Royton Roll of Honour

A wave of British Infantry going up on September 25th 1916, Battle of Morval © IWM

A couple of weeks later Herbert's family back at 82 Heyside received a letter from him, dictated to a Sister Rose.J.Mayford in which he told them that he had lost an arm:

"Dear Father, Sisters & Brothers - just a line to let you know that I am as well as once can expect. You must not worry because I have had my left arm taken off. I hope all of you are quite well at home. I hope that I will be coming to England before long to see you all. I have been through two operations and the doctor said that it would be best if my arm came off. Love father, sisters and brothers. I would like to get a letter from you. From your loving Son and brother, Herbert Taylor"
As a postscript Sister Mayford had added:
"Your son was very badly wounded and he is still on the dangerously ill list. He is a brave laddie and very patient. I am sorry I have such bad news for you"

A week later the Taylor family received official notification that Herbert had succumbed to his wounds and had died.
The men who died on September 25th/26th are listed below, those who had arrived with Herbert from the Manchester Regiment in August 1916 are asterisked:

AMOS FRED Lance Corporal 2932 from Blackrod
ANDREW BERTIE Private 268419 from Ashton under Lyne*
BATIN THOMAS Corporal 1520 from Liverpool
BAXENDALE WILLIAM 35 Corporal 4165 from Southport
BEARD ARTHUR Private 6945 from Denton *
BLINKHORN GEORGE Private 4968 from Liverpool
BOYCE WILLIAM 25 Lance Corporal  1468 from Liverpool
BRADSHAW AUSTIN Private 2572 from Birkdale
BRAITHWAITE HAROLD Private 7019 from Ashton under Lyne*
CURPHEY THOMAS Private 2236 from Liverpool
DAGGER RICHARD 33 Private 267253 from Southport
DAVIES EDWIN 20 Private 2258 from Liverpool
DRANSFIELD ALBERT Private 268467 from Ashton under Lyne*
EVANS DAVID 25 Lance Corporal 265743 from Ormskirk
FENNA WILLIAM 20 Private 266924 from Southport
FORRESTER HAROLD 18 Private 266257 from Liverpool
GARSIDE ROBERT 28 Private 268500 from Shaw*
GREAVES THOMAS Private 4152 from Liverpool
GREENHALGH HENRY 25 Private 3139 from Southport
HALSALL DAVID Corporal 2411 from Southport
HALSALL  ISAAC 26 Private 5522 from Southport
HALSALL WALTER 21 Serjeant 1261    from Liverpool
HARVEY CHARLES 20 Private 5135 from Liverpool
HEPTONSTALL CYRIL Private 1834 from Liverpool
HEYES WILLIAM Serjeant 2422 from Southport
HOLDEN WILLIAM Private 1666 from Formby
HOWARD PERCY Private 265837 from Southport
HUBLEY PETER Private 266927 from Bootle
IRVING JAMES 36 Private  5426 from Liverpool
JOHNSON    JOHN Private 265908 from Southport
JULOTT ERNEST Private 1992 from Liverpool
KENYON ALFRED 28 Private 6972 from Ashton under Lyne*
KNAPPER MARK 28  Private 7011 from Hollinwood,Oldham*
KNAPTON  JOHN 29  Private 2594 from Southport
LEWIS HARRY 25 Second Lieutenant from Wallasey
LIVESEY  WILLIAM Private 7007 from Chadderton*
LOVE HARRY Private 268393 from Ashton under Lyne*
MELLOR JAMES Private 6986 from Ashton under Lyne*
MILLER HUGH MM Private 4173    
MILLER HUGH Private 3978 from Southport
MILLS WILLIAM Private 6937 from Mossley*
MORETON  JOHN Private 5407 from Bootle
MORGAN JAMES Lance Corporal 4967 from Bootle
McCOMBIE DONALD 19 Private 5181 from Bootle
OLVER PERCY 20 Lance Corporal 2207 from Liverpool
ORR ROBERT 26 Serjeant 2083 from Liverpool
PARKER PETER Private 267147 from Southport
PARRY ROBERT 25 Private 6023 from Liverpool
PARSONAGE ROBERT Private 5136 from Liverpool
PATTERSON GEORGE  Second Lieutenant        
PRESTON WILLIAM Serjeant 2279 from Bootle
PRITCHARD ROBERT Private 266701 from Bootle
RADCLIFFE DANIEL Corporal 265307 from Bootle
RENNIE RICHARD Private 4562 from Liverpool
ROBINSON JAMES Private 2949 from Southport
ROGERSON HARRY 26 Private 6916 from Ashton under Lyne*
SHAW PERCY Private 2714 from Southport
SUTCLIFFE ALFRED Private 5221 from Bootle
TODD ROBERT 18  Private 265914 from Southport
TURNBULL HENRY Second Lieutenant        
VERNON ARTHUR Private 5350 from Liverpool
WALKER WILLIAM 21 Private 268433 from Denton *
WALLACE JOSEPH 34 Serjeant 2304  from Bootle
WALTERS CHARLES Lance Corporal 3756 from Liverpool
WHARTON  H 32 Private 5220 from Southport
WILLDER TA 20 Private 1765 from Bootle
WILLIAMSON HAROLD 22 Private 268428 from Ashton under Lyne*
WILLIAMSON WILLIAM Private 2556 from Bootle
WOOTTON WILLIAM Private 265260 from Bootle

