Private Albert Tailby
17382 3rd Battalion Coldstream Guards who died 13 April 1918
Albert was born in Wigston 1885, the son of Charles and Susannah (nee Warburton) Tailby. At the time of his baptism the family was living in Spa Lane, Wigston and his father was a framework knitter. By 1891 they had moved to Bull Head Street and by 1901 to Central Avenue. Albert was one of ten children. He had older siblings William and Eva and younger siblings Agnes, Adeline, Jessie and Miriam. Another younger sister, Ellen, listed on the 1901 census and born in 1887, died in childhood and a further two children are presumed to have died in infancy.
Bull Head Street, Wigston Magna
Sometime before the 1911 census the family moved to Oadby where Charles became the publican of the New Inn. At the time Albert, an unemployed hosiery worker was living there with his parents and four sisters, two of whom were employed in the hosiery trade. In Kelly’s Directory 1912 Charles W Tailby is still listed as publican of the New Inn but he died in April of that year and the family later moved to Spencer Street.
The New Inn, London Road, Oadby
Albert’s service record no longer exists but his service number suggests that he enlisted in November 1915 in the 3rd Battalion of the Coldstream Guards. After basic training Albert probably left for France in late spring 1916. In which case he would have seen action on the Somme at Delville Wood and Ancre. The Coldstream Guards spent the winter of 1916/17 holding the front line on the Somme. During the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) they saw action during the opening assault at Pilkelm Ridge on 31 July 1917 and returned to the front line at Poelcapelle and Passchendaele in October 1917.
Guards carrying barbed wire across the battlefield at Pilkelm Ridge, August 1917
In November-December 1917 the Guards division fought in the Battle of Cambrai. The winter of 1917/18 was spent on the Arras front around the River Scarpe. On 8 February 1918 divisional changes saw the 3rd Coldstream Guards transferred to the 4th Guards Brigade.
On 21 March 1918 the enemy launched its Spring Offensive which developed in four phases along the Western Front. During the opening assault, known as Operation Michael, The Coldstream Guards were sent north from Arras which put them in the area of the essential railway junctions at Bailleul and Hazebrouck when the third phase, Operation Georgette began on 9 April. On 12 April the 4th Guards Brigade were ordered to identify and fill an unspecified gap north of Merville and near the Forest of Nieppe. There, over three days and two nights, they and the divisional pioneers, the 12th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, fought an epic defence against determined attackers, during which the 4th Grenadiers and 3rd Coldstream Guards each suffered over five hundred casualties. It is likely that Private Albert Tailby died during this action. His body was not recovered and he is Remembered with Honour on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium
Albert Tailby is Remembered with honour on the Ploegsteert Memorial and the Oadby War Memorial
Private Albert Tailby’s name on the Ploegsteert Memorial, Hainaut, Belgium
The Ploegsteert Memorial was unveiled in 1931 and lists over 11,000 soldiers with no known grave