Private Percy Taylor

 

Private Percy Taylor (aged 17) of the Essex Regiment (Kilbree near Clonakilty)

Date of incident: soon after 3 Dec. 1920 (executed as intelligence operative and disappeared by IRA)

Sources: British Forces Missing (Military Archives, A/0909); SS, 30 Oct. 1971; Barry (1949, 1989), 52-55; Commonwealth War Graves Commission; http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/essex-deserters/taylors/taylors.html;

http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/essex-deserters/essex-deserters.html (accessed 3 Aug. 2014).

 

Note: Self-declared deserters from the Essex Regiment, Privates Percy Taylor and Thomas Watling allegedly offered to help the IRA to raid and capture Bandon Military Barracks. Three Bandon Volunteers—John Galvin, James O’Donoghue, and Joseph Begley— who ventured near the place where Tom Barry was scheduled to meet the British sergeant brother of one of these two Essex soldiers on the night of 3 December 1920 were captured, tortured, and killed by British forces. Without naming Taylor and Watling, Tom Barry later explained what had happened to them and offered the following account of why his attempt to exploit the situation had badly miscarried: ‘Of course, the two pseudo-deserters were spies. Acting under instructions to treat them as such, their I.R.A. escort had lodged them under guard, not in friendly houses but in British loyalist homes. Despite the vigilance of the guards, one of them [i.e., one of the Essex soldiers] dropped a note giving particulars of the brigade column commander’s appointment [with the British sergeant] near Bandon. This was conveyed by the loyalist to the enemy, and hence the deaths of the three Bandon Volunteers. Some time after, the two British spies were brought to Kilbree, Clonakilty, and there they were executed.’ See Barry (1949, 1989), 55. Questions have been raised, however, as to whether Privates Taylor and Watling were really intelligence operatives implicated in the ‘trap’ laid by members of the Essex Regiment for the three Bandon Volunteers who were killed. Taylor and Watling may simply have been honest deserters. See http://www.cairogang.com/soldiers-killed/essex-deserters/essex-deserters.html (accessed 3 Aug. 2014).


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