Index to Jim Taylor's WWll Letters









(County Down)



(Documents, photos & more)

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Jim Taylor in LDV uniform with Pip

Before conscription into the army, James Taylor had joined the LDV, the Local Defence Volunteers, and his daughter Jo remembers him saying he spent time in Springfield Park behind Alder Hey Hospital guarding the railway line from the Liverpool docks.

The qualifications for the LDV included having fired a rifle which he would have done between 1923 and 1934 as a member of the OTC, Officer Training Corps, based at the Liverpool Collegiate School and then Liverpool University.





The photograph shows Jim in uniform complete with his LDV arm band posing with Pip in their garden at Hilda Road, West Derby.


Home Guard ID


In July 1940 the LDV was renamed the Home Guard and Jim's identity card, rather water damaged by the look of it, reveals that he had been promoted to corporal within the 5th Battalion, "A" Company, No. 1 Platoon, Section 2.




Jim enlisted on 17 October 1940 and was posted to the 58th Training Regiment R.A.C. - the Royal Armoured Corps. This information comes from his Service Record which has proved essential for confirming some of the movements that he could only hint about in his censored letters.



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Date of enlistment


Another useful source is a book entitled "A History of the 44th Royal Tank Regiment" written by officers who served with the regiment during the war. Fortunately Jim annotated his copy so we have his own views on the "official" account together with additional details and personal experiences. Henceforth I shall refer to this book as the "Regimental History" when quoting from it. Extracts will be within quotation marks and Jim's annotations in italics.

In Spring 1941 the Regimental History states that "... the headquarters of 1st Army Tank Brigade was still south of London..." and Jim added "I joined the 44th here about the 13th April I suppose - was granted 72 hrs embarkation leave!"

Below is an index to the web pages of extracts from the letters that Jim was able to send back to Pip throughout WW2 beginning with his training in Dorset and Wiltshire.

  James Taylor Letters 1: October 1940 - February 1941, letters sent home by James, David Dickson Taylor's son, during training at Bovington and Warminster.  
  James Taylor Letters 2: February 1941, describing wireless training at Warminster.  
  James Taylor Letters 3: March - April 1941, finishing training; letter written while on the way to embarkation.  
  James Taylor Letters 4: April - June 1941, at sea on board SS Sobieski, shore leave welcome.  
  James Taylor Letters 5: June - August 1941, return to Durban, live cargo, Belfast coincidence.  
  James Taylor Letters 6: August - October 1941, Western Desert; learning he had a son, daily life.  
  James Taylor Letters 7: October - December 1941, Western Desert; cooking, margarine recovery, dysentery, Christmas Airgraph, desert bivvy.  
  James Taylor Letters 8: January - March 1942, Western Desert; Christmas Day, large cat, dust storm.  
  James Taylor Letters 9: March 1942, Western Desert; housekeeping and transport problems, weather, censorship.  
  James Taylor Letters 10: April 1942, Western Desert; philosophy, monotony, mirage, new lorry and old car, poetry.  
  James Taylor Letters 11: April - May 1942, Western Desert; heat and water, buttermaking book, rumours, German hymns, sandstorm, straining coffee.  
  James Taylor Letters 12: May - June 1942, Western Desert; The Battle of Gazala.  
  James Taylor Letters 13: July - August 1942, Western Desert; post-battle thoughts, telegram, cricket and cinema, on leave.  
  James Taylor Letters 14: August - October 1942, Western Desert; state of mind, humour, religion, sports injuries, Technical Storeman, the Nile Delta, guard duty.  
  James Taylor Letters 15: October - December 1942, Western Desert; buckshees, El Alamein, wireless, religion, mice and trap, gun pit.  
  James Taylor Letters 16: December 1942 - January 1943, Western Desert; drivers on leave in Tel Aviv, thoughts about war and religion, Thermos flasks, a near miss.  
  James Taylor Letters 17: January - March 1943, Western Desert; wildlife, thoughts following retaking of Tripoli, debugging, food, photos from home.  
  James Taylor Letters 18: March - July 1943, Western Desert; Fred Stanier's Navy friend, M.O.I. films, Jock Miller's story, 50 Division, arrival in Sicily.  
  James Taylor Letters 19: July - October 1943, Italy; landing in Sicily, island description, food, Mussolini, Wellington bomber, malaria, Etna, mainland Italy and armistice signing.  
  James Taylor Letters 20: October 1943, Italy; state of mind, biting ants, latest lorry and contents, local conditions and locals, armistice, memories, food.  
  James Taylor Letters 21: October 1943 - January 1944, Italy; the country, animal life, problems with money, food and lorry, ENSA, jaundice, leaving Italy.  
  James Taylor Letters 22: March - June 1944, Worthing; seeing Pip and son Dave, inspection, Brigadier's speech, Normandy landing on D3.  
  James Taylor Letters 23: June - July 1944, France; the state of French villages after "liberation", enemy action, menus, defining the Desert Rats, Donald the Duck.  
  James Taylor Letters 24: July - August 1944, France; slit-trench, A.E.F. entertainment, the changing scenery, War Bonus complaint, Falaise Gap.  
  James Taylor Letters 25: August - September 1944, France and Belgium; the local population, living conditions, prisoners, schoolmaster Albert Rooms.  
  James Taylor Letters 26: September - November 1944, Belgium and Holland; Operation Market Garden, billets and the local population, bombing techniques.  
  James Taylor Letters 27: November 1944 - January 1945, Holland and Belgium; some rest and preparation, sanitary arrangements, billets and bombing.  
  James Taylor Letters 28: January - April 1945, Belgium, Holland and Germany; movements and preparations for crossing the Rhine.  
  James Taylor Letters 29: April - May 1945, Germany; the effects of war on the country and population, towards Bremen and Hamburg, VE Day.  

Commemorative brick for Jim Taylor

Jim Taylor remembered on an engraved brick
installed on the Normandy Memorial Wall outside
the D-Day Story museum at Portsmouth.


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