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Sir Patrick Gordon Taylor, MC, EGM

Photo; PG Taylor & Charles Kingsford Smith.

Patrick Gordon Taylor was born in Sydney in 1896. In 1915 he was appointed temporary lieutenant in 26 Battalion CMF, replacing a man who had joined the AIF. Keen to be on active service too, but rejected by the AIF, he travelled to England at his own expense to join the Royal Flying Corps. 

He was commissioned into the RFC on 12 August 1916 and trained as a pilot. He joined 66 Squadron, flying Sopwith Pup scouts. In July 1917 he was awarded the Military Cross and was promoted to Captain, serving with 94 and 88 Squadrons. Taylor returned to Australia in 1919. During the 1920s he flew as a private pilot, completed an engineering course and studied air navigation. In 1933 and 1934 he was second pilot and navigator for Charles Kingsford Smith's Australia-New Zealand flights.

He was navigator on Charles Ulm's Australia-England flights in 1933. Taylor and Kingsford Smith completed the first Australia to the US flight in 1934. In 1935 Taylor was Kingsford Smith's navigator for the King George V Jubilee airmail flight from Australia to New Zealand. Six hours into the flight the starboard engine failed and the aircraft turned back. When the oil pressure dropped on the port engine Taylor saved the flight by climbing out of the fuselage, edging along the engine connecting strut to collect oil from the starboard engine which he then transferred to the port engine. 

He repeated the process five times and the plane returned safely. For his courage and resourcefulness Taylor was awarded the Empire Gallantry Medal. 

Official name: Medal of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for GALLANTRY (known as the Empire Gallantry Medal (EGM)). (The Empire Gallantry Medal was later made redundant and 'swapped" for the George Cross).

In 1939 Taylor made the first flight from Western Australia to Kenya. During the Second World War he ferried flying-boats from the US to Australia. In 1943 he joined the RAAF but transferred to the RAF in 1944 ferrying aircraft from Canada to Britain. 

He flew an RAF Catalina on a survey flight from Bermuda to Sydney. In 1951 he flew from Australia to Chile in another Catalina. He published eight books on his flying experiences. He was knighted in 1954 and died in 1966. Text from AWM

<<< Obverse has the wording FOR GOD AND THE EMPIRE and in the exergue (below) is the inscription FOR GALLANTRY. 

Reverse: Royal Cypher surmounted by a crown with the words: INSTITUTED BY KING GEORGE V within a border of four heraldic lions.

EGM (later converted to George Cross) Military Cross

Taylor's RFC uniform tunic.

Wool gabardine; Brass; Gilded brass; Silk; Embroidery cotton thread; Royal Flying Corps (RFC) officer's khaki wool gabardine service dress tunic with pleated breast pockets, with triple pointed flaps, and expanding pockets over each hip, with rectangular flaps. Oxidised brass RFC badges are fitted to each side of the collar. Above the left breast pocket is an RFC pilot's embroidered brevet (wings). Beneath the brevet is a ribbon bar for Military Cross, British War Medal 1914-20, and Victory Medal. All the gilded brass buttons are embossed with RFC and kings crown. There are four buttons down the front of the tunic. Six smaller buttons secure the pockets and shoulder straps. Each cuff has bears a vertical slash edged with khaki braid and two horizontal rows of the same braid. The slash has three embroidered rank pips for captain. The tunic is lined with khaki polished cotton and the sleeves with blue striped cream cotton. There is an inset pocket in the lining of the right breast with a maker's label sewn inside the pocket, reading, 'A S Taylor Esq / Nov.18 1916'. A similar pocket is set into the lining on the same side at hip level. Text and photo from AWM

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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces