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Cecil Taylor - an Irish POW at the hands of the Japanese

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posted on 2024-06-05, 18:59 authored by Their Finest Hour Project Team

Cecil Gerard Taylor was my Gran's brother and was always known as Cecil. I remember his photograph (attached) having pride of place in her house in Ringsend, Dublin, and whilst she never spoke about him she always referred to him as 'poor Cecil'. I found out after her death that she had been very close to him as a child and when he was killed she took the news very badly.

TAYLOR, Private, CECIL, 3523626, 1st Bn., Manchester Regiment was the son of Patrick and Catherine Taylor and for in 1904. I believe he joined the British Army well before the war and can only guess at why he never rose above the rank of Private. Nevertheless he was a member of the 1st Bn of the Manchesters who were defending Singapore when the Japanese attacked. His POW record states he was captured on the 15th February 1942 (the official surrender). From various records he would have been in Changi prison, then as his prison record suggests he was in Thailand ('Tai') probably working on the Burma railway.

In May 1944 the Japanese started to ship POWs to Japan to work on the mainland. It would appear that Cecil was selected at this point as he was placed on the Japanese hell ship Hofuku Maru. Conditions on these boats were horrendous. His date of death, 21st September 1944, is the date the ship was sunk by American planes (who did not know it was a POW carrier). Of the 1,289 POWs on board, 10,047 died.

Cecil is named on Column 78 of the Kranji War Cemetery.

History

Item list and details

1. Photo of Cecil Taylor in Uniform 2. POW records with transcript and notes

Person the story/items relate to

Cecil Taylor

Person who shared the story/items

Stuart Lee

Relationship between the subject of the story and its contributor

Great Uncle

Type of submission

Shared online via the Their Finest Hour project website.

Record ID

114716