A month after Herbert and his comrades from the 2nd/9th Manchesters had joined their new battalion they were to be pitched into battle at the Battle of Morval. The 1st/7th King's went into the line north of Flers on the night of September 23rd/24th 1916. The 24th was spent in improving the trenches, putting out patrols and making final preparations for the attack. At 07:30 on September 25th the artillery barrage commenced with zero hour coming at 12:35. The 7th King's attacked with New Zealand troops on their left and the 6th King's on their right. At the designated moment the troops left their lines with the British barrage creeping 150 yards ahead. The 7th King's advanced in four waves with 100 yards between them. Very few losses occurred until just before the men reached the German positions. At this point quite a few Germans surrendered immediately but the majority of them ran for it, with lots of these being mown down by the advancing Kingsmen.
It was found that the artillery bombardment had done it's job very effectively and many German dead and wounded were discovered as the battalion consolidated their positions. During the night they came under very heavy shellfire. The following day they again came under German fire but this time it was not as severe and they were finally relieved and left the front line.The description of the day's fighting from the unit's war diary makes the action seem relatively straighforward and light in casualties but the battalion certainly paid a price for it's victory. At the time it was reported that 5 officers were dead and 3 wounded. The losses amongst the other ranks were given as 24 killed, 126 wounded and 150 missing. The final death toll for that day was later ascertained to be 62, with another 7 listed for September 26th. Herbert Taylor was one of the many wounded and eventually found himself, in a very serious condition, at the 1st Australian General Hospital in Rouen.

German prisoners bringing in wounded across the battlefield near Morval, September 25th 1916 © IWM

Date of Death:11/10/1916
Service No:7015
Regiment:The King's (Liverpool Regiment)
Unit:1st/7th Bn
St.Sever Cemetery, Rouen
Grave Ref:B.16.13

Herbert Taylor was born in 1887 in Heyside. His parents were Thomas, a coal miner, and Sarah. The family home throughout his life was 82 Heyside. Herbert was one of 10 children - 7 of the others being Betty, Benjamin, Sarah Ann, Martha, Herbert, James and Mary - and attended Blackshaw Lane School. His mother Sarah died in 1908 and by the time of the 1911 census Herbert, then 23, was one of four unmarried children still at home with their father.
By the time of the outbreak of war, Herbert was working at the Grenville Mill in Oldham and possibly living in Shaw. That's the town of residence listed for him in the records but Heyside quite often appears in those, erroneously, as being in Royton's neighbour. What is known for sure though is that he enlisted in Shaw and this was most probably in December 1915. He was then put on the Army Reserve and called up in March 1916. Herbert was summoned to the Manchester Regiment's depot in Ashton under Lyne and was allocated to that town's second line territorial unit - the 2nd/9th Manchester Regiment. They moved that month to Colchester and Herbert would have then spent five months there. On August 8th 1916 he and many others from the unit who had been deemed ready for action arrived in France. They were transferred to the 1st/7th Battalion of the King's Regiment after their training was complete. This territorial unit from the Bootle and Southport areas had been in action around Guillemont
Guillemont on August 9th, the day after Herbert's arrival in France, and had taken substantial casualties. The battalion war diary records that 166 men from the Manchester Regiment joined them on August 18th, on August 26th it was 65 men specifically from the 2nd/9th Manchester Regiment and then on the 28th another 20 from the same battalion arrived.