The Royal British Legion Scotland
Kirkwall Branch - Orkney Isles

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Allan Taylor

(Thomas) Allan Taylor was born in Stenness on 12th December 1929, eldest child of Sandy Taylor from Burray and Mary Ann Irvine from Stenness. The family moved to Virginia Cottage in Harray, where his sister Delphin and brother Bryan were born. Allan left school in 1943 and started work, as a checker on Kirkwall Pier. When he was called up Allan joined the RAF. He served at RAF Compton Bassett in Wiltshire, where trained and worked as a cook.

In 1949 Allan married Jean Anderson from Dundee, where they lived briefly and their first daughter, Sandra, was born. The family moved to Orkney, where four more daughters were born. In the early 1960s Allan joined HM Coastguard. While providing it with many years of dedicated service, Allan also ran a string of small businesses, notably second-hand shops. Allan served as an OIC councillor, from 1978 until he retired in 1993.

Allan continued to combine an active family life with community-centred service. Allan was a compassionate and sociable man, who enjoyed swapping stories on his wide range of interests. He recorded and wrote about them too, both in the local press and by publishing several books.

While Allan and Jean's home was always the hub of a lively family life, they both also worked tirelessly over many years to raise funds for two local charities, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Allan and Jean enjoyed 62 years of marriage together, until her death last year. Allan's followed just over a year later, aged 82.

Like my own father, Allan was an avid collector of material things, notably china ornaments, but also of local history. In the mid-1990s Allan joined Richard Shearer in appealing through the local press and radio for information on the about 700 Orcadians who died in the two World Wars. Allan's grandson Craig, then a young reporter, photographed local war memorials and Craig's mother, Sandra, typed up lists. These Rolls of Honour were published in 2000 in Howard Hazell's The Orcadian Book of the 20th Century.

It was typical of Allan's generosity that, when I visited him in 2005 to suggest adding a Memorials section to the new Kirkwall Royal British Legion website, Allan selflessly handed over all his research material and wished me luck with getting that done. As I move into my own retirement, I expect to still find much useful material in Allan's files to continue and develop his worthwhile project.

Brian Budge