Tait L S - The OldWinburnians

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Tait L S

WW2 individuals

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L. S. Tait

Full Names

Rank /Unit  

Years at Q.E.G.S.

Lionel Stanley Cross Tait

Royal Air Force V. R.


Date  / Place of Birth

Date  / Place of Death

Age at Death


Tuesday 1st September 1942  

Len was the son of Ivy Tait and was adopted by his aunt, Dorothy Dunn of St. Michaels, Central Avenue, Corfe Mullen.
He was tall, quite slim, fair haired and a sportsman.

In the winter of 1935, Len was in the Christmas Concert. Form IIIA opened the proceedings with a, "A Whitewashing Incident" from Mark Twain's "Tom Sawyer", in which he played the part of "Aunt Polly". The school play in the Spring term of 1939 was, "The Six Men of Dorset", where, in a cast of over 50 boys, Len played the part of The Squire.

In the Spring term of 1937 he Boxed for his house - Derby. Len was in the Boxing Competition in the Summer term of 1938 and he went out in the first round at Weight 13. Sadly, Len and both the finalists, were all killed within five years.
Toward the end of the Summer term of 1938 Len was in the Swimming Sports. The School Magazine reported, "unkindly weather" and added,"Those boys, therefore, who ventured into the cold stream, must be praised for their hardiness and courage. " However, he won the 160 yards (the short length of the river which was suitable for swimming, must have required the first half of the race being swum against the flow). He was forced into 2nd place in the Senior Backstroke and Senior 80 yards race. He was awarded a medal as Runner Up to the Senior Champion.

In the spring term of 1939 he was in the Rugby XV.

The first event of the Swimming Sports in 1939, was the Senior Backstroke, when, "... the spectators found Tait's efforts at floating on a staight line, very amusing." Eventually he won, with Jack Radford 2nd. "The most exciting race of the day was the 80 yards senior. Tait led for the first 40 yards at a very fast speed, he tired a little and Radford made a sudden spurt for the lead and, after a close struggle on the outside of the bend, Len lost to him." The Senior Championship also went in that order.

By this time he was a Corporal in the school Cadet Corps and won the Trophy for the Best Individual Shot. The summer camp was at Golden Hill Fort on the Isle of Wight, where he was a section commander and i/c a tent. He won the competition for best essay concerning the camp. [See below].

Two years later, by the summer of 1941, Lionel was in the R.A.F, in the Autumn he was in Toronto and a few months later he was under training in the U.S.A.

Once qualified as an Observer,(Navigator), he returned to the U.K. as Sargent Tait and was one of two aircrew from No. 24 OTU who took off from RAF Honeybourne, in the South East of Worcestershire, at 1945 for a night cross-country sortie in a Whitley V,  BD375. The aircraft crashed at 2355, due to an engine failure, near the goods yards at Honeybourne  Railway Station, to the North of the town, the RAF base was just to the South of the town.  The pilot, another Sgt. was injured, survived but lost his life later in the war, flying on Ops.

Sargent Tait is buried in the Corfe Mullen Cemetery.


NOTE. An account of the Cadet Corps Camp of 1939, written by Len and awarded a prize by Major Partington, was published in the School Magazine and is reproduced below.



I am suddenly awakened from my happy dreams by the Camp bugler blowing Reveille. As I wriggle out of my warm sleeping bag, I notice that my section are all half asleep like myself. We each crawl out from our tent on hands and knees, to be welcomed by the sun streaming down upon us. We notice, as we walk across the dew-sodden parade ground to take possession of a wash-basin before they are all taken, that the cooks are all hard at work, stirring the porridge and breaking up wood. On nearing the washing shed I am greeted by the merry notes of "Clementine", in which, I join with all my morning vigour. After we have been awakened by the refreshing wash, we tie up the tent walls and fall in for morning prayers.
After having gorged basins of porridge, eaten sausages to our Full capacity, and quenched our thirst with steaming mugs of coffee, we go and prepare our kit for inspection. When all is ready the officers commence to pull our hard labours to nought. While one master is inspecting our blankets and kit, the other goes down on all fours inside the tent. Suddenly the officer marches forth triumphantly from the tent holding high in the air one grape pip! "Two marks off," says the officer inspecting our kit ; this is followed by a howl from the whole section.
Within half-an-hour we find ourselves undressing on the sands of  Colwell Bay, while above us is the continuous drone of aeroplanes.  After a bathe in which everyone takes part  and  which everyone enjoys, we have a game of cricket in which over half the party takes part (not mentioning what happens to the rest).
When lunch is over we just manage to stumble over to our tents to get forty winks. As I lie in a half dazed condition, the just recognisable notes of "Drink to me Only" float across the parade ground from the  camp’s budding mouth organist. Suddenly without warning we hear the thunder of a naval gun that causes a stampede to the nearest vantage point. When we arrive all we hear is the echo of the last volley from the cliff.
Arriving down at the sea for the second time, I discover that the party is about to duck the camp’s most efficient section commander. Before I have time to pull on my costume, I myself am being pulled into the water by my section. The climax arrives when the master in charge of the party also receives a taste of his own medicine.
After tea and the changing of duties, we find ourselves free to do what we like for an hour. One of my pals suggests that we go down to Totland Bay, while another says that a spin down to Freshwater would be better. Before we know where we are we find ourselves going over the bridge into Yarmouth. On returning to camp we are greeted with the notes of, "Come to the cook-house door, boys," so I don't mind telling you that it is not long before we are all seated round for the last meal of the day, while overhead there is still a continuous drone, but not of aeroplanes, for wasps have taken their place.
After prayers, busy hands are carrying forms to the camp-fire site, for it has just been announced that there is going to be a camp-fire, the last glows of a crimson sunset fade in the west, we are all bellowing ourselves hoarse with the chorus of a well-known Yorkshire song , which later proved to be the most popular tune in camp, although "Poor Old Joe"  was a close runner-up.
While the remaining notes of the "Last Post" are still ringing in my ears, I realise that yet another perfect day at camp has come to a close.


Major Partington offered a prize for the best essay on the last camp.
The above account by R. S. Tait was considered the best.
The school is very grateful to Major Partington for the interest he shows.

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