Bertram Wilfrid Taylor DSC, RN

Born  23 Mar 1906


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Ranks

 Rear-Admiral
15 Sep 1926 A/S.Lt.
15 Mar 1927 S.Lt.
15 Oct 1928 Lt.
15 Oct 1936 Lt.Cdr.
31 Dec 1941 Cdr.
31 Dec 1947 Capt.

Retired: 7 Jan 1960


Decorations

1 Jan 1941 Mentioned in Despatches (MID)
29 May 1945 DSC
1 Jan 1959 CB

Warship Commands listed for Bertram Wilfrid Taylor, RN


ShipRankTypeFromTo
HMS Severn (N 57)Lt.Cdr.SubmarineMay 193930 Oct 1940
HMS Bligh (K 467)Cdr.Frigate26 Jan 194531 Jul 1945
HMS Exmoor (ii) (L 08)Cdr.Escort destroyer9 Jul 1945late 1945

Career information

We currently have no career / biographical information on this officer.

Events related to this officer

Submarine HMS Severn (N 57)


31 Aug 1939 (position 0.00, 0.00)

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during the passage from Gibraltar to Freetown see the map below.

(1)

31 Aug 1939

HMS Clyde (Cdr. W.E. Banks, RN) and HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) both departed Gibraltar for Freetown where they were to join the South Atlantic Command for convoy defence duties. (2)

7 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Freetown. (1)

9 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown to patrol off the Cape Verde Islands. This was her 1st war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

10 Sep 1939 (position 9.10, -15.55)
At 0959 hours (zone +1), in position 09°10'N, 15°55'W, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), sighted a tanker bearing 270°, range 7 nautical miles, steering a course of 120°. Severn altered course to close at 18 knots to investigate. Shortly afterwards the tanker turned away. On closing HMS Severn told the tanker to stop. Severn then intercepted a distress message from the tanker which turned out to be the British Royal Fleet Auxiliary Oligarch (6894 GRT, built 1918, Master H.M. Sinclair). HMS Severn then made every effort to establish her identity to the tanker but this succeeded only at 1100 hours. Oligarch was then ordered to proceed to Freetown and cancel her distress message. (3)

28 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed her patrol area for Dakar. (3)

30 Sep 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 1st war patrol at Dakar. (3)

14 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dakar to patrol off the Cape Verde Islands. This was her 2nd war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

16 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to proceed to Freetown. (3)

19 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 2nd war patrol at Freetown. (3)

23 Oct 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for her 3rd war patrol. She was ordered to patrol in the South-Atlantic off north-east Brasil.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

20 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 3rd war patrol at Freetown. (3)

25 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for Dakar. (4)

27 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Dakar. (4)

28 Nov 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is docked at Dakar. (4)

2 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is undocked. (5)

3 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dakar for Freetown. (5)

5 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Freetown. (5)

11 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for the Falkland Islands. This is her 4th war patrol.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

15 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to proceed to the River Plate and to investigate Ilha da Trinidade en-route if possible. (3)

17 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) reconnoitred Ilha da Trinidade. At 0815 hours (zone +2) Severn changed course to proceed to the River Plate area. (3)

18 Dec 1939
At 0400 hours (zone +2), while in position 23°34'S, 33°24'W, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), is ordered to make a sweep for the German tanker Altmark and then to return to Freetown.

At 1600 hours, HMS Severn is ordered to proceed with despatch to position 14°30'S, 21°30'W. During the next two days Severn was ordered to proceed to several position to search for the German tanker but she was not sighted. (3)

24 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) made a short stop at Ascension Island to see if there was any mail that had to be transported northbound. Severn was passing about 10 miles from the island so Lt.Cdr. Taylor decided to pay a short visit to the Island before proceeding to Freetown.

28 Dec 1939
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 4th war patrol at Freetown. (3)

13 Jan 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
No log is available for this period for HMS Severn, therefore no map can be displayed.

13 Jan 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Freetown for Portsmouth. She was part of the ocean escort of convoy SL 16F together with Armed Merchant Cruiser HMS Cheshire (Capt. (Retd.) M.R. Bernard, RN) and the destroyers HMS Hardy (Capt. B.A. Warburton-Lee, RN) and HMS Hostile (Cdr. J.P. Wright, RN).

