Service number 153407
Born: February 3rd 1916
Died: June 9th 1944
Ian was born in Kensington, the son of Andrew Wilson Tait and his wife, Isobel Allinson. His father was a partner of George Touche, Accountants, and sometime Chairman of the British Aluminium Company Limited. He died in 1930 aged 54, leaving £529,266-1-4. The Taits were living at 10, Holland Park. After the death of his father, his mother moved to 18, Orchard Court, Portman Square, W1. His parents travelled to the United States, regularly, and his mother continued to do so. Ian accompanied her over Christmas 1935.
Educated at Harrow, he Matriculated in 1934. He was a member of the Oxford University Greyhounds and graduated in 1937 with a 3rd in History and became a barrister
In the summer of 1937, he married Denys Constance Le Maitre at St. Margaret’s Westminster. They had a son and a daughter. She remarried in 1948 and died in 1987.
At the outbreak of war, Ian and Denys were in the United States and arrived back at Southampton on the SS Manhattan on September 17th. The manifest gives their address as 22, Down Street, W. Shortly after, they moved to The Court House, West Meon, Hampshire where his mother died in 1942.
After OCTU, he joined the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders and was seconded to The Parachute Regiment, A.A.C. In late 1943, a special group, 22 Independent Company was formed for the planned landings on the mainland of Europe.
On the night of June 6th 1944, two planes left Brize Norton. The first was under the command of Major F.G. Lennox-Boyd who had graduated from Christ Church several years before Ian and was killed that day.
Ian commanded the other plane. He was killed on June 9th. He was Mentioned in Despatches
He is buried in the Ranville War Cemetery Plot IVA. L. 11.
He is commemorated on the War Memorial at West Meon .
The notice of his death in The Times on July 8th requested, “American papers please copy.”
Aircraft P 1383 - Albemarle - 297 Squadron
Captain Ian Andrew Tait (KIA 09/06/44)
Sergeant Frederick Scogging (KIA 09/06/44)
Lance-Corporal G. Fairhurst
Private Edward Sidney Gillum (KIA 09/06/44)
Company Sergeant Major Bernard McGuinness
Corporal O. Kendall
18.00 - All officers attended final briefing of R.A.F. crews.
23.00 - 2 sticks emplaned at Brize Norton. 4 sticks emplaned at Harwell.
23.30 - 1 stick emplaned at Keevil.
Brize Norton - 2 sticks emplaned and took off at Brize Norton in Albemarle aircraft, for DZ 'N'.
Time, 23.00 hrs.
1. Commanded by Maj. F.G.L. Lennox-Boyd, 2nd i/c Lt. M. More.
2. Commanded by Capt I.A. Tait.
Two sticks commanded by Capt. Tait and Lt. More dropped on SE corner of Dropping Zone.
00.23 - Maj Lennox-Boyd made premature & accidental exit SE of Dropping Zone. Has not been heard of since and is reported missing.
00.20 - Stick commanded by Lt. J. Vischer dropped across corner SE of Dropping Zone. This stick should have been dropped on Dropping Zone 'K', map.ref 1269.
00.35 - Lt. Vischer's stick assembled on Dropping Zone, contacted part of Capt. Tait's stick and set up 'EUREKA' beacon and 'T' of 5 lights. 'EUREKA' switched on to channels D/C, holophane lamp coding letter 'N'.
01.30 - All 3 sticks assembled at x-roads (125740) under Capt. Tait, with the exception of Maj. Lennox-Boyd and Pte. Newton (who re-joined the company 2 days later.)
03.50 - Marking of LZ 'N' for night glider landing (by Div. HQ troops) under Capt. Tait. 3 sticks commanded by Capt. Tait, Lt. Vischer & Lt. More set out lights on 3 separate landing strips. 2 'EUREKAS' were set up.
07.00 - The party made its way to company concentration area nr. Div. H.Q. at Le Bas Ranville.
Comment on Drop: All 3 sticks were dropped somewhat off the Dropping Zone across the SE corner. Sticks were slow - heavy loads & cramped spacing in a/c. A number of kitbags broke loose during the drop & were lost. No jumping injuries were sustained by any of 3 sticks. No 'EUREKAS' were compromised, but 3 were damaged by the drop.
Comment on Landing: Successful landing was made by most gliders, some overshooting the lights. It was later reported that the lights were clearly visible.
Two sticks of pathfinders from 22 Independent Parachute Company was to have been dropped on each dropping zone but, in each case only a single stick was accurately dropped. In three cases two or more runs over the zone were needed to deploy, one aircraft only completing its drop on the-third run, 14 minutes later. All the radar and visual beacons for dropping zone “V” (1 Canadian and 9 Parachute Battalions) were either lost or damaged, and one aircraft carrying a stick for dropping zone “K” (HQ 3 Parachute Brigade and 8 Parachute Battalion) dropped on zone “N” (5 Parachute Brigade) instead. Not realizing that they were on the wrong dropping zone, the “K” pathfinders set up their beacons and lights on dropping zone “N”. The result was that a number of Headquarters 3 Parachute Brigade and 8 Parachute Battalion (with their CLE containers) personnel dropped on to dropping zone “N”, before the “N” pathfinders, who had been dropped awry, arrived and erected their equipment some half an hour late. In addition, some lighting systems were set in standing crops, and they were not able to seen from the air.
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