Captain Anthony Donnithorne TAYLOR, M.C., 15/19 The Kings Royal Hussars

Discussion in '1940' started by dbf, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Captain Anthony Donnithorne TAYLOR, M.C.
    15/19 The Kings Royal Hussars
    On May 18 this officer was with a squadron of his Regiment which was returning to cross the River DENDRE near ALOST in Belgium.

    Enemy Anti-tank guns opened fire on the column and knocked out the leading tank at close range.

    Capt. Taylor was ordered to lead the column to another bridge. This he was in the act of doing when he met three enemy armoured cars. Capt. Taylor immediately opened fire, operating the machine guns himself, and forced the enemy to retire. He at once took up the pursuit, keeping up a heavy fire while the enemy dropped smoke generators in their efforts to escape.

    On rounding a corner the steering mechanism of Capt Taylor's tank failed, causing the vehicle to run off the road, breaking a track. He signalled the following vehicles to continue the pursuit.

    Unknown to Capt. Taylor the greater part of the column had received orders to halt a few minutes earlier. On account of this he was not picked up and was subsequently captured by the enemy.

    During this action Capt Taylor exhibited first class leadership, initiative and courage and, by his immediate and successful action, facilitated the retirement of the rest of the column.

    Capt Taylor was a prisoner for eight days and escaped from his guards a few miles East of ST. TROND on May 26. He made his way on foot through Belgium and was recaptured near ELLEZELLES on May 30. He escaped again the same day.

    This officer continued his march and crossed the frontier with France at TOUFFLERS the same day. He reached LILLE, where fighting was in progress, and proceeded via LA BASSEE-BETHUNE-ST. POL- and AUX LE CHATEAU to ABBEVILLE. He attempted to cross the R. SOMME where fighting was going on but was again taken prisoner on June 2nd. Capt Taylor escaped for the third time on June 4. Making for the coast he reached LE TOUQUET on June 5. Here he spent one day preparing a boat in which to cross the Channel.

    He set sail at midnight on June 6 and was picked up by sailors of H.M. Navy off the coast of France that night. Captain Taylor took twelve days to effect his escape during which time he had little food or sleep and walked up to 45 miles a day, covering a distance of 220 miles from point to point.

    He displayed the highest qualities of nerve and resource. His performance is a magnificent example of what can be done through physical fitness and an unflinching determination to win through under circumstances fraught with constant danger.

    Captain Taylor brought back highly important information and has rendered a full account of his escape to M.I.7.B. at the War Office.
    [recommended for] D.S.O.
    M.C. [awarded]

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details

  2. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From The Distinguished Service Order 1924-2008

    Taylor, Anthony Donnithorne 47660 Major (T/Lieutenant-Colonel) b. 6.8.10 15th/19th Hussars. DSO LG 21.12.44; MC LG 3.9.40. DSO for NWE for period 17-22nd Sep. 1944 in support of XXX Corps.

    I thought there may be a mixed up between the DSO and MC but my MC book confirms he received his MC 3.9.40 in M.E.2 Theatre. I suspect the XXX Corps detail is a typo.
  3. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    The plot thickens:

    The Distinguished Service Order.

    Major (temporary Lieutenant-Colonel) Anthony
    Donnithorne Taylor, M.C. (47660), 15th/16th The
    King's Royal Hussars, Royal Armoured Corps
    (Goodhurst, Kent).

    Viewing Page 5853 of Issue 36850

    Dated 19.12.44

    I wonder if that citation was never approved. Diane does it have any of the usual signatures and a LG date written on it?

  4. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    Aalst is on the Dender (usually mentioned in British documents using the French spelling Alost).

    The Flemish name for St Trond is St Truiden and just east of there is where I live ! He must have been pretty fit to cover the 80 odd miles to Ellezelles through occupied territory in four days, especially as the prisoners were generally not too well treated at the time.
  5. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Rich thanks have amended citation to include ALOST as it does indeed look like that at second glance. It's a hand-written one, so I wasn't going to guess.

    Andy, apologies it seems he was recommended for D.S.O. but awarded M.C. The D.S.O. was not struck out on the form and M.C. written further down, didn't notice ... amended original post accordingly.

    Thanks guys for the input.

    A lot more 1940 stuff now on my hard drive. Rich you still interested in any DR ones?
  6. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    No worries Di but if it was a MC what is the theatre ME2 that I have listed in my MC book? I would have thought it would be listed under BEF?

