The AIF Project

Robert Whigham TAIT

Regimental number2231
Place of birthNorth Melbourne, Victoria
SchoolKing St State School, West Melbourne, Victoria
ReligionPresbyterian
OccupationClerk
AddressLogie Street, Oakleigh, Victoria
Marital statusSingle
Age at embarkation21
Height5' 6.75"
Weight142 lbs
Next of kinMother, Mrs St Clair Annie Grace, Logie Street, Oakleigh, Victoria
Previous military serviceServed in the Senior Cadets, 47th Area, 1 year; Citizen Military Forces, 46th Infantry, 3 years
Enlistment date9 July 1915
Place of enlistmentMelbourne, Victoria
Rank on enlistmentPrivate
Unit name23rd Battalion, 4th Reinforcement
AWM Embarkation Roll number23/40/2
Embarkation detailsUnit embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board HMAT A20 Hororata on 27 September 1915
Rank from Nominal RollLance Corporal
Unit from Nominal Roll23rd Battalion
Other details from Roll of Honour CircularName given on RoH circular as Robert Whigham TAIT.
FateKilled in Action 14 November 1916
Place of death or woundingFlers, France
Age at death22
Age at death from cemetery records22
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
100
Miscellaneous information from
  cemetery records
Son of Frederick George TAIT and Annie Grace St. CLAIR (formerly TAIT), Logie Street, Oakleigh, Victoria.
Other details

War service: Egypt, Western Front

Taken on strength, 23rd Bn, Tel-e-Kebir, 11 March 1916.

Embarked Alexandria to join the British Expeditionary Force, 19 March 1916; disembarked Marseilies, 30 March 1916.

Appointed to Lance Coporal, France, 2 September 1916.

Killed in action, France, 14 November 1916.

Medals: 1914-15 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal
Miscellaneous detailsMiddle name incorrectly recorded on Embarkation Roll as William.
SourcesNAA: B2455, TAIT Robert Whigham

Print format