Jimboomba-born Maurice Taylor had been working as a labourer and stockman when he enlisted on September 15, 1915, joining the 14th reinforcements of the 2nd Light Horse Regiment.
Maurice was a single man, 25 years old, and had named his father, Charles Taylor of Goodna as his next of kin before leaving Brisbane on the Wandilla on 31 January, 1916.
Following his arrival at Heliopolis in Egypt, he was taken on strength of the 1st Light Horse Training Regiment on March 7 but on April 16 was transferred to the 4th Divisional Artillery and five days later taken on strength of the 11th Field Artillery Brigade.
Maurice had been in the Middle East for less than three months before he embarked for the Western Front.
On June 1, 1916, he left Alexandria as part of the British Expeditionary Force on the Haverford and arrived in Marseilles, France, on June 10.
Artillery played a defining role on the battlefields of the Western Front. Its 18-pounder guns, with a range of almost six kilometres, caused death and destruction on an unprecedented scale. Inflicting the most casualties – physical and psychological – artillery was one of the most feared weapons of the war.
As part of Australia’s 4th Division, the 11th Field Artillery Brigade was involved in the pursuit of the German Army as it withdrew to the Hindenburg Line from mid-March to early April, 1917.
On March 29, 1917, according to official unit diaries held by the Australian War Memorial, the 11th Field Artillery Brigade was at Behencourt in the Somme where “all batteries were at work at gun drill, harness cleaning and training”.
On this day, just like Canungra comrade Charles Cronk, Maurice was charged with disobeying a “lawful command given personally by a superior” for which he similarly forfeited 28 days’ pay.
Maurice was with the 11th Field Artillery Brigade when it provided support to Australia’s infantrymen at battles at Bullecourt in April and at Messines in June, 1917.
In 1918, he was part of the artillery effort in the now legendary Australian triumph over the Germans at Villers-Bretonneux in April, followed by the victory at Hamel in July and Amiens and Albert in August.
In late August 1918, Maurice was again charged with disobeying a lawful command from a superior as well as with refusing to give his name and “stating a falsehood” for which he forfeited seven days’ pay.
Maurice spent most of September 1918 on leave in England before he rejoined his unit in France. Although the war ended with the Armistice on November 11, Maurice was still with his unit in France until mid-March 1919.
From Havre he travelled to Weymouth on March 14 and finally left England for Australia on the China from Plymouth on May 1, 1919, arriving in Sydney on June 11.
Just five foot four and a half inches tall (163 centimetres) and weighing only 110 pounds (49 kilos) when he had enlisted, Maurice was discharged from the AIF on August 4 in “good health” and with “no disability”.
For his four years of service, Maurice received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.