Son wants to explore father's past

Ballot win for soldier's son

IAIN SCOTT
Last updated 12:00 04/04/2014
gallipoli
DAVID UNWIN/Fairfax NZ
IN HIS FOOTSTEPS: Peter Taylor is looking forward to commemorating his father at the centenary at Gallipoli.
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Supplied
NO WAR STORIES: Twice wounded, Corporal Wilfred Taylor went to war against the wishes of his parents.

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For Bunnythorpe man Peter Taylor being at the scene of the Gallipoli landings a century after his father fought there is a dream come true.

The 59-year-old son of Corporal Wilfred Taylor is one of 251 direct descendants drawn in a ballot to determine who would attend next year's centenary commemoration of the Anzac landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey.

Of those, just 25 are children of those who fought there.

"I've always wanted to go to Gallipoli and I guess it's just the icing on the cake being able to go on the centenary," Taylor said yesterday. "It's pretty special."

Born in 1893, Wilfred Taylor signed up for the army against the wishes of his well-to-do parents.

"We don't know exactly how long he was in the military before he actually went, but I do know that he intentionally signed up, and the story has it that his parents weren't terribly happy."

He served in the 4th (Waikato) Mounted Rifles.

"He did have a horse when he went over. A lot of them had mounts, but they lost their mounts before they got to Gallipoli.

"I know he did get wounded twice and he spent six weeks on a hospital ship before he went back for a second go. Then he was wounded again and came home with that one."

Taylor said his father had an upper-leg shrapnel wound, but it didn't affect him in later life.

"When it came to any discussions about war or Gallipoli he didn't really ever engage in discussions about it, and I think that's pretty typical. He went to church every Anzac Day, but he would drive past the parades and go to church and then drive home again."

After the war, Wilfred Taylor received a ballot farming block southeast of Dannevirke.

"He used to tell stories about his adventures there, scrub cutting and breaking in extremely rough land, and going to rugby training on a motorbike driven by a belt and having to get off when it was raining and push it up the hills."

Wilfred Taylor married when he was 50, to a woman 24 years his junior. "He was 61 or 62 when I was born," Peter Taylor said.

The Gallipoli veteran, who hated guns after the war, was 85 when he died. "I think I'll be very pleased to be there," Peter Taylor said. "It's hard to know exactly how you're going to feel. I've got a rough idea of what it will look like, I've seen enough pictures and that, but you just don't know."

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