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Thomas Taylor

Warrant Officer Thomas Dalziel Taylor 1561496 RAFVR 1922—2004

Young Tom Taylor hailed from Greenock on the Clyde, where he was born in the Spring of 1922. In late September 1941, an apprentice draughtsman not yet 20, he presented himself for enlistment in the RAF. On assessment by his local Selection Board (No 24 ACSB), he was found medically fit. Perhaps with credit accruing from his education and trade, he was recommended for aircrew training as pilot or observer.

    LAC TD Taylor 1942 s0013
    LAC TD Taylor,Greenock, May 1942
    A happy studio shot for the family before departure, trainee aircrew flash already in his cap.

Like many another as the RAF struggled to cope with the influx of new recruits, he was attested, attached to Edinburgh Reserve with the usual entry level of Aircraftman 2nd Class, and then sent home. Ever the serviceman’s lot: hurry up and wait.

Into the RAF
So it was March 1942 before Taylor marched in to No 1 Aircrew Reception Centre, then at Lord’s Cricket Ground, for the initial kitting out that set a new man in uniform on his service feet. A month there, and he passed on to the Aircrew Disposal Wing in Brighton, while the system worked out where to send him.

In the air
Three weeks in Brighton and he was off again to 17 Initial Training Wing at Scarborough, for the indispensable ground training that would keep him out of trouble: square bashing, discipline, basic weapons and so on for three months from 25 April 1942, followed by re-classification to Leading Aircraftman on 3 July 1942.

The system then shuffled LAC Taylor quickly through No 1 Aircrew Despatch Centre at Heaton Park and 51 Group Pool (the portal for aircrew training). From there, real flying beckoned with posting to 4 Elementary Flying Training School, Brough. By now it was 4 August 1942. The very next day he was in the front seat of a Tiger Moth at last. A fortnight later, LAC Taylor had some 12 hours dual in the log as pilot under training.

The Empire Air Training Scheme, known in Canada as the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, was already well underway in the summer of 1942. A year on from his enlistment, Tom Taylor had now passed the first hurdle: the twelve hour EFTS stint had been put in place that year to grade pupil pilots, the better ones being sent on to Canada for their aircrew training. A grand adventure no doubt, but plucked out of Brough, he languished at the Aircrew Despatch Centre once more from 15 September 1942, apparently embarking for Canada on 13 November.

O Canada!
In any event, his convoy voyage across the winter North Atlantic safely over, he was in Canada. But it was 8 December before he was back in the air.

If rather galling after such a long layoff, perhaps it was as well that the system now required him to start again at the beginning. At 31 EFTS De Winton, south of Calgary in chilly winter Alberta, he began afresh in Course No 70. Repeating the Tiger Moth elementary flying exercises he had flown 4 months before, within a fortnight he’d got his confidence back, the all-important first solo carefully underlined in the log on 19 December, after only six hours in the air in Canada (eight was expected).

There was still plenty of dual instruction to go. By 5 February 1943 Tom Taylor had completed his 8 week course with 28 hours dual and 42 hours as pilot by day, plus 15 hours dual night and instrument flying. The log now recorded a total of 87 flying hours overall, and 12 unappealing hours shut in the dark cabin of the Link Trainer, that first of flight simulators. LAC Taylor passed out of Elementary Flying School with the usual dry assessment of ability as a pilot: “average”.

Though unremarked in his remaining papers, Taylor was now slated for multi-engine training, rather than the single engine stream for potential fighter pilots. With scarcely a break, his advanced training began on 7 February 1942, in the Avro Ansons of 33 Service Flying Training School at Carberry, Manitoba, on the transcontinental railway 180km west of Winnipeg. In passing the twelve weeks of Course No 74, Taylor had added to his Log Book a further 106 hours dual instruction (70 by day, and 36 at night or on instruments), plus 71 hours as pilot, 10 of them at night. Not to mention a further 20 hours in the Link.

