The Reporter breaks news soldier may not return home

Private George Taylor was killed in the Battle of Mons
Private George Taylor was killed in the Battle of Mons

A solider’s wife received the dreaded news her husband may not return home in a newspaper article.

Private George Willie Taylor was believed to have been among the first soldiers to have fought in the first world war.

After the break out of the war on August 4 1914, his brigade was deployed to fight in the Battle of Mons.

It was the first time the British Army fought against the Germans as they clashed on the French borders on August 23.

A member of the 2nd Battalion, King’s Own Yorkshire Infantry, the Reporter said the whereabouts of Pte Taylor and his friend Pte Alfred Dyer was unknown.

It reported both soldiers, who worked as miners in Dewsbury, had been missing since August 30.

Shirley Sands, of Cowdry Close, Dewsbury, said her family were never told how her grandfather was killed.

“My family must have been living in hope that they would hear from him soon,” she said.

“But like so many soldiers, he probably went over the top and was mowed down by the guns. He would have been cannon fodder as they called it.”

The article said his wife, Sarah Ann Taylor, had received a letter from her husband before the war but she never heard from him again.

After researching her grandfather’s records, Mrs Sands found he was killed four days before he was announced missing. He died aged 28.

She said: “He must have been one of the first soldiers over there because we found a postcard from him saying he had not gone to war yet.

“If only he had known what was to come. He is probably buried under the mud where so many men lost their lives.

“These people always go digging and find belongings from soldiers and I wonder to myself if they’ll ever find anything from him.”

Pte Taylor’s name is listed on the La Ferte-Sous-Jouarre memorial in France.

Located in the East of Paris, it commemorates nearly 4,000 men of the British Expeditionary Force who died between August and October 1914 and had no known grave.

Mrs Sands also inherited a British War Medal and Victory Medal awarded to her grandfather.

She proudly hung a photo of him in her home as a reminder of the sacrifice he made.

“I am certainly proud of him and all our lads who have served,” Mrs Sands said.

“I always send a cheque every month to Help for Heroes since it first started.

“The war affected so many people’s lives and it is important that they are not forgotten.”