On 25th September 1915 Frederic Garratt Taylor was killed by a shell in Flanders. He was a member of the Friends Ambulance Unit and was on duty with his ambulance car picking up wounded soldiers. He was 21 years old.
Frederic was a pupil at Bootham School in York between 1908 and 1912. He was known as a fast swimmer, who twice helped his bedroom to win the aquatics team race and gained the Bronze Medal of the Royal Lifesaving Society. He also won prizes in the workshop category of the school exhibition for making chessmen and a cycling tent.
After leaving school he joined Morland & Impey Wholesale Stationers in Birmingham, before joining the Friends Ambulance Unit in 1914, going to Dunkirk on 4th December 1914.
The Commandant wrote from Dunkirk on 27th September: “We have just returned from his graveside in the little cemetery here, a company of over a hundred members, nurses, and officers of the unit who went to pay a last tribute of honour and affection to a comrade whom every one of us loved, one of the brightest, most willing, and cheeriest members of the unit.” The French authorities awarded him the Croix de Guerre.
His friend Lawrence Rowntree wrote this in the school magazine in December 1915: “When I think of Eric Taylor I am always reminded of Peter Pan: he never grew up. In determination, in pluck, in self-reliance, he was a man, as we all knew him in France; in light-heartedness and cheery good spirits, in his readiness to enter into anything that savoured of mischief, and in his enthusiasm in taking up any new employment, amusement or hobby, he was always a boy, without a care in the world.”