To be published 2021
Their destinies remarkably similar, this tells the unique story of the experiences of father and son … Captain Stanley Wedgwood Taylor MC, AFC and Lieutenant John Wedgwood Taylor. Both were fighter pilots during World War I and II respectively, both shot down 3 enemy aircraft and both went on to become farmers, four goal polo players, getting married and having three sons.
With intriguing insights into the aircraft they flew, their flying training, general flying and combat missions; the book is in essence a personalised account that brings to life the characters of the two men and their unique wartime experiences within the larger context of the war they were fighting.
Being able to ride a horse as a colonial Mounted Infantryman qualified Captain Stanley Taylor to apply for the Royal Flying Corps early in World War 1 at a time when flying had only just been invented and the RFC largely followed the ethos of “if you can ride a horse, you can fly an aeroplane”. Surviving his rudimentary training in aircraft that threatened to fall out of the sky, he not only went on to earn the Military Cross for his courage displayed in strafing enemy machine gun nests and troops at low altitude, he also shot down three enemy aircraft flying an outdated fighter aircraft. He concluded the war as an instructor, being awarded the Air Force Cross for his “valour, courage and devotion to duty whilst flying”.
His son, Lt John Taylor joined the South African Air Force in World War 2 flying Hurricanes in the desert on tank busting, fighter interception, convoy patrol and attack missions. He was credited with shooting down three enemy aircraft flying the Spitfire before being shot down over the island of Kos in the final, epic dog fight battling against impossible odds. Having parachuted into the sea, he was rescued by a fishing boat and escaped from the island of Kos in a rowing boat to return to active duty flying transport DC3’s. Seconded to the RAF after the war he was part of the massive Berlin Airlift in 1948 flying cargo into the city besieged by the Russians before returning to South Africa.