Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1918, Sergeant Taylor Peirson, 12th (Service) Battalion (Teesside Pioneers), the Yorkshire Regiment, died of wounds received the previous day during the Battle of the Lys, near Armentieres on the France/Belgium border.
The son of a railway engine driver, when he left school he went to work as a railway clerk. He joined the army in December of 1914 - the 12th Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment (Teesside Pioneers) began recruiting in Middlesbrough, days after German warships had bombarded Scarborough, Whitby and Hartlepool, killing hundreds of people. The inaugural meeting was called by the mayor of Middlesbrough, and many first division footballers were among the 380 men who signed up. They were at first a Pals battalion, then became a Pioneer battalion, as they had a civilian skill which was used in pioneering work, such as creating supply lines and digging ditches.
Sergeant Peirson was sent to France in June of 1916, and saw action on the Somme. He gained promotion rapidly. In 1917 his battalion was involved in action during the German Retreat to the Hindenberg Line, and many other battles including Cambrai and the capture of Bourlon Wood. In 1918 they saw further action on the Somme and in the Battle of the Lys, where they suffered many casualties, including Sergeant Peirson.
His granddaughter said that the location of his grave was a very moving sight: “It is a small graveyard, beautifully kept, surrounded by cornfields with stacked corn. He survived practically all through the war only to be killed in April and the war ended in November.” His headstone in the Haverskerque British Cemetery north of Bethune in France, is inscribed with the words, “Thy Will Be Done”.
Taylor, from Darlington, was 28 years old and married with a four-year-old daughter.