And so, after 6 months hard work through the winter of 1942, Tom Taylor had earned his flying badge—with effect from 27 May 1943. The step up to Sergeant which came with his wings is recorded on his RAF Form 543A, virtually illegibly in the Promotions table but clearly under Musterings, as Pilot S [ie Sgt] 28 May 1943.

TDT traineepilots s0012
Pilots all: 33 Service Flying Training School Carberry c May 1943 (Taylor family collection)
Here the trainee pilots have put up their wings at last, and so recently that the white cap flash of the trainee is still in place while some of the men are still LACs, indicating this is the pilots course completion shot at 33 SFTS. Tom Taylor is in the rear row, third from the left. Front row centre, fourth from the left, is plainly Ken Webster, who on the original is marked with a cross, as are 10 others. They may all be mates of Tom Taylor’s, though it is possible that, like Corky Webster, they were all lost on active service. This copy from the remaining family collection was cut down from a larger print, of which Monty
Walters kept a copy, shown below.

33 SFTS Wings 05 05 43 72
Wings parade, 33 SFTS Carberry 5 May 1943 (Walters collection)
The full print from Monty
Walters, of the trimmed version seen above. The newly qualified pilots have their wings, but still retain the white cap flash of trainees. All but three are still Leading Aircraftmen at this point. Personnel names, as sorted by Messrs Walters and Watts:

    Front row: fourth from the left, LAC Ken (Corky) Webster
    2nd row: sixth from the left, Cpl Thomson (to his left, two Sergeants, one without wings).
    3rd row, left to right: LAC Monty Walters, LAC Jock Stewart, LAC Alec Storer, LAC Smedly, n/k, n/k, n/k, n/k, LAC Shepherd, n/k, LAC Stubbs, n/k, n/k.
    Rear row left to right: LAC Johnny Shelton-Smith, n/k, n/k, LAC Eddy Whitehorn, LAC Tommy Taylor, LAC Vic Treasure, then eight unidentified men.

With the early summer of 1943 came the first of the “polishing” steps. At 31 General Reconnaissance School, Charlottetown (on Prince Edward Island in the southern waters of the Gulf of St Lawrence), Sgt Taylor dashed though the notionally 9 week navigation course in 6 weeks. Flying Ansons for 38 hours as second pilot, he was learning the black art of dead reckoning navigation on long over water legs, so essential for coastal reconnaissance work or ferry flights from the UK. Monty Walters kept a print of their Course photograph, seen on Ricky Watts page.

Course complete, by 2 August 1943 it was time to go home, some eleven months after leaving the United Kingdom. After a week’s leave, he was at 31 Personnel Depot, Moncton on the icy Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, awaiting embarkation.

Back in the UK
Arriving safely at 7 Personnel Reception Centre Harrogate, he was soon on his way to the next “polishing” step. His luck was in: he was to take the 10 weeks of twin-engine flying in the Airspeed Oxfords of No 19 (Pilots) Advanced Flying Unit at Dalcross, on Moray Firth less than ten miles from Inverness. Scotland at last, though devil a long train journey from Greenock. Posted in on 2 November 1943, he was flying a week later and then virtually every day until 17 January 1944. Among the instrument stints and cross-countries, the last weeks of the course added some more exhilarating stuff: tactical manoeuvres. Then on 11 February 1944 it was done, with just under 400 hours service flying in the Log Book, 178 as pilot.

From some reason there was now a hiccup: posted this time to 21 Pilots Advanced Flying Unit at Perton in Wolverhampton from 15 February. In the Reserve Flight, he kept his hand in with just 15 hours flying from then until April. This too may have been a little galling. Perhaps it was something to do with the difficulties encountered in setting up No 79 Operational Training Unit in the Middle East. Although formally established in February 1944 to train general reconnaissance and strike crews on Beaufighters, the state of the airfield and consequent delays in taking aircraft on charge meant it was May 1944 before training could begin.

