People on board
TAYLOR, Roderick Perry
Roderick Perry Taylor, known as Perry, was born in Geneva, Florida on the 5th of December 1892. He was fourth of the seven children of John Palmer Taylor and Sarah Mizell Roberts, five of them girls, the first dying at the age of four. John Taylor was a Farmer, in the 1901 census described as a ‘General Farmer’. In that census the eldest son Hoyt was working as a Fruit and Vegetable Packer, the eldest daughter was a teacher in a Public School while Perry’s occupation was ‘Odd Jobs’.
By 1917 the family had moved to the city of Orlando where they were living at 511 Broadway, and it was from that address that Perry completed his Draft card in June 1917. He gave his current occupation as ‘Automobile Mechanic’ and declared that he had completed four years military service in the National Guard, with the rank of Sergeant. He also declared that his mother was his dependent. His brother Hoyt also enlisted and served as a Corporal in the Marine Corps.
On the 6th of September 1917 Perry joined up at Jacksonville, Florida and was sent to the Naval Aeronautical Station at Pensacola, where he began ’machinist school training’. Training was completed by Christmas and on the 26th of December he was enroute to New York to board the liner Philadelphia. After seven days at sea the ship approached Liverpool, travelling through the Irish Sea avoiding the many German submarines. A troop train took the US soldiers to Holyhead from where another boat took them to Dublin, and finally they took a train to Queenstown in Cork.
They were part of the big build-up of US forces in the south of Ireland, both air and naval. About six thousand men were billeted in crowded conditions and Perry Taylor, who had contracted a cold on the sea journey, now found himself in hospital with pneumonia. Following this he was assigned to a British mine-sweeper, with a British crew. In August 1918 he was posted to a Kite Balloon Station at Castletownbere on the far west coast of Cork. He was then stationed at the Naval Air Station in Queenstown throughout September. Finally, in October 1918 he got leave and was planning on joining friends in London.
There were seventeen US Army and Naval personnel on board RMS Leinster on the 10th of October. Perry Taylor did not survive but his body was recovered. After embalming in Dublin his body, and that of another US soldier, was returned to the US on board the stores ship USS Glacier.
He was buried in Geneva, Florida on November the 12th and a headstone for military veterans was erected.