A Poppy
A Poppy

Memorials & Monuments
on the Isle of Wight
- People -
- Newchurch - Leonard Taylor -


Leading Telegraphist P/SSX 25721 Leonard Taylor, Royal Navy


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

Newchurch - Leonard Taylor
Biographical information

The eldest son of Dudley Ernest John Taylor and Evelyn Taylor of 'Glencoe' Ventnor Road Apse Heath, LEADING TELEGRAPHIST LEONARD TAYLOR was born on 27th June 1920, his father, an old Navy man, being a bricklayer by trade. Len started his schooling at Newchurch School but after a year or so he was transferred to Gatten & Lake School from which he subsequently gained a scholarship to Sandown Secondary School where he attended from 1932 to 1936. His parents were devoted members of the Methodist Church at Apse Heath and Len was a member of the Sunday School and later the Chapel itself.

On leaving school Leonard Taylor trained as a baker with the local family firm of G.M. Taylor & Sons where he was a conscientious worker but his great interest was in radio at which he was to become a skilled amateur short wave operator and this hobby occupied almost all his spare time. He was always a quiet and rather reserved boy wrapped up in his hobby. There is little doubt that his enthusiasm eventually led him to join the signals branch of the Royal Navy and he entered the Service as a trainee telegraphist in 1938.

After qualifying as a telegraphist Leonard served for a spell on the battleship H.M.S. Warspite but subsequently joined H.M.S. Janus, a 'J' class destroyer launched in 1939. in the 'Janus' he served first in Northern waters during the ill-fated Norwegian campaign and subsequently in the Mediterranean where H.M.S. Janus as part of Force 'D', took part in the naval operations, first in the battle for Crete where the destroyer made the initial sighting of the invading enemy fleet and subsequently in the grim actions covering the withdrawal of the Allied forces from the Island and from which battles the 'Janus' emerged unscathed.

At the end of her arduous spell in the Mediterranean H.M.S. Janus sailed to South Africa and during the destroyer's stay there Leonard was loaned to the shore station at the Simonstown Naval Base. On Boxing Day 1941 whilst visiting Cape Town he was knocked down by a car from which he sustained spinal injuries. He spent almost fourteen months in a South African hospital and was then transferred back to the United Kingsom in a hospital ship. He was first sent to a hospital in Chester, then moved to Warrington and finally to the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar where he died on 12th February 1943 and lies buried in the Parish Cemetery here at Newchurch. Leading Telegraphist Leonard Taylor was not killed in action with the enemy but he faced the long months of suffering before his death with the same calm fortitude with which he had faced the hazardous months of desperate action on H.M.S. Janus.

Buried in All Saints Churchyard.

CWGC record ...


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