The First Wales Rugby International Killed In World War I


Charles Gerald Taylor was born on 8 May 1863.

He was a Royal Navy officer and Welsh international player who played club rugby for Blackheath.

He was the first Welsh international to be killed in action during World War I

Taylor was an all-round athlete, and at one time was the Welsh pole vault champion, he joined the Royal Navy on 1 July 1885, when he was an acting assistant engineer.

Much of Taylor’s career was spent at training or other shore establishments, however, shortly after the outbreak of World War I,  on 16 September 1914 he was posted to the HMS Queen Mary, then on 20 November he was transferred to HMS Tiger.

On 24 January 1915, Tiger was one of the vessels engaged in the Battle of Dogger Bank. HMS Tiger was struck by fire from a German cruiser, and Taylor died during the engagement.

Unusually Taylor was not buried at sea, and his body was returned to Britain to be buried at Tavistock New Cemetery n Devon.

His international rugby career began in 1884 when he made his debut for Wales against England.

Wales lost the game but Taylor played in the two remaining games of the championship  against Scotland and Ireland.

In 1885, Taylor made his first international score when he converted a try, though as no points were given to conversions at the time he is recorded with no career score.

Taylor was instrumental in setting up a rugby club for Welshmen exiled in London.

A club was formed in June 1885, and Taylor became a committee member,and on 21 October became a member of the very first London Welsh team.

Taylor’s final game for Wales was in 1887 against Ireland in a win at Birkenhead.


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