Jesse Taylor Private 10522This is a case believed unique to Stoke-on-Trent, from where five brothers were to die in action, and a sixth was badly wounded, between 1915 and 1918.

In all, eight sons were born to Jesse Taylor, a pottery worker, and his wife Elizabeth, who lived in the Hanley area. Jesse Taylor died in 1911, leaving his widow to raise their eight sons. The couple's first-born was also named Jesse. Private Jesse Taylor was to be the first of the brothers to die.

In 1912, two of the brothers, Thomas Taylor and Arthur Taylor, tired of the dirty, dusty work in the pottery factories and coal mines, enlisted into the Cameronians/Scottish Rifles. They both served on the Western Front, where Arthur was wounded at Neuve Chapelle in 1915. Meanwhile, three more brothers, Jesse Taylor, George Henry Taylor and William Taylor, enlisted in 1914 in the newly-formed 7th North Staffords. Jesse (as Private 10522), contracted typhoid fever at Gallipoli and died on a hospital ship on 8 November, 1915. He was buried at sea and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial.

Private William Taylor was the next casualty. He was wounded in Mesopotamia but survived the war.

The second brother to die was Private 8062 George Henry Taylor. He was wounded during the fighting at Kut, Mesopotamia, and died on 6 April 1916. He is commemorated on the Basra Memorial.

The third fatality was Sergeant 10969 Arthur Taylor, Cameronians. He had recovered from his wounds at Neuve Chapelle but was wounded again at Hebuterne, Somme, whilst trench-holding on 15 October, 1916. He died from his wounds on 17 October and is buried at Warlincourt Halte British Cemetery, Saulty.

The fourth was Private 10956 Thomas Taylor, Cameronians, wounded in the Ypres Sector in April, 1918. He died on 15 April and is buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery.

The last brother was only 18. Private 57730 Bertie Taylor, 10th Lancashire Fusiliers, died of wounds on 18 October, 1918 and is buried at Rocqigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manancourt.

The remaining two sons of Mrs Taylor were too young for military service. One survived into adulthood but the other died in 1923 when he was only 18.

Article and images submitted by WFA members Chris Sheldon and Geoff Mayer.

Chris and Geoff would like to learn if you know of any other, similar families where five brothers have been killed in action. Please contact them via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Top image: Private Jesse Taylor


Arthur Taylor Sergeant 10969 web

Image: Sergeant Arthur Taylor

Thomas Taylor Private 10956-web

Image: Private Thomas Taylor


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