Besides the escort the convoy was made up of 12 British merchant ships; Adda (7816 GRT, built 1922), Anselm (5954 GRT, built 1935), Baronesa (8663 GRT, built 1918), City of Nagpur (10146 GRT, built 1922), Cordillera (6865 GRT, built 1920), Cumberland (10939 GRT, built 1919), Mahia (10014 GRT, built 1917), Mary Slessor (5027 GRT, built 1930), Orari (10350 GRT, built 1931), Port Sydney (9129 GRT, built 1914), Raranga (10043 GRT, built 1916) and Scientist (6198 GRT, built 1938).

The destroyers departed the convoy on the 20th and then proceeded to Gibraltar. On the 24th the destroyer HMS Viscount (Lt.Cdr. M.S. Townsend, RN) and sloop HMS Rochester (Cdr. G.F. Renwick, RN) took over the escort from the HMS Cheshire and HMS Severn which then proceeded to Plymouth and Portsmouth respectively where they both arrived on the 26th. (6)

26 Jan 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Portsmouth. Before HMS Severn would be fit for patrol she had to undergo a period of repairs to her main motors. (7)

5 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) and HMS Tarpon (Lt.Cdr. H.J. Caldwell, RN) both departed Portsmouth for Rosyth. They were escorted by HMS Wivern (Lt.Cdr. W.C. Bushell, RN). They joined northbound convoy FN 139 at 1530/6 until 2100/7 when both submarines were ordered to patrol off the Skagerrak and course was set accordingly. This passage then became HMS Severn's 5th war patrol.

[As there is no log available for this period and the patrol report does not give any position no map for this patrol can be displayed.] (3)

10 Apr 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to patrol off Kristiansand. (7)

11 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) made a torpedo attack on a merchant vessel. No hits were obtained. This was possibly the German transport Levante (4769 GRT, built 1939) that was en-route from Hamburg to Trondheim with supplies for the German invasion forces.

2100 hours - Surfaced off Kristiansand.

2145 hours - Sighted a 6000 tons merchant vessel proceeding East. Commenced attack. Fired two torpedoes which missed. No further attack could be made due to patrol vessels in the area. (3)

15 Apr 1940
At 0615 hours, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), is bombed by a German aircraft to the east of Kristiansand. Severn dived to 120 feet and sustained no damage. (3)

21 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 5th war patrol at Rosyth. (7)

24 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) shifted from Rosyth to Dundee. (6)

29 Apr 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dundee for her 6th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the south-west coast of Norway.

[As there is no log available for this period and the patrol report does not give any position no map for this patrol can be displayed.] (3)

2 May 1940
While on patrol, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), is bombed at 2208 hours, by an enemy aircraft. Severn dived to 70 feet and continued her passage on the surface after about half an hour. (3)

4 May 1940 (position 57.57, 6.13)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) torpedoed and sank the Swedish merchant vessel Monark (1786 GRT, built 1938) off Lister, Norway in position 57°57'N, 06°13'E. The Monark was in German service at that time. She had been at Stavanger when the Germans invaded. She was now under way to Hamburg with a German prize crew on board. The cargo was woodpulp.

0345 hours - Sighted a merchant vessel at a range of 5000 yards. The targets course was 147°. Closed to attack. hen broad on the targets beam identified her as the Swedish S.S. Monark of Stockholm. Decided not to torpedo the ship from submerged but, since it was a neutral allowed the crew to escape before sinking her in accordance with our orders.

0359 hours - Surfaced astern of the target. Gave chase for about 2 miles. Ordered the ship to stop, not to use her W/T and to sent over a boat. There was a delay of 25 minutes before a motor boat containing the Master came alongside. In reply to questions the Master, who spoke excellent English, said that his ship was at Stavanger when the Germans invaded. His ship and the cargo of woodpulp were seized and he was now proceeding to Germany with a prize crew on board. The Master was told to return to his ship and to order the prize crew to board the board and board the submarine. The Master refused this as he expected that he would be shot. A signal was then made to the Monark to abandon ship and to effect this a round was fird across her bows. The ship was immediately abandoned and the prize crew pulled towards the submarine.

0451 hours - HMS Severn was now on the surface for about one hour. The sun had risen and air patrols were expected at any moment. Fired one torpedo at the Monark from 600 yards. It hit amidships and she started to list heavily to port and shortly afterwards sank rapidly.