In the Middle East
However it was, after a couple of weeks at 5 Personnel Despatch Centre Blackpool, on 4 May 1944 Taylor was again aboard ship, posted to RAF Middle East. Passing quickly through the dreaded Transit Camp at Port Said, more frustration was to come, though he was certainly going to see the sights. Soon he arrived at No. 1 (Middle East) Aircrew Reception Centre, Jerusalem, there to remain from late May to July. Even then, it was another month languishing at RAF HQ Nicosia in Cyprus before moving over to 79 OTU. Still, there was compensation: promotion to Flight Sergeant came in its due time on 28 May 1944.

In Cyprus on 8 August he at least got a seat in an aircraft type that had not long been withdrawn from operational duty: the Bristol Blenheim V. With three weeks of dual refreshers in a big twin under his belt, he was finally introduced to a first-line operational aircraft, the Bristol Beaufighter X. With a further 17 hours in the Link Trainer (true “dual” then being impractical in the Beaufighter) and a couple of one hour “over the shoulder” stints, on 3 September 1944 he strapped in to the cockpit for his first solo in the mighty “Beau”.

By 23 September, he had teamed up with Sgt Vic Broome as his Navigator/Wireless Operator and they were in serious business, just on three years since he had enlisted. In 3 Squadron of 79 OTU, formation flying practice came first, then more exciting action: lots of air to ground gunnery with the crashing, reeking cannons under their feet, and more smoke and thunder with RP (rocket projectile) attacks. On 23 October 1944, the Beaufighter course completed, Taylor had 480 service flying hours under his belt, 54 of them in the Beaufighter.

    TelAviv ray eddie bill TDT korky s0009
    Ray, Eddie, Bill, Tom, Corky, Tel Aviv, late 1944 (Taylor family collection)
    A day off on the beach at Tel Aviv. Only five of the seven are identified on the print. Tom fourth from the left, rear.

    Identified in full by Ricky Watts and Monty Walters in 2010 as follows:
    Rear, left to right: Ray Wood, Eddie Whitehorn, Bill Wilkes, Tommy Taylor, Ken “Corky” Webster
    Front: Alec Taylor (possibly) left, Eric “Ricky” Watts, right.

In India
Passing through No 22 Personnel Transit Centre at Almaza outside Cairo, from 28 October Taylor and Broome took passage to India, arriving at Karachi and No 9 Transit Camp, North Malar, for a couple of days before being shunted to Base Reception Depot Worli (Bombay, now Mumbai) on 13 November. As a useful time filler, Taylor took a course at the School of Jungle Self Preservation Training until 15 December 1944.

Earlier in the war, many men had long delays in India while getting to their intended units. Now, after the apparently interminable training and transit camps, the steadfast patience of Flight Sergeants Taylor and Broome was to be rewarded—they were about to move quite smartly to the sharp end. First came a quick refresher course for Taylor. It being some 10 weeks since he had flown, five Beaufighter flights at No 3 Refresher Flying Unit, Poona, got him back into the swing of things in the last two weeks of the year.

Then on with Vic to the Ground Attack Training Unit at Ranchi, where 211 Squadron had been based and where the earlier Beaufighter crews had gone through similar training under the Special Low Attack Instructors School title. Arriving on 12 January 1945, they completed a dozen flights in fourteen days, adding 24 hours to the log, 23 as pilot for Taylor. Taylor scored well with his guns and rockets, gaining a “good average” assessment for both. At last, the long, long months of training were done. They were ready for operations.

To 211 Squadron
Posted to 211 Squadron on 5 February 1945, their arrival at Chiringa on 13 February was recorded in the Squadron Operations Record Book that day, as one of three crews coming from Ranchi.

At this time the Squadron was replacing a number of tour-expired men who had completed 200 hours flying on operational sorties. Thus W/O Bill Dickinson had left that same day, while W/O Dennis Spencer had departed three days earlier. On 16 February, attached to ‘B’ Flight under the Australian Perce Stacey, they took a local flight around Chiringa for an hour in Beaufighter X KW398 ‘S’.

By late March, some other old mates from 79 OTU had turned up, with the arrival of Monty Walters and Ron Kemp.

