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Jock Taylor at Dunkirk, did you know him?

by markmop

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Joseph James (Jock) Taylor
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20 February 2004

My grandfather was SQMS Joseph James (Jock) Taylor. No. 7007152 Born 1900. His last regiment was Royal Army Ordnance Corps and I think perhaps he was also attached to REME.

Though a Londoner he was known as Jock and had as an underaged boy joined the Irish Rifles in WW1. He saw service at Gallipoli (another evacuation) and I think on the Western front. He remained in the army moving to other regiments and was part of the troops occupying the Rhineland. In 1939 had been living in married quarters at the Didcot army base with his wife Annie and sons Derek (my 77 year old father) and Gerald. He was actually a member of the Depot’s fire brigade and no longer eligible for reserve call up. However, despite being 39 he agreed to go with the BEF as soon as war broke out, but I don’t know with which unit.

He arrived on the beach and although he couldn’t swim waded out to boats 3 times up to his neck in water before rescue. He refused to tell his family many stories, because he said there would be time after the war. One story he did say was of seeing a French soldier driven insane by the bombers madly firing a bren gun at the stukas.

Grandad returned to England, went on commando training at Inverary . Took part in raids on Norway, being felled by a German’s rifle but,was stationed in Madagaskar, won a Burma Star and was injured while training in East Africa in 1945. He came home to hospital, never fully recovered and died in 1946, having a War Grave in Didcot Parish Church yard. My father became a Baptist clergyman and still is a British Legion chaplain and Uncle Gerald served in the Malayain insurgency.

The Dunkirk TV series of 2004 was fascinating, I watched the contemporary footage wondering if any men shown were my Grandad. I think the series really captured the emotion and the actuality well. I especially watch the older soldiers and the non swimmers. I wonder how Jock felt having witnessed Gallipoli and then Dunkirk. I wonder if anyone posting knows anything more about him

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Message 1 - Dunkirk

Posted on: 21 February 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear markmop

Full details of your grandfather are here links

You mention that your grandfather had the Burma Star; this is a campaign medal for active service in Burma, Assam, or Bengal, from 1 May 1942 to 31 December 1943, and from 1 January 1944 onward for those parts of Bengal or Assam east of Brahmaputra. Could it be that he was injured in the Far East rather than in Africa? The campaign in North Africa ended in May 1943.

Kind regards,



Message 2 - Dunkirk

Posted on: 23 February 2004 by markmop

Dear Peter,
Thank you for your reply. Sadly my Grandfather wasn't injury in action, but while training. It seems sad to me he'd faced such danger, but received his fatal injury when he must have felt very safe.




Message 3 - Dunkirk

Posted on: 23 February 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

Dear Mark,

How tragic. I am reminded of Mihail Sebastian, a brilliant young Romanian writer of great promise. As a Jew he suffered dreadfully in Romania throughout the war; his ghastly experience fully documented in his great "Journal 1935-1944". Then, having survived all that, he was killed in a silly road accident on 29 May 1945. The gods certainly do nod off at times.


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