Rank: Private
Number: 20975
Unit: 3rd Battalion COLDSTREAM GUARDS
Date of Death: 11 October 1917
Age: 37
Cemetery: Tyne Cot Memorial, Zonnebeke, Belgium

Harry Taylor was born locally and lived all his life here, until he enlisted into the army in 1915.

The family home was at 364 Buxton Road, Great Moor. He had four brothers and a sister - Benjamin, Catherine, Jack, James and William. He had attended Great Moor School between 1888 and 1894. Harry earned his living making bricks and he worshipped at St Saviour's Church.

Harry enlisted on 8 December and, just three days later, he married Annie Mabel (May) Oldham. They set up home at 24 Neville Street, Hazel Grove and they probably only a day or so together before Harry left for training.

On 9 October 1917, Harry and his comrades took part in an attack north of the Belgian town of Ypres (now Ieper), towards the Houthhoulst Forest. Although they came under heavy fire, they secured their objective and dug-in to form a defensive flank for the whole Brigade. The next day, at dawn, a number of Germans were seen crawling in No Man's Land. They were fired on and casualties were inflicted. During the day, a number of other Germans surrendered.

In the evening, the Battalion was relieved from the front line to bivouacs in "Wood 15", where they would remain, out of action, until the 16th. Official records and newspaper reports suggest that Harry was accidentally killed on the 11th. The Battalion's War Diary, written up by an officer on a daily basis, makes no mention of any injuries that day. Although away from the front line, the Battalion would still be training or carrying stores to the front line. It is easy to believe that Harry may have slipped off one of the duckboard paths; fallen into a water filled shell hole and drowned. This might account for why he has no known grave. It is, however, impossible now to be certain what happened to him.

Further information about Harry can be found in the book "Hazel Grove to Armageddon" by John Eaton.

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