Beaufighter operations
Then it was down to serious work. For their first operation together on the morning of 18 February, they patrolled the Irrawaddy River, flying solo in
KW413 ‘W’. In the air for three hours, they spent a hour patrolling between Kama and Migyaungye, strafing a number of sampans. If their patrol was uneventful, the aircraft which took over the task in the afternoon had a more exciting time. Hit by AA fire near Thayetmyo, Webster and Hopes in ‘Z’ returned to Chiringa with a punctured tyre to make a successful belly-landing. The sharp end indeed!

By the end of March, with F/Lt EL Wood temporarily in charge of the Flight, they had already accumulated 11 operations in 49 flying hours, returning safely from the tenth on one engine after being shot up. This was sufficiently diverting that Taylor later could not recall the full identity of the aircraft, only noting it in his log as RD...‘X’. The ORB recorded the events:

    Form 540 Monthly Summary
    “Place: Chiringa
    Summary of Events:
    Two aircraft patrolled the Toungoo-Kemapyu-Loikaw road and attacked with rockets a reported ammunition dump by the Pasawng Pagoda. [...] The other [aircraft] was hit by 20mm fire near Namhpe; it strafed the gun position and then returned to base where it landed safely with considerable damage.”

    Form 541 Daily Summary
    “Day, 25.3.45
    Aircraft: ‘X’ F/S Taylor, F/S Broome. Duty: Ops. Time up: 08.40hrs Time down:13.05hrs
    Task: Attack communications on the Toungoo-Kemapyu-Loikaw [road]. Aircraft ‘X’ followed the road from Toungoo to Kemapyu and made 2 attacks (with no visible results apart from strikes) on a reported ammunition dump 20 yards SE of the Pasawng Pagoda. Accurate 20mm fire was then encountered 3 miles N of Namhpe and the aircraft was hit in the starboard engine, starboard wing and port aileron. The pilot opened fire, gave the gun position a long burst with his cannons and set course for base, where the aircraft was landed safely despite extensive damage.”

The end of Beaufighter operations was nearly upon them now. In April they added 3 more operations, and on 3 May one final railway patrol and that was that: 15 operations in all, in 67 flying hours. Along the way, Taylor had accumulated some 585 service flying hours in the Log Book. On 28 May 1945, Taylor was promoted again, to the “war temporary” rank of Warrant Officer.

Mosquito conversion
Stood down from operations to train with their new aircraft, the 211s were now safe from the attentions of the Japanese in the air or on the ground. However, the period of conversion to the de Havilland
Mosquito FB Mark VI was a very testing one. Having withdrawn from the front firstly to Yelahanka near Bangalore in Southern India, then east to St Thomas Mount near Madras, flying training began on 11 June 1945. Within three weeks, there were two fatal accidents resulting in the death of all four aircrew and 38 Indian villagers. F/Sgt Taylor was closely connected to both these sad events.

    The first accident took place while the Squadron was based at Yelahanka. In the course of a fighter affiliation exercise on 29 June, W/O Lowcock lost control of HR554 while manoeuvring at an altitude of 2000ft and was unable to recover. The aircraft crashed on a local village near the airfield and caught fire on impact, killing Lowcock and W/O Bill Wilkes, and 38 villagers. Taylor was taking part in this exercise, sitting in the second seat alongside the very experienced W/O Alan Wythe DFM in RF588.

    The second accident occurred three days later. On 2 July, RF779 crashed in the course of a formation shallow dive-bombing display 28 miles North of Bangalore and perhaps 10 miles north of Yelahanka. Sadly, the pilot 1455066 W/O Kenneth Webster misjudged the pullout and the aircraft disintegrated on impact with the ground. Webster and his navigator 1550365 F/Sgt Jack Hopes died. Webster was a particularly close friend of Tom Taylor’s. By this date, Taylor was already at St Thomas Mount, and on that day he was in the air, doing a dual check with F/Lt Winship at the controls of Mosquito III RR277.

These incidents deeply affected Taylor and indeed the whole Squadron. But in August the end of the war came, to much celebration. The Japanese surrender forestalled the resumption of operations towards which they had been working for their part in Operation Zipper (the invasion of Malaya planned for that month).

