Where All Blacks Fell: The second in a series in 2015

Keith Quinn at the war time Underhill Cemetery near Messines, Belgium.

Where All Blacks Fell: The second in a series in 2015

8 May 2015

It is known that 13 All Blacks died in World War I. Three All Blacks died in Flanders Fields, Belgium. This year on a tour with my wife and friends I visited the three headstones of those who fell in Flanders. This one was at the Underhill Cemetery, near Messines in one direction and Ploegsteert on the other. (The Kiwi soldiers and others called it Plug Street in the same way the town of Ypres became 'Wipers' in mis-pronunciation.) The Underhill Cemetery was so named because it near to a spot that Kiwi tunnelers began to dig to undermine the German held town (of Messines).

The Inglewood-resident wing forward Reg Taylor died on the slopes leading up to the town of Messines. You will note his burial site is neat and ordered. That's because he was injured first and taken to a Medical Station. (Which is now a modern farm building you can see beyond the cemetery) When Reg passed away his body was taken outside and buried in an orderly row. By comparison to others he rests in a small but eternally peaceful place. It was moving to go there and see where one of New Zealand's early rugby stars lies now so quietly.

Reg was an All Black in 1913 for two tests against the touring Australian team in New Zealand. By 1915 he was en route to Army service in what was to be called the Great War. As a Lance-Corporal he died on 20 June 1917.

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