Ron Taylor's service as a member of Britain's special forces during the Second World War will be honoured in Brighton by way of a blue plaque at Carlton Hill Primary School, which is now on the site of his birthplace.
Ronald Gordon Taylor was born on 2 October 1916 at 29 Carlton Street, Brighton, to Thomas and Jane Taylor.
Ron attended St John’s elementary school in Carlton Hill, followed by Varndean Secondary School and Brighton Municipal Technical College, gaining an engineering degree. He moved to London for work and joined the Royal Engineers of the British Army in October 1939.
Soon commissioned, he served in England as a military bridging expert before, seeking a more active war, he volunteered for S.O.E. in October 1941.
He received paramiltary and parachute training in Palestine and was posted to No. 1 Special Force at Monopoli in Italy, briefed as one of a three-man team to be sent to the COOLANT mission, supporting Italian partisans fighting the Germans. The drop was on the night of 12/13 August 1944 and the team immediately started sabotage training for the partisans and carrying out operations against the enemy. In November 1944 orders were received to cease operations and to prepare for final efforts the following spring.
In December the COOLANT team accompanied the Italians in joining up with Yugoslav partisan forces and they were flown out from Črnomelj in Yugoslavia in February 1945.
Taylor was awarded a Mention in Despatches and the Italian Partisan Medal. Postwar he resumed his successful engineering career, returning to Brighton, marrying and starting a family before moving to Surrey. Having settled in later life in Buckinghamshire, in 2002 he moved to Dorchester, but died there on 10 December, aged 86.
Capt Ronald Taylor of SOE’s Italian Section (No. 1 Special Force)
Research, photos and additional information courtesy of the Taylor family, Paul McCue, IWM, Unicorn and the Richardson Collection