Missing War Medals of John Alfred TAYLOR – Royal West Kent Regiment

My Grandfather John Alfred Taylor was born in Woolwich Kent and a milkman by trade when he enlisted as a 19 year old with the Royal West Kent Regiment for general service on 7/9/1914.  John was posted to the 7th Battalion. After a period of training the Battalion left for France on the 26/7/1915.

The 7th Battalion took part in the catastrophe of 01/07/1916 the Battle of Albert, suffering around 40 dead and 137 wounded. Some Battalions in this battle were more or less annihilated. The fighting then continued for months on the Somme front, including the Battle of Bazentin Ridge, the Battle of Delville Wood, the Battle of Thiepval Ridge and the Battle of the Ancre Heights.

The hat badge of the Royal West Kent Regiment. John Alfred TAYLOR served with this unit during the Great War and his grand daughter is searching for the missing war medals which sadly, were sold by a relative to a pawn broker in Australia without the knowledge of his grand daughter. If you purchased these medals, would you please consider selling them back to his family?

By the end of 1916 the Battalion was taking part in operations along the line of the River Ancre. In the spring of 1917 the Battalion saw action in the Operations on the Ancre, the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line and the Third Battle of the Scarpe, a phase of the Arras offensive.

The Battalion then moved to a new theatre of operations on the Flanders front on 03/07/1917 where they would later take part in the Battle of Pilkem Ridge, the Battle of Langemarck, the First and Second Battles of Passchendaele, all phases of the Third Battles of Ypres. The Battalion began a period of trench duty at Zillebeke on 17/07/1917, they were bombarded by gas and mustard shells with casualties taken. Overnight on the 23-24/07/1917 the trenches were again bombarded with gas which resulted in 29 men being admitted to hospital the next day – including John.

John suffering from the affects of poison gas is evacuated to the UK where he is admitted to a hospital in Liverpool for 71 days. He is not declared fully fit for service until 07/01/1918, he then awaits further posting.

John proceeds overseas to France on 14/02/1918 where he seems to have been posted to the 8th Battalion of the Royal West Kent Regiment, but only a few days later is re-posted to the 72nd  Trench Mortar Battery. They were positioned at Vadencourt Chateau at the start of the German Spring Offensive on 21/03/1918 where they were heavily bombarded with gas shells. John suffers gas poisoning and is admitted to a Casualty Clearing Station. As the Germans continued to advance and the need for manpower is desperate, John is rapidly returned to duty.

John Alfred TAYLOR (seated in centre, the photograph being marked with a star by a relative). Both John and the soldier standing behind him are wearing caps, bearing the badge of the Royal West Kent Regiment which may indicate the photo was taken prior to February 1918. His war service medals are missing. Can you please help?

The 72nd Brigade under the 24th Division saw action in the Battle of St Quentin followed by the battles to control the bridges over the Somme, the battle of Rosieres and the first Battle of the Avre 1918. John is appointed to Lance Corporal on 18/04/1918 and he is again admitted to hospital having burnt his leg on 29/05/1918 – he returns to duty 08/06/1918.

On 26/10/1918 John is promoted to Corporal and on 30/10/1918 he suffers an accidental injury of the hand and head caused by a faulty German flare pistol exploding when he attempted to fire it near Avesnes. John is invalided back to the UK and is treated in the St. John Hospital at Cheltenham for 31 days and from there he is demobilized on 04/02/1919.   

Medal Entitlement

John Alfred TAYLOR was awarded the 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal. All will be impressed with his name. As the medals were sold to a pawn broker in Australia (Cash Converters) it is highly likely they are now in the hands of a collector somewhere in Australia. This gives us all hope and his grand daughter is hoping the new custodian of the medals may be kind enough to sell them back to her. If you know of the whereabouts of these missing war service medals, please contact the team at Medals Gone Missing.

No.G/2062, Royal West Kent Regiment John served overseas with the 7th and 8th Battalions. A Private at the time he went overseas with an entitlement to the British War Medal &  Victory medal . His rank on these medals would have been Corporal as this was his rank at the end of hostilities. He also had an entitlement to the 1914-15 Star, I think his rank on this medal would have been Private as his rank is listed as PTE on the medal index card.

My Grandfather fought long and hard in WW1 and his medals are extremely important to me as a recognition of his service to his country. Unfortunately I cannot change the fact that a family member sold them to Cash Converters without my knowledge. If I had known  I would have gladly given them any amount of money to keep them in the family, but I can try and right the wrong by trying to recover them.  My only saving grace is that hopefully a collector purchased them and in doing so has kept them safe and will one day be willing to sell back to me.

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About gary

Gary Traynor is the volunteer Administrator of the Militaria based website MEDALSGONEMISSING. The aim of this "NOT FOR PROFIT" website is to reunite families, with lost War Medals and other items of militaria. Anything from medals to items of uniform. What Gary refers to as their "lost heritage". He has been actively involved in the Militaria world and researching of Military History for well over 30 years. As a result, Gary also conducts valuations and offers advice on all items of militaria. He has acted as advisor to a number of television and Foxtel productions; including Sir Tony Robinson's "Tour of Duty" series which featured on the History Channel. Gary is a field historian and conducts tours to Gallipoli, The Western Front, Kokoda and many other major battle sites around the world. He was a member of the Australian Army Reserve (UNSWR & 4/3 RNSWR) and served for 23 years with the New South Wales Police Force. He is perhaps the only person who has been employed at the Australian War Memorial in all three capacities .... as a volunteer, part time and full time employee .... starting as a qualified tour guide, working in the public galleries as an Information Assistant and finally Assistant Curator in Military Heraldry & Technology. Medalsgonemissing is a website that will assist you in locating your family's lost war medals and other awards. If you have an ancestor who served in any of the British Commonwealth Armed Services at any time - and whose medals are lost/stolen or simply missing....then so long as the medals are out there - this site will help you to locate them. However the site also contains articles of interest in relation to Military History, War Memorials & Uniforms / kit. Please explore our website as there is sure to be something of interest to you.
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