    We are always interested in BEF stuff ! :D
  7. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    W/Major, Lieutenant-Colonel Arthur Donnithorne TAYLOR, MC

    101 (US) Airborne Division
    Airborne Corps
    15/19 King's Royal Hussars

    On 18 September, 1944, the 15/19 King's Royal Hussars commanded by Lt.-Col. A.D. Taylor, MC, was attached to the 101st Airborne Division to assist in the mission of securing the EINDHOVEN-VEGHEL highway.

    On 19 Sept, 1944, a strong enemy attack supported by armour was launched against this highway at ZON. This attack was sufficiently successful to permit enemy tanks to bring the town and bridge of ZON under fire.

    Lt.-Col. TAYLOR supported by infantry of 101st Airborne Division was given the mission of driving back the German threat. This officer planned and executed the counter-attack with the utmost energy and skill. Mounted in the leading tank he personally led his men into action and by his example stimulated the troops both British and American to aggressive action.

    The success of the counter-attack was in a large measure due to the leadership of Lt-Col. Taylor and the resolute action of his Hussars unit.

    The National Archives | DocumentsOnline | Image Details

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  8. Rich Payne

    Rich Payne Rivet Counter Patron 1940 Obsessive

    I see that 15/19 Hussars were listed as Divisional Cavalry for 3rd Infantry Division from September 1939 to March 1940.

    This arrangement seems to have been dropped prior to the invasion of 10th May. 4/7 Dragoon Guards continued in the role with 2nd Division until the begining of the month.

    It would appear that the cavalry units became a Corps asset at that time but seem to have retained their links with the original divisions as I have come across a number of mentions of 4/7 DG as Divisional Cavalry in the War Diaries and the vehicles continued to carry divisional insignia.

    Is there a reference source anywhere that details the arrangements ?
  9. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    3rd Infantry Division - 3.9.39 - 31.3.40

    2nd Armoured Reconnaissance Brigade - 30.3.40 - 22.6.40

    3rd Motor Machine Gun Brigade - 23.6.40 - 30.11.40

    28th Armoured Brigade - 1.2.40 - 20.6.44

    11th Armoured Division - 17.8.44 - 31.8.45

    Orders of Battle Second World War 1939-1945-Lt. Col. H F Jolsen

    Let me know if you want the above units higher formations.

  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    The Div Cav regts were withdrawn from the divs and reformed as a brigade. More to follow...

    Or there would be if Andy hadn't beaten me to it.

    Re: 4/7 DG they remained as Div Cav with 2 Div until (officially) 31 May 40. From 18 Jun 40 they were at home under 1 Armd Recce Bde until 25 nov 40.
  11. P-c

    P-c Junior Member

    Lt.Col Anthony Taylor was Colonel of the Regiment when I joined in 1969, he stepped down in 1970.
    He was indeed awarded a D.S.O. as well as the M.C.
  12. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  13. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  14. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  15. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  16. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

  17. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    I love coming back to these old threads with more info. This is from my latest and final edition of all the armoured regimental histories, that fought in France in 1940, I was after. My copy appears to have belonged to Captain J S F Murray, I think he may have been in A Squadron?

    The History of 15/19th The King's Royal Hussars 1939-1945 by Major G Courage:

    Chapter II
    Major Hinde had taken charge of B Squadron after Captain Courage's tank had been knocked out, and he attempted to lead this party to another bridge at Teralphene, between Leuvenstraet and Liederkirke. Captain Taylor, leading the column, came upon some armoured cars near Hekelgem and pursued them through the village, firing his .5 MG. The armoured cars put down a smoke screen and Captain Taylor's tank chose to succumb to old age, when its steering clutches failed: the tank hit the kerb and was damaged and the enemy escaped. Captain Taylor signalled the rest of the column to pass, but only three tanks were now following. As a result, Captain Taylor's crew were left alone and they were later captured by the enemy.

    Chapter III
    On the 7 June we learnt that Captain A D Taylor, the Adjutant, had succeeded in escaping from the enemy and had landed in England after an adventurous journey. This was great news indeed and we were all anxious to hear further details. It was a stirring story that we heard eventually, a story of unsurpassed example, which earned Captain Taylor the award of the MC.
  18. Drew5233

    Drew5233 #FuturePilot 1940 Obsessive

    From WO 208-3298 Captain A D Taylor's Escape and Evasion report:

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  19. Tobin

    Tobin Member

    This is all very interesting. I grew up at North Aston and as a child knew Col Taylor. I have been trying to find out about his wartime antics ever since. In the 70's there was a seige in the village with a gunman holding a local lady hostage. Col Taylor felt this was an unnacceptable way to go on and walked through the police cordons and was through the front door of the seige house before the police managed to stop him and bring him back out. He was going to bring the seige to an end.
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