Taylor, Arnold Joseph, 1911-2002

by Andrew Saunders

02 Jan 2018

Extract relating to military intelligence work:

He joined the RAF and was trained as an intelligence officer in the aerial photographic interpretation branch. Being based at the training establishment at RAF Medmenham put him in fairly easy bicycle reach of London and home. He was eventually posted to Algiers and, briefly, to Tunis, before arriving in Italy. Here he was to study aerial photographs involving counting the numbers of aircraft on enemy airfields, and later analysing German convoys over the Alps. In some respects this was a most fortunate posting since he was able to visit many Italian historic towns during his short periods of leave. Significantly, while travelling back to England prior to demobilisation in 1946, his train took him through Switzerland past a castle, subsequently identified as Saillon in the Vallais, ‘whose very stance’, as he later wrote, had seemed to him even from a mile away to have an affinity of form and line with Conwy Castle, different in scale as the two might be. This experience was prescient as a precursor for his future researches. Stimulated by this acute observation, Taylor was later able to point to other direct similarities between the Edwardian castles in Wales and the Savoyard castles in the mountains around Lake Geneva.

(See: List of humanities scholars who worked in military intelligence in the Second World War)

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