University remembers fallen soldier who played a part in its founding

The story of a brave Leicester officer during the First World War is being retold by our University on the anniversary of his death on 15 October.

The sacrifice made by Lieutenant Garth Smithies Taylor of the 2nd Battalion Sherwood Foresters inspired one of the first donations to establish the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland College in 1921 as a living memorial to those local men who had lost their lives in the First World War.

Liz Blood, a PhD student in the School of History, Politics and International Relations, has been researching Lt. Taylor’s story and has published a blog to coincide with the anniversary of his death, thanks in part to a privately printed book of letters, diary extracts and family photographs recently gifted to the University Library.

Liz said: “Records in the University Archives record a number of donations towards the founding of the University College made in memory of nine young men who were killed in the conflict. The names of those soldiers are inscribed on a memorial tablet at the entrance to the Fielding Johnson Building on the University campus. Among those remembered on the tablet is Garth Smithies Taylor, who was killed in action on 15 October 1916 at the age of just 20.

“Garth Smithies Taylor, who died aged 20 100 years ago this month, had enjoyed a better education than some of his peers, but his life was cut all-too short by the First World War. All of us who work and study here should reflect that the University we are so familiar with is a tribute to Garth Taylor and his generation. We can all remember this when we see the University’s motto Ut Vitam Habeant means “That they may have life”: life that so many of their predecessors were denied.”