Person:William Taylor (1)

William Watson Taylor
m. 16 Jul 1906
  1. George Fenton Taylor1912 - 1962
  2. William Watson Taylor1921 - 1945
Facts and Events
Name William Watson Taylor
Gender Male
Birth[1] 15 Mar 1921 Toronto, York, Ontario, Canada
Death? 21 Jul 1945 Greater London, England
Burial? Brookwood Military Cemetery, Woking, Surrey, EnglandGrave 7, Row C, plot 61


Youth in Toronto

William Watson Taylor was born in Toronto to English-born parents. His military record provides his date of birth as March 15, 1921, although his sister-in-law said years later than he may have given a false birthdate in order to join early. His middle name is said to be the surname of the doctor who delivered him.

At the time of his enlistment in the Queens Own Rifles of Canada regiment on June 22, 1940, he was employed as a truck driver in the Bathurst St. fleet of the Loblaws grocery chain. He had completed one year of technical school, leaving at age 16. Since 1938 he had been serving in the 25th Battery of the Royal Canadian Army. He was living with his father at 421 Westmoreland Ave., Toronto.

Joins Army

His initial ranking was as a Rifleman. His unit left Halifax for England July 19, 1941, disembarking in Gourock, Scotland ten days later.

War Service

The Queens Own Rifles landed in France on D-Day. William's record shows that he embarked from the United Kingdom on June 2, 1944, and disembarked in France June 6, 1944. At this time he was an Lance Corporal. On that day 143 soldiers in the regiment were killed or wounded. Between the day of the landing and October 28, 1944 there are 4 entries showing a rise to Acting Sargeant. On November 6th, 1944 he is listed as injured with with a broken knee and foot. Family oral history says he had been sheltered by a Dutch family after being injured. By the 14th of December he is transferred to the UK, for a 53 day stay in hospital, the later part of his stay at a hospital called Roman Way.


On July 21, 1945, his body was recovered from the Thames River. The story passed down within the family speculated that he was a victim of violence during end of the war celebrations, tossed into the river. He was known to be a good athlete and a strong swimmer. On the official military record the cause of death is listed as an accidental drowning. He was buried in Brookwood Military Cemetery, Surrey, England. The campaign medals listed on his record are the 1939-45 Star, the France & Germany Star, Defence Medal, War Medal 1939-45, CVSM and Clasp.

  1. Military records of William Taylor.