Capt Stanley Wedgwood Taylor MC AFC
RFC – RAF
1916 – 1919
A farmer from Natal, South Africa, Stanley Taylor enlisted in the mounted infantry unit the Natal Carbineers (SADF) as a trooper and took part in the German S W African campaign of 1914-15. At 26 years of age he volunteered for the RFC, passing through the British armies recruitment depot prior to reporting to the School of Military Aeronautics in May 1916. Three weeks later in June he was transferred to No 3 Reserve Squadron for his initial flying training and a month later in July to 28 Squadron for his advanced flying training. He was appointed as a Flight Officer in August 1916 and transferred to the operational fighter unit, 41 Squadron.
When fully equipped with the RFC’s first single seat fighter the FE8 “pusher” in October, the squadron flew across the channel to their frontline airfield in Abeele, Belgium. Already obsolete as a fighter, the FE8 was used mainly in the ground attack role. In January 1917 he shot down an enemy two seater over Roulers, damaged another and in March damaged a Halberstadt. Promoted to Captain he was appointed as a Flight Commander in May. He shot down an Albatross scout in June and later that month he shot down an enemy two seater. The significance of his victim the Albatross scout is that he was flying the obsolete FE8, bringing down what was the most advanced fighter at the time. In the same month he was awarded the Military Cross for his “courage displayed in attacking enemy machine guns and troops at low altitude”. In July the squadron began re-equipping with the DH5’s and in October the new SE5a. In September he was seconded briefly to 31 Training School as the Deputy Flight Instructor and No 1 School of Aerial Fighting as an instructor in October. Back in 41 Squadron in November he flew in support of tanks being used for the first time in warfare at the battle of Cambrai. He was transferred back to England at the end of the year, leaving operational flying with 41 Squadron to assume his duties as a flying instructor.
In January 1918 he joined No 1 School of Aerial Fighting in Ayr. Shortly thereafter, the RFC became the RAF, and November of that year he was awarded the Air Force Cross for “valour, courage and devotion to duty whilst flying”. In January 1919 he was posted to No 2 Training Depot and then repatriated from England back to civilian life and his farm in South Africa later that year.
Aircraft Types Flown
Enemy Aircraft Types Shot Down
(Flying the FE8)
Enemy Aircraft Types Damaged
(Flying the FE8)