The AIF Project

David John TAIT

Regimental number1972
Place of birthInvermay, Victoria
SchoolInvermay State School, Victoria
ReligionMethodist
OccupationPacker
AddressLandsborough Street, Ballarat, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation19
Height5' 5.75"
Weight143 lbs
Next of kinFather, David J Tait, Landsborough Street, Ballarat, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed with the 71st (City of Ballarat) Regiment, Citizen Military Forces; also as a guard for 6 months at the local cordite factory before enlisting.
Enlistment date8 June 1915
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name22nd Battalion, 3rd Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/39/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A68 Anchises on 26 August 1915
Rank from Nominal RollPrivate
Unit from Nominal Roll22nd Battalion
FateKilled in Action 5 August 1916
Place of death or woundingPozieres, Somme Sector, France
Age at death20
Age at death from cemetery records20
Place of burialNo known grave
Commemoration detailsAustralian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, France

Villers-Bretonneux is a village about 15 km east of Amiens. The Memorial stands on the high ground ('Hill 104') behind the Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery, Fouilloy, which is about 2 km north of Villers-Bretonneux on the east side of the road to Fouilloy.

The Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux is approached through the Military Cemetery, at the end of which is an open grass lawn which leads into a three-sided court. The two pavilions on the left and right are linked by the north and south walls to the back (east) wall, from which rises the focal point of the Memorial, a 105 foot tall tower, of fine ashlar. A staircase leads to an observation platform, 64 feet above the ground, from which further staircases lead to an observation room. This room contains a circular stone tablet with bronze pointers indicating the Somme villages whose names have become synonymous with battles of the Great War; other battle fields in France and Belgium in which Australians fought; and far beyond, Gallipoli and Canberra.

On the three walls, which are faced with Portland stone, are the names of 10,885 Australians who were killed in France and who have no known grave. The 'blocking course' above them bears the names of the Australian Battle Honours.

After the war an appeal in Australia raised £22,700, of which £12,500 came from Victorian school children, with the request that the majority of the funds be used to build a new school in Villers-Bretonneux. The boys' school opened in May 1927, and contains an inscription stating that the school was the gift of Victorian schoolchildren, twelve hundred of whose fathers are buried in the Villers-Bretonneux cemetery, with the names of many more recorded on the Memorial. Villers-Bretonneux is now twinned with Robinvale, Victoria, which has in its main square a memorial to the links between the two towns.

Panel number, Roll of Honour,
  Australian War Memorial
97
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Parents: David John and Elizabeth Alice TAIT, Landsborough Street, Ballarat North, Victoria
Other details

War service: Egypt, Gallipoli, Western Front

Taken on strength, 22nd Bn, Gallipoli, 25 October 1915.

Disembarked Alexandria from Mudros, 7 January 1916 (general Gallipoli evacuation).

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 March 1916; disembarked Marseilles, France, 26 March 1916.

Took part in a raid on enemy trenches, night of 29-30 June 1916.

Killed in action, 5 August 1916.

Statement, Red Cross File, 56 Corporal G. LOGAN, 22nd Bn: 'I knew Tait slightly, he was about 5'4" to 5'6" in height, very fair complexioned and was nicknamed "Snowy". He came from Ballarat, Victoria, and prior to enlistment he worked at Snow's Drapery in Ballarat. He joined the 22nd. Btn. on August 27th, 1915 as a Second Reinforcement. On July 29th, 1916., the Coy. were in Central Trench G just near the old German narrow gauge railway line at Contelmaison (sic) near Pozieres, whilst deceased man was on fatigue in the centre of the trench he was killed by concussion. Informant did not see casualty but saw deceased lying there two hours later. This happened at about 2 p.m. on the 29th. July 16. The Unit moved to Sausage Gully shortly afterwards and as far as Informant remembers Tait was buried where he fell (half way along the trench). Informant knows nothing of a proper burial.'

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
SourcesNAA: B2455, TAIT David John
Red Cross File 2690106O

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