Herbert Taylor Rock was born in 1886. He was the second child of William Edwin and Lois Jane Rock. (She had been Lois Jane Perry before her marriage). His baptism was recorded in Sherborne Parish Dorsetshire on the 26th November 1886. (We have been told that the name Taylor had its origins in a previous generation when John Rock, a farmer from Buckinghamshire married into to a family of Plough makers – Taylors of Warwickshire).
Herbert first appeared on a census in 1891 The family was living in Pool Tail Cottage, Swinfen Hall, Staffordshire. Head of the household was William Edwin Rock who was a 31 year old gamekeeper/ domestic servant. His wife was Lois Rock, 32. Their listed children at that time were Ethel 6yrs, Herbert 4yrs, Cecil and Gladys were 2 and May was 5 months.
The 1901 census records the family living at 10, Cook Lane, Doveridge, Derby. Another five children had come along (Jessie. Annie, William, Violet and Edith). William Edwin was again listed as a gamekeeper. We know from his army records that Herbert attended Derby County School but he had left home by 1901 and was working as a 14 year old house servant in the home of Mr Francis Clarke, a solicitor who lived with his family in a house called ‘Beechcroft’ which was in Lichfield, Staffordshire.
Lois Rock, the mother of this large family died at the age of 45 in 1905. Her death was recorded in Uttoxeter, Staffordshire (Vol 6b page 219).
The 1911 census records the family living in Breedon on The Hill, in the district of Melbourne in Ashby Z. William Rock, Gamekeeper was 50 and was a widower. The listed ‘children’ in the household were Herbert T who was 25 and an unemployed carpenter. Gladys was 23 and was the housekeeper. Florence 13, Edith 11 and Gerald 9 were all at school.
In 1913, William Edwin remarried. He married Mary Metcalf in Ellesmere Shropshire (Vol 6a page 1441).
We know that at some point between 1911 and 1915 Herbert Taylor Rock left the UK for Australia and that his father and his family moved to The Tenant Farm in Soughton, (Sychdyn).
Many thanks to Herbert’s nephew and namesake Mr Herbert Rock (The son of Gerald Henry Rock) for supplying us with some family information and the photograph of Herbert Taylor that we have reproduced on this page.
The rest of Herbert’s story comes from his Australian army records.
He enlisted in a town called Cootamunda which is in New South Wales. He was by then aged 28years and 10 months. His occupation was listed as a carpenter and he was unmarried. He named his father, William Edwin Rock who now lived at the Tenant Farm, Soughton, Mold, North Wales as his next of kin.
His army records include his attestation paper on which he swore and signed an oath of loyalty to the army. His medical Examination Certificate lists all the diseases and ailments he didn’t have. He is described as 5 ft 10 inches tall with a 36 inch chest, fair complexion, grey eyes with light brown hair. His religion was Cof E. Herbert consented to be inoculated against smallpox and enteric fever. The medical officer considered him fit for service.
On 15th January 1916 Herbert embarked on ‘RMS Osterley’ at Sydney and set sail for Egypt where he was initially based at Zeitoun which is a district of Cairo and was where the Australian military had a training camp. On the 6th March he was moved to serve in Tel el Kebir. Three months later he left Egypt on the ‘Kinfaint Castle’ which sailed from Alexandria and landed in Marseilles on the 8th June 1916. Herbert had arrived in France and within a very short time he was in the north fighting in the Battle of the Somme.
He was promoted ‘in the field’ to Lance Corporal 0n the 30th July 1916 and about three weeks later became a temporary Corporal because 1604 Corporal Butler was sick. Nine days later Herbert was ‘Killed in Action’
The details on this page have been gathered from the National Archives census collections UKhttp://www.ancestry.co.uk
and the Australian National Archives http://www.naa.gov.au