Captain, John Ogilvie Taylor (33)- Killed in Action

4th East Kent Regiment (The Buffs) – 3rd May 1917

John Ogilvie Taylor, taken from the Aberdeen University Roll of Service.

Aberdeen University Roll of Service

TAYLOR, JOHN OGILVIE: Captain, 4th Battalion East Kent Regiment (The Buffs); son of John O. Taylor, shipmaster; born Aberdeen, 29 November 1884.  Educated at the Aberdeen Grammar School and Aberdeen University.  He graduated M.A. In 1910, and became English Master in Basingstoke Grammar School.

In April 1915 he joined the Inns of Court O.T.C., from which he received a commission in The Buffs.  In October 1916 he went to the Front with his Battalion, and was attached to the Middlesex Regiment. He was killed in action at Monchy-le-Preux, on 3 May 1917.  Popular with his fellow-officers and beloved by his men, his death was felt as an irreparable loss.  He was a man of fine literary taste, and in his College days a great supporter of a dramatic club for the study of Shakespeare.  The breadth of his interests and sympathies, the wider outlook which much travel in France and Germany had given him, made his friendship a privilege and a delight.

De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour

Extract from the above publication – TAYLOR, JOHN OGILVIE, Captain, 4th (Territorial) Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), son of John Orr Taylor, of 11, Hudson Street, Tyne Dock, (Note South Shields) Shipmaster; born. Aberdeen, 29 November 1884; educated Aberdeen Grammar School, and Aberdeen University, where he graduated in Arts, and was English Master at Basingstoke Grammar School; joined the Inns of Court O.T.C. On the outbreak of war, and obtained his commission in 1915; served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders, and was killed in action at Monchy-le-Preux 3 May, 1917.  A brother officer wrote: “He was beloved by us all, and was extremely popular with his men.  To those of us who have lived with him and had the privilege of his friendship during the six months he has been in France, his departure is a real blow, and one from which we shall not easily recover.”  He was keenly interested in literature, and took a prominent part at his University in the promotion of a dramatic club for the study of Shakespeare.

Cap Badge of the East Kent Regiment, similar to the one which would have been worn by John Taylor.

War Diary of the 7th Middlesex Regiment

The War Diary for the 7th Middlesex for the 3 May 1917, the day of John Taylor’s death gives great detail (over 4 pages) of a large scale attack by the regiment in conjunction with other units in attacking the German trenches.

The attack began at 0345 hours on the 3 May 1917, attacking the enemy between Bois du vert and the Cojeul river. The attack failed from the start, the diary complaining that the artillery failed to adequately deal with the enemy Front Line and when the infantry attacked the German line, the enemy were standing shoulder to shoulder repelling the attack with rifle and machine gun fire. Although small companies broke through into the Germans ‘Tool’ trench and got so far as their support trench, the Battalion were forced to retire back to their own trench to defend a possible counter-attack.

The enemy then started an artillery bombardment on the British trenches, the likes of which the members of the unit hadn’t felt before, there was such incessant shelling the commander asked for his unit to be relieved early as the unit was ‘Severely Shaken’. They were relieved later that day and returned to Wancourt.

The casualties for the 7th Middlesex on the 3rd May 1917 were 7 Officers killed and 4 wounded. 190 Other Ranks killed, wounded and missing. It is unknown how John died whether in the attack or in the bombardment, but it appears that his body was either never recovered or remained unidentified.

Scotland National Probate Index 1876-1936

The following entry appears in the above document – Taylor, John OGILVIE, M.A., 55 Cranford Road, Aberdeen, sometime 2nd Lieutenant, 4th Reserve Battalion, The Buffs, East Kent Regiment, latterly Temporary Captain, 1/7th Middlesex Regiment, died 3 May 1917, in France, testate. Confirmation granted at Aberdeen, 5 June, to John Minto Robertson, M.A., Teacher, 184 Mid Stocket Road, Aberdeen, Executor nominated in Will or Deed, dated 9 October 1916, and recorded with another Writ in Court Books of Commissariot of Aberdeen, 2 June 1917. Value of Estate, £150, 2s. 4d.

Enquiry into John Minto Robertson shows that he was also a student at Aberdeen University and appears in the ‘Aberdeen University Roll of Service’ with the following entry – ROBERTSON, JOHN MINTO, M.A., son of John G.R.; born Aberdeen 3 June 1883. M.A.(II Cl), 1905. “U” Company, 1st Volunteer Battalion Gordon Highlanders, 1901-04. Volunteered, November 1915. Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery, July 1917. Served – Home, 1917-18; France, October 1918-January 1919. Final Rank, 1st Class Signaller.

Further Military Research

John Ogilvie Taylor, joined the Inns of Court, Officer Training Corps from 15 April 1915 as a Lance-Corporal, No.2/3277. He was then commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant into the East Kent Regiment on the 22 September 1915. He is honoured and remembered on the Arras Memorial, Pas de Calais, France as his body was either not identified or he was never found.


  • Father – John Orr Taylor
  • Mother – Mary Gray Fyfe Taylor


As shown in his Will as mentioned above, at the time of his death, his address was given as 55 Cranford Road, Aberdeen.


John Ogilvie Taylor was awarded the Victory and British War Medals for his service in the Great War.


Although he is not specifically mentioned on the Memorial, he is honoured on the Inns of Court War Memorial, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire.

He is also honoured and remembered on the Aberdeen City War Memorial.

Links to Additional Information


  • Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
  • Medal Index Card.
  • 1901 Census.
  • U.K. Soldiers Died in the Great War.
  • Aberdeen University Roll of Service.
  • London Gazette dated 13 October 1915.
  • Scotland, National Probate Index, 1876-1936.
  • England and Wales National Probate Calendar 1858 – 1995 .
  • De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour.
  • War Diary 7th Middlesex Regiment.
  • Inns of Court Officer Training Corps in the Great War book.


Contributors :-

  • Vincent Stuart

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