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The Second World War South African Forces North Africa 8th Army Retreat to Egypt July 1942 Officer Casualty and El Alamein October 1942 Accidental Casualty group awarded to Captain H. Taylor, Imperial Light Horse. A member of the Active Citizen Fo...

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The Second World War South African Forces North Africa 8th Army Retreat to Egypt July 1942 Officer Casualty and El Alamein October 1942 Accidental Casualty group awarded to Captain H. Taylor, Imperial Light Horse. A member of the Active Citizen Force since 1933, who was then incorporated into the Union Defence Force as a Captain in June 1940, he was sent to the Middle East with his regiment as a part of the 3rd South African Brigade in May 1941, and then saw service with the Support Company, being present during Operation Crusader, the capture of Bardia, and the fighting at Gazala in June 1942, followed by the retreat to Egypt, he was wounded in the leg by shrapnel on 1st July 1942. After recovery he went on to receive an accidental battlefield injury at El Alamein on 23rd October 1942, namely a gunshot wound to the left wrist.

Group of 5: 1939-1945 Star; Africa Star with 8th Army Clasp; Defence Medal; War Medal; Africa Service Medal 1939-1945; all named in officially impressed South African issue style; (26364 H. TAYLOR), mounted swing style as worn.

Condition: Good Very Fine.

Harold Taylor was born on 8th September 1914 in Johannesburg, where he lived and worked as a house salesman and stock clerk for the firm of Seligson & Clare Limited of Johannesburg. Enlisting into the Active Citizen Force as a Trooper into the Imperial Light Horse on 1st July 1933, he was appointed to Lance Corporal on 1st May 1935, appointed to Acting Corporal on 6th March 1936, and to Acting Sergeant on 1st July 1936.

Commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Imperial Light Horse on 1st January 1937, Taylor was promoted to Lieutenant on 1st January 1939, and with the outbreak of the Second World War, was then promoted to Captain on 10th June 1940, on which date he assumed full time service with the Union Defence Force (No.26364). Posted with his regiment to the 3rd South African Brigade, he then found himself sailing for the Middle East where he arrived as part of the advance party to the 2nd South African Division, when he embarked at Suez on 8th May 1941.

Serving with the Support Company of the Imperial Light Horse, this unit was equipped with the machine gun and mortar platoons, as well as handling the armoured cars and Bren gun carriers. Moving to Alexandria, towards the end of 1941 the 3rd South African Brigade found itself detailed to protect the water pipes and railway lines between Sidi Abd El Rahman and El Dana, and getting accustomed to the Western Desert. Present during Operation Crusader, the capture of Bardia, and the fighting at Gazala in June 1942, followed by the retreat to Egypt, the ‘History of the 3rd South African Brigade’ records that he was wounded in the leg by shrapnel on 1st July 1942, and treated at the 5th South African General Hospital.

Rejoining the Imperial Light Horse on 9th August 1942, he then received an accidental battlefield injury at El Alamein on 23rd October 1942, namely a gunshot wound to the left wrist, and he was again hospitalised. Returned to South Africa with the Imperial Light Horse in January 1943, he then returned to Egypt in October 1943 with the 9th Battalion, Reserve Brigade. Discharged in October 1945, his medals were issued to him on 14th January 1953. A photograph of Taylor exists in the ‘History of the Imperial Light Horse’ along with other officers of the regiment taken in May 1940.