0500 hours - Embarked 5 members of the prize crew dived. Shortly afterwards sighted aircraft circling our position. Decided to retire to the westward. (3)

9 May 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) was ordered to return to base. (3)

10 May 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 6th war patrol at Dundee. (6)

25 May 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dundee for her 7th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off central Norway, near Trondheim.

For the daily positions of HMS Severn during this patrol see the map below.

(3)

5 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) is ordered to leave patrol and proceed to Rosyth. This was changed to Dundee the next day. (3)

7 Jun 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 7th war patrol at Dundee. (6)

20 Jun 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Dundee for her 8th war patrol. She was ordered to patrol off the Norwegian coast, Statlanded area.

[As there is no log available for this period and the patrol report does not give any position no map for this patrol can be displayed.] (3)

21 Jun 1940 (position 58.54, 3.45)
At 0206 hours, HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN), received a report that HMS Clyde (Lt.Cdr. D.C. Ingram, RN) had sighted and attacked 'large enemy warships' off Fro Havet.

At 0336 hours, HMS Severn increased speed to 20 knots to proceed on the surface to Utsire as fast as possible as ordered by Vice-Admiral Submarines in his signal timed 0323/21. Severn was forced three times to dive for enemy aircraft but it was believed she was not sighted.

At 1132 hours, in position 58°54'N, 03°45'E, HMS Severn sighted the conning tower of a submarine bearing 100°, course north, range about 5 nautical miles. Severn dived and closed at full speed. The conning tower was only sighted once more from submerged at a range of about 3 nautical miles. An aircraft was seen 5 minutes later and this had probably forced the other submarine to dive. As Severn's position was roughly along the track of the enemy (aircraft report of 1120/21) decided to remain dived and proceeded towards Utsire. This was a wise dicision for later that afternoon the German submarine U-99 was detected on the surface by an Arado seaplane from the German battlecruiser Scharnhorst and bombed in error. Severn heard six distant explosions between 1528 and 1540 hours. U-99 reported being attacked at 1623 hours (German time was one hour later). It was the Scharnhorst that Severn was after but she never sighted her. The submarine sighted by Severn at 1132 hours must have been U-99.

In the evening, at 1901 hours, HMS Severn sighted a County and a Town class cruiser about 5 nautical miles to the westward. Their gun turrets were on a northerly bearing and the smoke of gunfire was seen. When the cruisers had closed to 3 miles, Severn surfaced and identified herself to the cruisers which were HMS Sussex (Capt A.R. Hammick, RN) and HMS Newcastle (Capt. J. Figgins, RN). Lt.Cdr. Taylor then asked where the enemy was but he was told that the cruisers were engaging enemy aircraft and not a surface vessel. Severn then dived again at 1922 hours and proceeded towards Haugesund. (3)

30 Jun 1940 (position 57.28, 5.31)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) attacked a northbound German destroyer with three torpedoes in the North Sea south-west of Norway in position 57°28N, 05°31E. No hits were obtained.

1835 hours - Heard faint HE bearing 165°

1840 hours - Sighted a destroyer at a range of about 3 nautical miles. Commenced attack.

1848 hours - Fired three torpedoes from 1500 yards. They probably missed astern as the speed of the enemy was underestimated.

1857 hours - Heard three loud explosions, most likely the torpedoes exploding on hitting the bottom at the end of their run. (3)

2 Jul 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) ended her 8th war patrol at Dundee. (3)

8 Jul 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) shifted from Dundee to Rosyth. (7)

10 Jul 1940
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) departed Rosyth for Plymouth. She made the passage around Scotland and through the Irish Sea. She was escorted by HMS White Bear (Capt. R. Gill, RNR). (7)

13 Jul 1940 (position 0.00, 0.00)
HMS Severn (Lt.Cdr. B.W. Taylor, RN) arrived at Plymouth where she was taken in hand for refit by the Devonport Dockyard. (6)

Sources

  1. ADM 173/16079
  2. ADM 173/16078
  3. ADM 199/1878
  4. ADM 173/16081
  5. ADM 173/16082
  6. ADM 199/2572
  7. ADM 199/373

ADM numbers indicate documents at the British National Archives at Kew, London.


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