Obituary of John Taylor, PLY X106678, 07/03/1922-08/04/2015, R.I.P.
Grey skies, Green Berets and a squad of men in Blues, descended on Helensburgh, along the Firth of Clyde, where it creeps towards the Gaerloch. They were there to celebrate the long, eventful life of John Taylor, who crossed the bar on Wednesday, the 8th of April, 2015.
At twenty years of age, John was a coal carter in his native Dumbarton, but the country was at war, as the crazed corporal strutted his stuff over Europe. He joined the Corps at Deal, on the 7th day of March, 1942. Marine John Taylor, PLY X106678, (Surely, a number any young recruit could only dream of), was rightly proud of his service, and until recently, was an active member of the City of Glasgow Branch, Royal Marine Association. He endorsed and delighted in this belonging, and hence, many men and women came to bear witness on this stark, spring morning, and bear testament on his passing.
And so there was a full house in St. Joseph’s Church, men and women of his own congregation mixed with representatives from a broad swathe of Ex serving, naval and military personnel. Even the Silent Service surfaced to pay their respects. A former army commando, (Ex 29, Commando, Royal Artillery), travelled up from Tyneside, having read of John’s funeral in his local paper. A Father Lennon presided and he spoke affectionately of the man he knew. He told of the pride with which John wore his Green Beret, at times, even in church, and how he, the priest, couldn’t find it within himself, to ask him to remove it. This struck a familiar chord with those of us who knew John. For the past few years at Spean Bridge, or wherever and whenever he turned out on parade, the position of his cap badge was always open to an element of chance. He may well, on some occasion, have even worn it over his left eye, after all, the best place to hide a tree is in the middle of a wood, but he will forever be remembered for wearing it any other place but. Having earned the right to wear the beret, if a Bootneck reaches into his nineties, who was ever going to tell him anything different. The benediction over, six serving marines in full dress uniform, men of 43 Commando, based at nearby Faslane, bore his coffin out to the waiting hearse which carried him the last few hundred yards to the nearby, Helensburgh Cemetery, where John was finally laid to rest, beside his late, beloved wife. John’s mortal journey was at an end.
Close family and friends then withdrew to the Ardencaple Hotel with it’s views across the rolling Firth of Clyde, for a blether, bordering on banter, over tea and sticky buns. In the reckoning, all were in agreement, “Went the day well”, John would have been delighted.
His nephew, Danny (76), assisted John with his mobility in his later years. He frequently drove John to parades, functions and events, the length and breadth of the country. I am sure that this was very much appreciated by John himself, as I know it was by the wider membership of the Association, who were always glad and greatly heartened to see John on parade. He will be well and truly missed. Here is hoping, that Danny heeds our open invitation to future events, as he will be more than welcome, he is well thought of throughout the branch. A friend to one is a friend to all, it would be a delight to see him at Spean Bridge again this year. I know that he will miss John after a fashion, and he may well seek some solace amongst friends within the body of the wider Corps Family, of which he himself is now a welcome part.