Great was the respect and the joy by MOTH Crater Shellhole members when World War II Veteran Me. Esmé Taylor, turning 103 in May, was initiated as a returning Moth, on Sunday, 3rd March 2016. The proceeding was preceded by a presentation by Moth Chris Sonnekus on the war time experiences of “Tannie” Esmé in Egypt, England and South Africa during 1939 to 1945. In this period she served in the Union of South Africa Defence Force as a military nurse and later sister in Oribi and Cairo. In Egypt she did service in the 5th South African Field Hospital. Chris obtained most of his presentation material from a friendship booklet which Moth Taylor kept during the war years. In this booklet, kindly made available by Me Taylor, are entries made by grateful Allied Forces soldiers from New Zealand, Canada, England and South Africa, admitted to the 5th Field Hospital. These entries varied from; notes of thanks, humorous sketches of life in the hospital to poems and even a piece of music composed just for Esmé.
From the letters of many of these soldiers one can immediately deduct the “Tannie” Esmé was popular, hardworking, kind hearted and very strict. Bettie Grove, Manager at Witbank Sound Memory Cottages commented about Esme’s wartime adventure; “She had a life!”
Moth Taylor was a member of the Order in the 1980 – 1990 periods and served in Jiggerflea Shellhole, Coalfields. She was the first woman allowed to play in the, then men only, MOTH National Bowls Tournament thereby opening the way for many other Moth women bowlers to follow.
Her birthday will be celebrated on 27th May, 2016 a long cry from her day of birth in 1913.
A toast was charged by Moth members to salute this grand veteran in commemoration of her unselfish good work she carried out in the war years, healing broken soldiers in a foreign country. Another toast was requested for her adventurous spirit and duty to mankind.
MOTH Initiation “Tannie” Esmé Taylor