To Siam
Despite ongoing organisation problems and servicing difficulties, the Squadron carried on, moving from St Thomas Mount that November forward to Akyab in Burma. This turned out to be a staging point for the move to Don Muang near Bangkok in Siam, where they took post as part of the re-occupation of Thailand later that month.

Sadly, it was in the course of communications sorties out of Don Muang that the Squadron’s last casualty was to arise, when RF588 broke up in mid-air 10 miles SSW of Ipoh in Malaya on 13 December 1945 with the loss of F/O Stephen Falconer Dunnett 179774 and his passenger. Dunnett would certainly have been known to F/Sgt Taylor, though as an officer, perhaps not so well as other NCO aircrew.

The Squadron remained at Don Muang until March 1946. Despite repeated restrictions, stand-downs and inspections of their aircraft and the possibility of disbandment, they carried on with the routine of a Squadron at operational readiness, carrying out a range of flying exercises designed to keep their skills up and “show the flag”, lest they be needed to mount sorties against Communist insurgents.

On 19 January 1946, the Squadron took part in the grand parade and flypast for the returning King of Siam, HM Ananda Mahidol, Rama VIII with SEAC Supremo Lord Mountbatten, well recorded by Squadron members including Ron Kemp, Des Marsh-Collis, Les Ramsay, and Monty Walters,whose photographs show the 12 aircraft formation in which Tom Taylor took part.

The 211 Squadron contingent of nine aircraft was led by S/Ldr FM Bruckshaw and included Taylor and Broome flying RF765 ‘S’. The Spitfires of 8 Squadron and 10 Squadron were a little off in their lining up, so the 211 Squadron formation was the only one to track over the saluting base in Rajadamnoen Ave, timed to arrive as the RAF contingent (including 211 Squadron groundcrew) passed HM the King and Mountbatten.

Now more problems were found with the aircraft, as recounted on the Mosquito page. With it, came the final disbanding of a valiant Squadron. On 25 February 25 1946, Tom Taylor and and Vic Broome flew RF791 from Bangkok to Singapore for disposal, their last flight together with No 211 Squadron RAF. The Log Book now stood at 661 hours service flying, 418 as pilot, 67 on operations, and 47 in the Mosquito. The Squadron disbanded on 15 March 1946.

A brief sojourn
On that day Taylor was posted to 110 Squadron, who were then operating Mosquitoes out of Labuan in Borneo against Communist insurgents, with a detachment at RAF Seletar, the pre-war permanent station in Malaya. But it was not to last: the tropics had found out serious weaknesses in the Mosquito and on 7 April 1946, they too disbanded. During that brief period Taylor had been taken ill, spending a fortnight in hospital at 53 IGH at Kohima, the scene of bloody and victorious battle against the Japanese 15th Army two years earlier. Indeed, though noted as “posted”, he may not have made it to 110 Squadron at all.

Towards the end of his overseas service some light relief came Taylor’s way, with a final relaxed posting to the AHQ Burma Communications Flight at Rangoon. Although he made no more entries in the log book beyond a tantalising incomplete mention of Spitfire FS364, the one line entry of his final RAF flying assessment on the 25 May 1946 Air Headquarters Burma chit says it all: “A good average pilot”.

Duty done
So at last the end came, repatriated through 26 Transit Centre Rangoon to home, reaching 101 Personnel Despatch Centre, Kirkham on 16 July 1946. There, in the reduced rank of Sergeant pilot (the common lot of “duration only” personnel in “war temporary” ranks) he was released to the ‘A’ Class Reserve, just in case. But five year of testing slog were over.

Tom Taylor’s Photographs
Despite his understandable post-war silence, Tom long kept some treasures safe: his medals, his log book and his photograph album. Although the album is mislaid for the moment, there are yet some shots from his collection, which the Taylor family have kindly made available to be shown here.

