Official Association of Britain’s Brigade of Gurkhas

News and updates from around the world

Brigadier Tony Taggart (2/3 GR) – obituary

22nd February 2016

Army officer who nearly lost a leg while attacking an enemy strongpoint in Italy

(Obituary courtesy of the Telegraph)

Tony Taggart, Cairo 1943

Tony Taggart, Cairo 1943

On July 13 1944, Taggart was in command of a company of 2nd Battalion 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles (2/3 GR). He was ordered to capture a strategic strongpoint near Città di Castello, north of Perugia, before a battalion attack on Monte delle Gorgacce.

Taggart came under intense fire from machine guns as he led the attack. His three platoon commanders were killed but his company took two prisoners, seized five machine guns and caused the enemy considerable losses. While he and his men were on the objective, they came under heavy mortar fire and shelling for three hours.

He knew how vital it was to hold the position and moved around encouraging his men until he was severely wounded in the leg. He refused to be evacuated until he could hand over command in the knowledge that his company would drive off a counter-attack. The citation for the award of an Immediate MC paid tribute to his courage and inspiring leadership.

Tony Taggart, left, with his brother Peter in Cairo, 1943Tony Taggart, left, with his brother Peter in Cairo, 1943

Anthony Brand Taggart and his twin sister were born on September 28 1918 in Shanghai where their father worked for the Chartered Bank. Tony went to Marlborough, then Sandhurst for 18 months and on to Ambala, India.

In 1940, he joined 2/3 GR at Wana on the North-West Frontier. He saw action with the battalion in Iraq in 1942 and then moved to Egypt. In fierce fighting near El Alamein, his battalion was overrun by the Germans and he was fortunate to avoid being wounded or taken prisoner. In June 1943, he was mentioned in despatches.

In the action in Italy for which he was awarded his MC, his leg was so badly injured that for a time amputation was feared. He was evacuated to the Royal Infirmary, Liverpool, and was off duty for over a year. Shrapnel in his leg could not be removed and he suffered pain for the rest of his life.

After Indian Independence in 1947, he transferred to 1st Bn 2nd King Edward VII’s Own Goorkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles) and served with the battalion in Singapore and Malaya until 1950, when he transferred to the 2nd Bn 6th Queen Elizabeth’s Own Gurkha Rifles. In 1955, he was again mentioned in despatches. He served with the Brigade of Gurkhas as Brigade Major until 1959, when he assumed command of 2nd Bn 10th Princess Mary’s Own Gurkha Rifles.

After a spell as Brigade of Gurkhas Liaison Officer at the War Office, he commanded 48 Gurkha Infantry Brigade in Hong Kong. Command of British Gurkha Lines of Communication, Dharan, followed and his last appointment was that of defence attaché, Seoul, South Korea. He was an ADC to the Queen from 1970 until his retirement from the Army in 1973. For the next four years, he worked in the Foreign Office in London.

Taggart was a keen photographer and mountaineer. On one occasion during a trek in the jungle in Nepal with a gunbearer and four porters, the party was startled by a tremendous roar and saw a tiger lying in wait in a bush a few yards ahead. Taggart quietly asked his gunbearer to hand him his gun but, on looking around, he saw that all his companions had climbed the nearest tree leaving him to face the tiger unarmed and alone. Fortunately, the animal did not want a scrap and Taggart and his retinue withdrew without further incident.

He took many fine photographs during his time in Nepal, recording Gurkha soldiers and their families and his travels around the country. His albums were given to the Gurkha Museum in Winchester. He had many friends and travelled widely to visit them. He was chairman and later vice-president of the Britain-Nepal Society.

Tony Taggart was unmarried.

Brigadier Tony Taggart, born September 28 1918, died January 26 2016

Latest from Instagram


Sign up to receive Parbate magazine notifications directly to your email inbox.

You can unsubscribe at any time, please contact us if you would like to be taken off our mailing list.