A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
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- Newchurch - Harold Taylor -


Pilot Officer 119148 Harold Taylor, Royal Air Force


Biography from the Book of Remembrance, All Saints Church, Newchurch, Isle of Wight.
Biographical information

The death in action of PILOT OFFICER HAROLD TAYLOR on 14th July 1942 left a gap in the village community at Apse Heath, which 37 years after World War II, had not been adequately filled [*]. in the quickly changing world between the two Great Wars Harold was the connecting link between the old order of rather narrow Victorian non-conformity in the village, only slowly disappearing, and the young folk born after World War I who sought a more tolerant and certainly less narrow way of life. He on the one hand was a keen and active member of Apse Heath Methodist Church, and for some years assisted in running the Sunday School, but on the other hand he loved life and lived it to the full. As well as being an enthusiastic and capable sportsman, which made him extremely popular with the young men of the village, in the musical world his fine baritone voice was always in demand whether it be at local operatic ventures, at sacred concerts or in the world of light entertainment.

Harold was born at 'Rosland', Ventnor Road, Apse Heath on 14th April 1910, his parents being John and Margaret Taylor and his father being a member of the old family firm of G.M. Taylor & Sons who for many decades were the village bakers serving the Parishes of Newchurch and Arreton as well as nearby Sandown and Shanklin.

He first attended Newchurch School and then at the age of eleven moved on to Sandown Secondary School being one of the all too few band of pupils who passed the qualifying examination for secondary education from Newchurch.

After leaving school in 1926 Harold was apprenticed as a painter and decorator to Whittingtons the builders of Lake and he continued to work for that firm until he commenced business on his own account in 1937. On 21st November 1934 he married Eileen Locke at York Road Methodist Church at Sandown and the young couple set up their home at 'Glenholme' Ventnor Road Apse Heath where their daughter Janet was born on 4th December 1937.

Throughout his life Harold took a lively part in the life of the village and he was long remembered for the Chapel Anniversaries, the Pleasant Sunday Afternoons, and the Sportsmen's Services he organised at the Chapel at Apse Heath. He was a keen member of the Sandown Operatic and Dramatic Society taking leading parts in many of their Gilbert and Sullivan productions. As a sportsman he was a fine track athlete and for some years was a member of Ryde Harriers for which Club he ran in middle-distance events. He played football for Apse Heath Football Club and on retiring from playing he took over the duties of trainer bringing the village team up to a standard of fitness unusual in local football at that time.

Harold Taylor volunteered for flying duties in the Royal Air Force in 1940 and after basic training on Salisbury Plain he was posted to the United States for flying training where he eventually qualified as a pilot at No 1 E.F.T.S. at Terrell near Dallas in the State of Texas. He was then several years over the average age of air-crew but his keenness and determination were clearly reflected in a letter home to one of his mates at Apse Heath in which he described the hard work necessary to stay the course but which he intended to stick at as long as anyone else in his entry.

On his return to this country Pilot Officer Harold Taylor was posted to No 26 Army Co-operation Squadron, an operational squadron flying Mustang fighter-bomber aircraft at Gatwick. On his first operational flight over enemy territory Harold's flight carried out a low level attack on German barges. His aircraft appeared to crash on the beach near one of the barges and his flight-commander when making a second attack reported seeing wreckage. Harold was not seen again and he was reported missing as the result of air operations. He has no known grave and his name is recorded on the tablets of the Royal Air Force Memorial at Runnymede.

[*] this biography was compiled in 1982

Further information can be found here : Biographical information

CWGC record ...

H Taylor
Harold Taylor in front of Mustang aircraft
photo courtesy of John Bloodworth
Harold Taylor
photo courtesy of Jill James



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