Topic: Harry Edwin Taylor (1888-1916)

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Harry Edwin Taylor abandoned his wife in New Zealand and made his way to Australia where he joined the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. He served under the false name 'John Edward Stone'. Lieutenant Taylor was killed in action on 3 August 1916 during the Battle of Pozières in France which was part of the Battle of the Somme. Story by Debbie McCauley

Harry Edwin Taylor was born in Abel Smith Street in Wellington on 7 October 1888 (reg. 1888/8305). His parents were John Ede and Margaret Taylor (nee Carter) who married in Bolton Street, Wellington, on 21 November 1887 (reg. 1887/1940).

On 21 July 1907 Harry's mother Margret died in Auckland at the age of 38. She was buried in Purewa Cemetery.

Harry went to Sydney, Australia, where he is said to have gone into partnership with Harold Gould in an electrical company.

Whilst in Sydney, Harry performed as an actor in the play 'Dame Nature', a French drama by Henri Bataille. The leading lady was Miss Ethel Irving (Mrs Gilbert Porteous) a 'brilliant English comedienne'. Harry was part of her comedy company when it arrived in New Zealand on board the 'Ulimaroa' on 7 February 1912. The company's New Zealand tour began on 8 February 1912 in Auckland.

On 4 June 1912 Harry's father remarried to Isabella Margaret Munro (1887-1948).

Harry married Ethel Winifred Pelham in Ponsonby, Auckland, on 1 January 1914 (reg. 1914/6821). However, he appears to have abandoned his wife and made his way back to Australia.

In Melbourne, Australia, on 4 February 1915, Harry enlisted to fight during World War I. He served during the war as 'John Edward Stone' in the Australian Imperial Force, Machine Gun Section, 21st Battalion (Service No. 60). It is said that on arrival in Australia he had an accident and suffered from 'amnesia' to explain the false name. However, using a false name could have been to avoid the Army policy of sending his pay back home to his wife in New Zealand.

On 3 August 1916 Lieutenant Harry Edwin Taylor was killed in action during the Battle of Pozières (23 July 1916 to 3 September 1916) in France which was part of the Battle of the Somme. He was aged 28. Harry was buried in the Pozières British Cemetery (Plot III, Row D, Grave No. 16), at Ovillers-La-Boisselle in France.

Harry Taylor (1888-1916)

Harry's father and his stepmother moved to Tauranga in around 1917. Their son, Jack Ede Taylor, was born in Tauranga on 23 December 1917, along with their three following children.

John Ede Taylor died in Omanawa on 4 September 1937, aged 75, and was buried in the Tauranga Anglican Cemetery.

Harry's wife, Ethel Winifred Taylor, never remarried. She died in Auckland on 8 September 1968 (reg. 1968/37348), aged 84, and was buried in Purewa Cemetery.



Auckland War Memorial Museum: Cenotaph Record.

Australian War Memorial: Lieutenant Harry Edwin Taylor.

Births, Deaths and Marriages Online (New Zealand).

Dominion (1912 February 8, p. 4).

Kean, Fiona (2014). From Tauranga to the Trenches (p. 36).

National Archives of Australia: Harry Edwin Taylor.

New Zealand War Graves.

Otago Witness (1912 February 14, p. 69).

Purewa Cemetery Records Online.

The AIF Project: John Edward Stone.

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Harry Edwin Taylor (1888-1916)

Note:Service Number: 60
First Names:Harry Edwin
Last Name:Taylor
Date of Birth:7 October 1888
Place of Birth:Wellington
Country of birth:New Zealand
Date of death:3 August 1916
Place of death:Pozières, Somme, France
Place of burial:Pozières British Cemetery (Plot III, Row D, Grave No. 16), Ovillers-La-Boisselle, France
Occupation:electrical engineer, actor
Spouses name:Ethel Winifred Pelham
Spouses date of birth:20 June 1885
Spouses place of birth:Auckland, New Zealand
Spouses date of death:8 September 1968
Spouses place of death:Auckland, New Zealand
Spouses place of burial:Purewa Cemetery
Date of marriage:1 January 1914
Place of marriage:Auckland, New Zealand
Fathers name:John Ede Taylor
Fathers date of birth:24 October 1864
Fathers place of birth:Birmingham, Warwickshire, England
Fathers date of death:4 September 1937
Fathers place of death:Omanawa, Western Bay of Plenty, New Zealand
Mothers name:Margaret Carter
Mothers date of birth:4 November 1867
Mothers place of birth:Wairoa, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand
Mothers date of death:21 July 1907
Mothers place of death:Auckland, New Zealand
Military Service:World War I (1914-1918)

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