AN ARMY major who made military history and was later awarded an MBE has died at the age of 81.

Peter Taylor, who lived in Milnthorpe, Warton and Nether Kellet, became one of the Army’s youngest sergeants at the age of 19 and was the first ever ‘non-Guards drill instructor’ at Sandhurst military academy several years later.

Awarded a Queen’s Honour in 1985 for his work to open a Territorial Army centre in Kendal, the father-of-three served all over the world, including Korea, Japan, Malta, Kuwait and Germany.

He was later commissioned as a combatant with the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), which was described as ‘a great honour’ by his son, Christopher Taylor.

“He was clearly a professional soldier,” said the 56-year-old, who followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the military police.

“He was very proud of his achievements and was proud to have been commissioned.

“He was very highly-regarded. So many people still know who he is and hold him in high regard.”

Major Taylor, whose grandchildren and great-grandchildren live all over the world, died at the Moorside Nursing Home in Lancaster.

He had previously lived in Milnthorpe and was a familiar face at the Milnthorpe Mens’ Forum and with the Storth Entertainers, where he most recently played Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady.

He was a founding member of the town’s art exhibition, enjoyed singing and badminton, and, in his younger years, beat a team from NATO in a competition in the US.

He later worked full-time for the Territorial Army and his work to open a centre in Kendal earned him an MBE.

After finishing his career in Preston, he moved to Warton with wife, Gladys, who died of cancer just as the pair were about to move to Nether Kellet.

He had also lost his eldest daughter, Gillian, to cancer in 1989 and was convinced he would see her again after his death.

His surviving children have described their father as a ‘true gentleman’.

“Dad had the values that sadly are now referred to as old-fashioned values,” said Mr Taylor. “He was honest and loyal and trustworthy, passionate, well-mannered and used humour to great effect.

“He would not shout or swear but could always get his point across all the better for it.”

Major Taylor’s funeral service will take place at Lancaster Priory on Friday, April 25, at 1.30pm.