    LAC Taylor, c1942 (Taylor collection)
    The white flash of the aircrew trainee in their caps, Taylor on the left with a friend. Perhaps at Brough, but possibly Canada. If so then very likely 31 Elementary Flying Training School at De Winton in Alberta—as cold as his Scottish home.

    Sgt Taylor, c December 1943 (Taylor collection)
    A happy shot of a newly qualified pilot

    Sgt Ken Webster (left) and Sgt Tom Taylor (right), Tel Aviv mid 1944 (Taylor collection)
    A spot of leave at the seaside, perhaps in May 1944. By this date the tide of war had changed and with it came a palpable sense of optimism. More hard fighting was still to come and bitter losses too, but few doubted the ultimate outcome.

    Thunderbolt scramble s0003
    Thunderbolt scramble India c 1944 (Taylor family collection)
    An anonymous shot. There were a number of familiar ex-Blenheim Squadrons in theatre that re-equipped with the Republic Thunderbolt in 1944 or 1945, among them 30 Squadron, 60 Squadron and 113 Squadron.

    Ken Webster in flying kit (Taylor collection)
    A very early shot. Kenneth had joined the RAFVR in February 1942. Selected for aircrew he took initial training at London, Brighton and Aberystwyth, before gaining his pilot’s wings as another BCATP trainee in Canada. Posted to Coastal Command he had gone on to serve in the Middle East, before reaching 211 Squadron in India. He was just 22 when he died in the accident to
    Mosquito RF779 on 2 July 1945 recorded above. He lies, with his Nav/W Jack Hopes, in Madras War Cemetery. Webster and and Taylor were very close mates.

    Kenneth Webster, Mrs Webster, Vincent Webster c1942 (Taylor collection)

      Ken’s elder brother Vincent had joined the then Auxiliary Air Force in 1939. Volunteering for aircrew, by 1943 and aged about 26, he had been posted to 35 Squadron then operating from Gravely as a Pathfinder unit equipped with the Handley Page Halifax II. On the night of 17/18 August 1943 he was lost on the historic Peenemünde raid in Halifax II HR862 TL-X. Of the large force of 600 Halifax and Lancaster aircraft striking the German Army Research Centre V2 rocket testing site that night, 41 aircraft were lost, 18 of them Halifaxes.

      Webster’s aircraft crashed near Greifswald on the Baltic coast of NE Germany, about 15 miles (about 4 minutes flying time) SW of the target, killing five of the seven crew. Two survived, as PoWs. Webster and his four dead comrades were initially buried at Greifswald and later, fittingly, moved to the Berlin 1939-1945 War Cemetery, a site selected soon after the war by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and British Occupation Authorities. The two Webster boys are commemorated in the Totley Rise Methodist Church, the local Totley war memorial, and of course by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

    Wagstaff and McCaskill (Taylor collection)
    Pilot F/Sgt Les Wagstaff on the right, his Nav/W McCaskill on the left. In new overalls—one of a number of photographs of crews, sporting the new overalls acquired from the off-base tailor at St Thomas Mount, taken in mid or late 1945, including Monty
    Walters and Ricky Watts.

    Mussouri scenery, 1945 (Taylor collection)
    A spot of leave at one of the Hill Stations of Northern India. Mussorie is in the foothills of the Himalayas, 220 kilometres north of Delhi. Known for its 5,000 year old Hindu temples and cool climate and still a tourist destination today.

    Sgt Neil Moss (Taylor collection)
    More holiday entertainment, perhaps also in the Hill country.

    Dinghy hi-jinks. Taylor on the right (Taylor collection)

    TDT Standown boys s0006
    Here the lads have a shady spot for the afternoon, at ease reading papers or just skiting. TD Taylor centre, looking at the camera.

    Unidentified airmen, possibly GATU Ranchi early 1945 (Taylor collection)
    Tom Taylor third from the right, front row, elbows on knees, and possibly Vic Broome standing third from the left. At Chiringa there were no Nissen huts. Some of the men are shirtless, suggesting somewhere in the Far East or India, though the presence of so many forage caps and the absence of any bush hats is puzzling. It might be Ranchi and the Ground Attack Training Unit, where there were indeed Nissen Huts. Taylor and Broome took their final polishing there in January and February 1945. But then, it might just be later—W/O Taylor was posted to 110 Squadron in 1946, another Mosquito unit. This might just be at the permanent pre-war station in Malaya, RAF Seletar.

