Capt Courtart de Butts Taylor

- Advertisement -

A request for information regarding the family of Captain Coutart de Butts Taylor, of the Jersey Militia, who died on Christmas Eve, 1918, has proved successful.

Christine Lloyd, of St Helier, has been in touch with Barrie Bertram, of the CI Great War Study Group, as a result of the report we published in September.

She is a descendant of Captain Taylor’s family, but until she read the article had no idea about his Jersey connection.

Mr Bertram has e-mailed with a brief summary of the history and the new link.

He said: Captain Taylor had been serving for over two years until Christmas Eve, 1918, as Sergeant Charles Edward Collins, after having had his commission with the Royal Irish Rifles removed in August 1916, in part for having stood two NCOs a drink in Salonika earlier that year!

His outstanding and exceptionally brave performance as Collins saw him recommended for a commission in May 1918, and this resulted in his true identity being discovered.

Early in 1919, his commission as a Captain in the Royal Irish Rifles was reinstated posthumously, an almost unique event in the British Army, and as far as is known, the only occasion when this was done throughout the Great War.

His wife Lilian would become matron at an Officers’ Convalescent Home at Bolton, while their three children, Lilian, Terence and Doreen, were at various locations in southern England.

Captain Taylor had a number of siblings, the eldest being Charlotte who married a naval officer, Lieutenant Edward Lloyd in Malta in October 1883, and who would provide a temporary home for daughter Lilian in 1920 at least.

After 90 years, it was regarded as a very long shot that there might still be descendants of Coutart in Jersey. However, Jersey resident Christine Lloyd – the great-grand-daughter in law of Charlotte and Edward Lloyd – has been in touch.

Mrs Lloyd had been doing family research, but had ‘lost’ Coutart after 1901, and was completely unaware of any family connection with Jersey.

However, with the trail again warm, she has now discovered that Coutart married 24-year-old Lilian McEnnery at St Brelade’s Church on 11 July, 1901, while all three children were born in Jersey – Lilian in St Brelade (16 March, 1902), Terence at Havre des Pas (8 June, 1903) and Doreen in St Lawrence (15 May, 1905).

However, comparatively little is known of their lives after 1920. The two daughters never married, and would live, first in Kensington and then afterwards in the Thanet district of Kent where they died – Doreen in 1972, Lilian in 1993.

Their brother Terence, who also remained unmarried, became a tea-planter in Ceylon in 1921, and returned to England on holiday four times (in 1925, 1930, 1936 and 1953), staying each time in Kensington. At some stage he retired to return to England for the last time, and died in Bodmin in 1971.

As to their mother Lilian, it appears that she died at the age of 58 in 1934, and in Kensington.

Research into the fascinating circumstances of Coutart de Butts Taylor’s military career and his family’s circumstances originally began after an inquiry in the JEP a few years ago, about a kettle given to Mrs Taylor by the St John’s Company of the 1st (or West) Battalion of the Jersey Militia and now owned by Len Rowlands.

He will be offering the kettle to the Museum in the hope that it will be suitably displayed. Meanwhile, it is still hoped that someone has photographs of officer groups, the St John’s Company, or the 1st Battalion of the Militia during the period between 1902 and 1915 that might help in identifying Captain Taylor and could be copied for a future display.’

* Anyone with information can e-mail Mr Betram at

The kettle presented to Mrs Taylor

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Latest Stories

- Advertisement -

UK News

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Read the latest free supplements

Read the Town Crier, Le Rocher and a whole host of other subjects like mortgage advice, business, cycling, travel and property.