Captain Alexander Taylor

Biography of Captain Alexander Taylor

Captain Alexander Taylor graduated from his first degree, an MA in Classics in 1892 before attending law classes at the University. While studying for his law degree he also received training in the offices of Messrs Robertson, Low, Robertson and Cross. He graduated with an LLB in 1895 and was admitted to the Faculty of Advocates in 1896. The Scots Law Times stated that he contributed several articles on law to top periodicals of the day and acted as a reporter for Justiciary Cases. He was interim Sheriff-Substitute for Banff, Stornoway, Aberdeen and Glasgow and in 1911 he was appointed Sheriff-Substitute at Forfar. As Sheriff-Substitute his judgements were described as ‘always cogent and well-reasoned, and it was only on rare occasions they were submitted to the test of appeal’.

In 1900 he joined the volunteer force, the 9th [Volunteer] Battalion, Royal Scots and was gazetted 2nd Lieutenant on the 3rd November 1900 alongside D.S. Rose. The newly formed battalion were equipped with a brand new uniform. At their first inspection on the 27th October 1900, the inspecting officer Colonel Gordon was very pleased to see them wearing Hunting Stewart tartan, a tartan that all of the battalions of the Royal Scots wanted to wear, but the 9th had the first privilege.

Taylor was attached to the Depôt of the Royal Scots in October 1902, and by the following month he was promoted to Lieutenant serving with “C” company. The 9th Battalion paraded through the Corn Exchange on the 14th December 1901 for their first presentation of prizes. However, in October 1902 the Battalion were to depart for South Africa, and most likely due to his commitments as a lawyer, Taylor resigned his commission.

He re-joined the 9th Battalion as Lieutenant, just a few years later on the 8th February 1905 but little is known of his activities until 1908. The battalion on the 1st April 1908 was termed a unit of the Territorial Army and was designated the 9th (Highlanders) Battalion, Royal Scots. Only a few weeks prior to this reform Taylor became Captain of “A” company on the 14th March 1908.

He was in the reserve of officers during the outbreak of war and proceeded with his battalion to France in early 1915. However, he was severely wounded just a few months after his arrival and was set to the country to recover for a year. Over a year later, he returned to the front.

There was a planned attack on Roeux and the chemical works in April 1917, but before this could take place “A” and “C” company of the 9th Battalion were instructed to capture the trench west of Mount Pleasant Wood. Unfortunately, on the 20th April, they rushed this attack and were immediately driven back by machine-gun fire. The following day “A” company managed to secure the trench, but the position was lost after the decision was made to push beyond their objective. While Taylor’s men were forced back to their original trenches by machine-gun fire, he was killed in action.

His wife, Rhoda Macintyre White (formerly Taylor) applied for her husband to be granted the 1914-15 Star on the 1st April 1919. He was granted the Star, the Victory and the British for serving in the Theatre of War, France. The Scots Law Times wrote:

‘Captain Taylor’s death is deeply regretted by his brethren in the Parliament House, with whom his kindly nature and genial humour made him a great favourite’.

Summary

Captain Alexander Taylor
Rank: Captain
Regiment: 9th Bn. Royal Scots
Degree: MA LLB
Awards: N/A
Comments: Killed in action, 21 April 1917.
Note/Press Clipping: Ch 4/4/2/3/1249
Photo ID: Ch 4/4/2/2/288

Sources

University of Glasgow Faculty, General Council and Registry records.

‘The Late Captain Alexander Taylor’, The Scots Law Times, July 1917, p. 69.

1909, Ferguson, James, The 9th [Volunteer]Battalion (Highlanders) Royal Scots, W. A & A. K. Johnstone Ltd, Edinburgh & London, p. 11 & 1908, London Gazette September 18, 1908, London

2015, Hughes, Peter. Visiting the fallen: Arras, North, Pen & Sword Military, p. 60.

Burial Place: Commonwealth War Graves Commission - Find War Dead

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