with every arrival of a cross-Channel vessel, crates of china, containing hundreds of rifles, were landed for auction in the rooms of a well-known auctioneer. As each crateful of china was put up for auction each night the contents were quickly bought up in small lots by Unionist shopkeepers throughout the North West of Ireland, including Londonderry. The auctioneer, probably to his surprise, did a wonderful trade in those three weeks, and there was never any lack of buyers for his china. Mr John Taylor’s job – and he did it for three weeks without attracting suspicion – was to pack as many of the well-covered rifles into each consignment as he could and hand the case over to the waiting buyer, whose means of conveyance was invariably by motor car. In this way thousands of rifles, it was believed, were imported into Ulster.
Samuel Taylor’s name was read out during a memorial service held, in St Columb’s (Church of Ireland) Cathedral, Londonderry, on Sunday, June 28, 1918, to commemorate the Derry soldiers, who had been killed over the past year.