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Sir T. W. J. Taylor
Principal of the University College of the South West of England

In office
1952–1953
Preceded by John Murray
Succeeded by Sir James Cook
1st Principal of the University College of the West Indies

In office
1946–1952
Preceded by First incumbent
Succeeded by W.W. Grave
Personal details
Born Thomas Weston Johns Taylor
(1895-10-02)2 October 1895
Little Ilford, Essex, England
Died 29 August 1953(1953-08-29) (aged 57)
Italy
Spouse(s) Rosamund Georgina (m. 1922)
Alma mater Brasenose College, Oxford
Military service
Allegiance United Kingdom
Service/branch British Army
Years of service 1915–1919
1940–1946
Rank Major
Unit Essex Regiment
Royal Engineers
Battles/wars First World War

Sir Thomas Weston Johns Taylor, CBE (2 October 1895 – 29 August 1953) was an English chemist, academic, and university administrator. He was the first Principal of the University College of the West Indies, serving from 1946 to 1952, and then Principal of the University College of the South West of England (later Exeter University) from 1952 until his death in 1953. He had previously been a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford (1920–1946) and a lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Oxford (1927–1946). He saw active service in the British Army during both World Wars.

Early life and educationEdit

Taylor was born on 2 October 1895 in Little Ilford, Essex, England.[1] He was educated at the City of London School, an all-boys independent school in London.[2] Having received a scholarship, he studied chemistry at Brasenose College, Oxford.[3] His university studies were interrupted by military service during the First World War.[1] He returned to Oxford after the war, and graduated with a first class Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1920.[1] He was later awarded a Doctor of Science (DSc) degree by the University of Oxford.[2]

Military serviceEdit

First World WarEdit

On 20 April 1915, having trained with the Officers Training Corps, Taylor was commissioned into the Essex Regiment as a second lieutenant (on probation).[4] He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, Essex Regiment.[4] His commission and rank were confirmed in September 1915.[5] He saw active service on the Western Front in France, and also at Gallipoli.[2] He was wounded twice at Gallipoli.[6]

Second World WarEdit

When the Second World War broke out, Taylor returned to the British Army, and was commissioned as a lieutenant on 14 January 1940.[7] On 12 January 1941, he was assigned to the Royal Engineers and promoted to war substantive captain.[8] He served in its chemical warfare branch,[1][6] and was posted to the Middle East until 1943.[1] While a temporary major, he was mentioned in despatches "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services in the Middle East during the period November 1941 to April 1942".[9]

In 1943, Taylor moved to the United States where he had been appointed Director of the British Central Scientific Office (BCSO) in Washington, DC.[1][6] The role of the BCSO was to undertake varied scientific research in relation to the war, and to cooperate with American scientists.[10] He undertook research as varied as insecticides, paper parachutes, and shark repellents.[1] Then, from 1944 to the end of the war, he was assigned to South East Asia Command as Head of the Operational Research Division.[6]

Academic careerEdit

In 1920, Taylor was elected a Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford; his alma mater.[2] In 1927, he was additionally appointed a lecturer in organic chemistry at the University of Oxford.[1] As a researcher he specialised in stereochemistry, but his made his name as an excellent teacher.[1][3] He was a demonstrator in organic chemistry at the Dyson Perrins Laboratory.[11] Among his students at Brasenose College was William Golding, who would move from studying science to literature and later won the Nobel Prize in Literature.[12] Among those he supervised at Dyson Perrins Laboratory was Rosemary Murray; later Dame Rosemary and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge.[13]

Following the end of the Second World War, Taylor moved into academic administration: he had learnt during the war that he was a very capable administrator.[1] In 1946, he was selected as the first Principal of the University College of the West Indies in Jamaica.[11] His duties involved building up the university college, establishing it in a difficult political climate, and solidifying its finances.[1] He was successful, and was knighted for his efforts in 1952.[1][14] He left the Caribbean to return to England, where he had been appointed Principal of the University College of the South West of England (later to become the University of Exeter) in July 1952.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1922, Taylor married Rosamund Georgina Lloyd.[2] They had no children.[1]

On 29 August 1953, Taylor died suddenly while on holiday in Italy: he was 57 years old.[3][16]

HonoursEdit

On 23 May 1946, Taylor was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) "for services to the forces".[17] In the 1952 Queen's Birthday Honours, he was appointed a Knight Bachelor, and therefore granted the title sir, in recognition of his work as Principal of the University College of the West Indies.[14] He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II during a service at Buckingham Palace on 8 July 1952.[18]

Selected worksEdit

  • Sidgwick, Nevil; Taylor, T. W. J.; Baker, Wilson (1937). The Organic Chemistry of Nitrogen (2nd ed.). Oxford: Clarendon Press. 

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 "Taylor, Sir Thomas Weston Johns". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. Digital object identifier:10.1093/ref:odnb/36439.  (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 "Taylor, Sir Thomas (Weston Johns)". Oxford University Press. 1 December 2007. http://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540891.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-243596. Retrieved 20 February 2019. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Millott, Norman (10 October 1953). "OBITUARIES - Sir Thomas Taylor, C.B.E." (pdf). pp. 652–653. https://www.nature.com/articles/172652b0.pdf. Retrieved 20 February 2019. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 29135. p. 3820. 16 April 1915.
  5. {{London Gazette |issue= 29304 |date= 21 September 1915 |startpage= 9330|}
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 "Sir Thomas Taylor". The Times. 1 September 1953. p. 8. 
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  8. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 35144. p. 2358. 22 April 1941.
  9. {{London Gazette |issue= 35697 |date= 8 September 1942 |startpages= 3951–3952|}
  10. Klaus Gottstein (17 December 2018). Catastrophes and Conflicts: Scientific Approaches to Their Control. Taylor & Francis. pp. 169. ISBN 978-0-429-85964-9. https://books.google.com/books?id=4Xp_DwAAQBAJ&pg=PT169. 
  11. 11.0 11.1 "University College of the West Indies: Dr. T. W. J. Taylor, C.B.E". 9 November 1946. pp. 659–659. Digital object identifier:10.1038/158659b0. https://www.nature.com/articles/158659b0. Retrieved 20 February 2019. 
  12. Carey, John (2009). William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies. New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-4391-8732-6. 
  13. Alison Wilson (11 June 2014). Changing Women's Lives: A Biography of Dame Rosemary Murray. Andrews UK Limited. p. 205. ISBN 978-1-910065-34-1. https://books.google.com/books?id=UPO7BAAAQBAJ&pg=PT205. 
  14. 14.0 14.1

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  15. "University College Principals". The Times. 30 July 1952. p. 8. 
  16. "University head dies on holiday". The Daily Mail. 1 September 1953. p. 5. 
  17. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 37574. p. 2441. 21 May 1946.
  18. {{London Gazette |issue= 39594 |date= 11 July 1952 |startpage= 3748|}

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