is known that a meeting was taking place at Leith Hall on
the evening of 5th September 1942 and that one of those attending
discovered on his arrival that he left some papers behind.
George's batman was about to go back for them when George
told him to finish setting up and that he would go for them
in a Staff Car. On finding there was no car available he took
an army motor cycle which he found propped against a wall
at Leith Hall. It is understood that this machine had been
newly taken out of service with a fractured king pin ( connecting
the front fork and handle bars ) and should have been labeled
"Not to be driven under any circumstances". If driven
and the king pin sheared completely the rider would be unable
to control the machine.
is precisely what his daughter understood had happpened at
about 7.20pm and that George was thrown from the machine and
collided with a telephone pole or tree. He was killed outright
suffering fractures to his skull and neck. It is known from
S/Sgt John Doig's letter that the men of Georges's detachment
were greatly saddened by the death of "our Officer"
and that he was a greatly admired, popular and well respected
soldier. They stood guard over his coffin for several days
and later escorted it to the Railway Station to commence the
journey South to London.
military funeral took place of 10th September and George,
aged 25 years, was laid to rest at Hither Green Cemetery,
London. The firing party and buglers came from Woolwich Barracks.
her visit to Leith Hall George's daughter authorised me to
contact the Ministry of Defence on her behalf in order to
try to discover if any papers existed regarding her fathers
death. They confirmed that a Court of Inquiry had investigated
Lt Taylor's death but that these records were classified,
and for internal service use only. Upon appeal, that these
records were the only way Diane could discover the exact details
and location of the accident, they agreed, exceptionally,
to provide a summary of the records. This confirmed that Lt
Taylor was travelling from Ardmore to the Depot Sports Meeting
being held at the playing field. It may be that he had returned
to the camp for something and was travelling back.
the Leith Hall East Lodge he overtook an army utility wagon.
The witness, driving the wagon, observed that when 20 yards
in front of the lorry George appeared to have difficulty with
his steering and crashed into a telegraph pole after scraping
along the wall for five yards.
drawing of the scene confirms the motor cycle mounted the
verge and travelled 28 feet before striking against the wall
and later colliding with a telegraph pole. It also confirms
that Lt Taylor was thrown some distance from the machine.
wagon drew up ten yards in front of the scene and the driver
observed that " 2nd Lt Taylor was beyond human aid ".
The report points out that Lt Taylor was travelling at a normal
spped and did not appear to be going unusually fast.
Court findings were that :
1) 2nd Lt Taylor was on duty
2)The accident was not due to his negligence or misconduct
3) No one else was to blame
in many ways, similar to the version of events given to Diane
by her mother, there is no suggestion in the report that the
motorcycle was not roadworthy.
am now aware of two local men who remember the accident taking
place on a Sports Day. The Sports were a regular part of the
life of the community for many years after the war ended.
It was due to mutual cooperation between the Army and locals
that this annual event was started.