Assistant Surgeon Arthur Henry Taylor
17 June 1830 [Belfast] – 20 Aug 1859 [Chelsea Hospital]
1852–1853 Attended a course of lectures at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.
26 May 1854 Staff Assistant Surgeon.
8 Oct 1854 Arrived off Malta on his way to the Crimea.
22 Oct 1854 Arrived at Camp Sebastopol. Staff officer attached to the Royal Artillery Siege Train. Was on night duty in the trenches before Sebastopol where he attended wounded gunners. Taylor was on duty in the trenches with the Siege Train every 24 hours. Recording his experiences he wrote:
22 October 1854: I have had shot and shell rattling round my head for 32 hours and I am again on duty tonight. The siege has now been going on for five days, the town itself is nearly in ruins but little impression has been made on their batteries. One of our guns burst today, killing two and wounding five others in a very dreadful manner. No one can form any idea of the suffering of both officers and men, and they all take it in good part. They say they have nothing to do but eat and fight, and such is the case, they seldom seem to wash, soap is hard to get and very dear, no one shaves, they are all too tired to take the trouble.1
26 Oct 1854 Present at the repulse of the Russian Reconnaissance on the British trenches.
5 Nov 1854 Present at the Battle of the Heights of Inkerman. He saw hundreds of killed and wounded Russians for whom he could do nothing except give them a little rum and water. This, he did literally at the point of the bayonet for he was always afraid that he might be fire upon after tending the wounded as had happened at Alma.
The wounded lay in threes and fours huddled together to keep themselves warm, and the dead lay in hundreds over the ground.
11 Dec 1854 At Balaclava in charge of the sick. Fell ill on 21 December. He had been on duty for 10 days in succession and five entire nights, during which time he was often called up to see men some distance away from his tent who had suddenly taken ill with cholera. On 25 Dec a Medical Board held at Balaclava awarded him a months' convalescence and he embarked on the Australian for Scutari.
25 May 1855 Camp before Sebastopol. Was with the Expedition to the Tchernaya with the French army. On the 6th June 1855 commenced the third bombardment of Sebastopol which did not fall until 8 September 1855. Taylor had completed 81 days actual service under fire in the trenches, the highest number having been completed by anyone else was 50 days in the trenches.
27 Feb 1856 Left the Crimea on 17 February. He arrived at Valletta, Malta on the steamship Imperatrix on his way home with the Siege Train. He was in medical charge of the 950 men and 27 officers on board ship. He arrived at Woolwich on 14 March 1856.
4 Oct 1856 Arrived from England.
Awarded The Legion of Honour from the Emperor of the French for his services in the War against Russia - (Gazette 4 Aug 1856). He had been mentioned three times in despatches for conspicuous gallantry and skill especially for his care of the wounded after the Battle of Inkermann.
19 Mar 1857 Left for England.
26 Oct 1858 Appointed Staff Assistant Surgeon vice Staff Assistant Surgeon Francis Holton, promoted to the Staff. The vacancy in the Royal Artillery was filled by Staff Assistant Surgeon John Robinson.
1858 Assistant Surgeon Royal Hospital Chelsea.
20 Aug 1859 Died at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, aged 29 years. He had won the affection of all ranks of the Royal Artillery. Garrison Orders, dated Woolwich 24 August 1859, showed that all the officers were invited to attend his funeral together with all the NCOs and men not on duty of the Horse Brigade, Riding Establishment, the 1st Brigade, and the 4th Brigade.
The Times of 27 August 1859, reported that his coffin was carried by six gunners whose wounds sustained at Inkermann had been treated by Staff Assistant Surgeon Arthur Henry Taylor. The cortege which included all the senior officers of the garrison was headed by the full band of the Royal Artillery and the two bands of the Royal Marines and the Royal Horse Artillery followed the bier.
- Entry No: 5282. Johnston W. Roll of Commissioned Offices in the Medical Service of the British Army. Vol 1 (20 June 1727-23 June 1898), Aberdeen (1917).
- 1Typed transcripts of letters written by Arthur Henry Taylor to his parents from the Crimea, 1854–1856, (RAMC/156).