    Unidentified airmen, possibly GATU Ranchi early 1945 (Taylor collection)
    Same occasion, but Taylor now seated second from the right, front row. Possibly Vic Broome standing third from the left.

    Tom Taylor (left) and Vic Broome (right) (Taylor collection)

    211 Squadron St Thomas Mount July 1945 (RAF official via Peter Spooner)
    From the large official
    group shot (where Taylor is 12th from the left, front row). Here he is the rightmost figure.

Photographs of Tom Taylor
Walters has a pretty fair collection of 211 Squadron memorabilia and once again dipped into it generously so that more can now be added to this page, showing TD Taylor on duty and off.

    Pilot Tom Taylor
    Pilot Tom Taylor (Walters collection)
    In the cockpit, but neither Mosquito nor Beaufighter. This has the look of a Blenheim, and TDT is a picture of concentration at the controls. Taken from the bomb-aimer’s position, by the looks.

    Tom Taylor & Ray Wood
    Tom Taylor and Ray Wood (Walters collection)
    Relaxing in the pool. Tom on the left.

    Tom Taylor & Vic Broome
    Tom Taylor and Vic Broome (Walters collection)
    The popular new uniforms, again at St Thomas Mount.

    Tommy Taylor 2 72
    Tom Taylor (Walters collection)
    Another relaxed off duty shot.

    Alf Wythe DFM & Tom Taylor
    "Alfie" Wythe DFM and Tom Taylor (Walters collection)
    Two pilots. "Alfie" grins warily at the camera, Tom smiles widely. The collected ribbonry suggests a latish date, probably at Don Muang.

    B T W
    Vic Broome, Tommy Taylor, Ed Webber, Don Muang Christmas 1945 (Walters collection).
    A cheerful shot, Tom with tankard to hand as they carol happily away.

    To Bangkok
    Ron Watling, Ken Kneebone, Tommy Taylor (Walters collection)
    Walking down from Don Muang airfield to catch the bus to Bangkok.

    Tom T
    In soccer gear (Walters collection)
    Tom was goal-keeper in the Squadron soccer team.

Home to Greenock
Finally released from the ‘A’ Class Reserve in October 1946, Taylor returned home to Greenock. There he found a place once more in civilian life, with marriage to his Frances and a return to work in the Clydeside shipyards. While the family do recall a visit from Vic Broome in the 1980s, in post-war years Tom Taylor was one of those servicemen who chose to say little or nothing of his war-time experiences, preferring golf and the company of his growing family. He and Frances were to have three sons.

Tom died on 4 February 2004 at his Golf Club. Much missed, he rests on Lyle Hill overlooking Greenock Golf Course, the River Clyde and on North to the mists of the Highlands. With great generosity, Frances and her middle son Eric have gone to much trouble in offering copies of Tom’s Log Book, his Form 543A Service record, and his remaining photographs and other treasures to make the writing of this narrative possible. His Log has also added much to the record of 211 Squadron Beaufighter and Mosquito aircraft.

    Medal set, Warrant Officer TD Taylor (Eric Taylor)
    A record of proud service: the 1939—1945 Star, Burma Star, Defence Medal and War Medal.

211 Squadron Operations Record Book TNA AIR 27/1303
Taylor TD RAF Form 543 Record of Service (Airman)
Taylor TD RAF Form 414 Pilot's Flying Log Book copy
Taylor family correspondence, photograph collection
Walters ME personal correspondence, photograph collection

Chorley Bomber Command Losses 1943 (Midland 2007)
Sturtivant RAF Flying Training Units Since 1912 (Air Britain 2007)

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Site created 15 Apr 2001, last updated 31 Mar 2024. Page created 15 Mar 2006, last updated 13 Apr 2020
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