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Object: Wedding portrait of John Frederick Taylor and Maud Florence MacLeod (nee des Forges)

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Title Wedding portrait of John Frederick Taylor and Maud Florence MacLeod (nee des Forges)
Production Berry, William (photography studio), 15 February 1917, Wellington
Materials photographic gelatin, sheet glass, silver, photographic plates
Classification studio portraits, portraits, black-and-white negatives, gelatin dry plate negatives
Format half plate (1/2)
Credit line Purchased 1998 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds
Registration number B.045854

Wedding portrait of  John Frederick Taylor and  Maud Florence McLeod (nee des Forges). 

This striking wedding portrait shows John Frederick Taylor and Maud Florence McLeod (née Des Forges), who were married on 15 February 1917. The soldier is wearing both a bandolier and an ammunition pouch, with spurs on his boots,indicating that he was in the Mounted Rifles, as well as the distinctive ‘double horse’ collar  and hat badges  worn by the 23rd and 24th Mounted Rifles Reinforcements.

Born in Sydney, John Taylor was twenty-two years old and working for the Jerseydale Cheese Factory, Eltham when he enlisted in the 23rd Mounted Reinforcements in October 1916, and was assigned his service number, 35851. His parents, Joseph and Sarah, had emigrated from England, arriving in New Zealand in 1903.

John had served twenty months in the 5th Wellington Regiment prior to enlisting for overseas service on 3 October 1916. In February 1917, while he was training at Trentham, he was granted leave for his wedding. This was a second marriage for Maud, then thirty-four years old; she had married her first husband, Angus McLeod, in 1902 and had borne four children. On marrying Maud, John became their stepfather; Maud would give birth to his own son, Francis John Frederick, later the same year, while he was  overseas.

In June 1917, John arrived in Egypt; posted initially to the New Zealand Veterinary Corps, he was later transferred to the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. The Mounted Rifles were engaged in a campaign against Turkish forces in Palestine during 1917–18, and while in the field in September 1918, John was admitted to hospital. There is no specific cause listed, but it was serious enough that he was invalided back to New Zealand, leaving Egypt in December on the Malta.

It was at sea that John contracted ‘Pneumonic influenza’; removed from the Malta when the ship arrived in Perth, Western Australia, he was placed in quarantine. By then his diagnosis was ‘(simple) serious pneumonia’ and he was very sick indeed: over a six-day period from 6 January 1919, his temperature hovered in the range of 101–105°F (38.3–40.6°C). He recovered, however, and returned to New Zealand in April 1919; in December, he was discharged ‘in consequence of being no longer physically fit for war service on account of illness contracted while on active service’.

John Taylor died in Stratford, Taranaki on 20 November 1971; Maud had passed away twenty years earlier in Eltham. They are buried together in the  Hawera Cemetery.



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