X4.08.1941 No. 257 Squadron Hurricane IIb Z3164 Fl/Lt. K.W. Tait
Date: 04th August 1941 (Monday)
Unit: No. 257 Burma Squadron (motto Burmese: ‘Thay myay gyee shin shwe hti’ - Death or glory) 12 Group
Type: Hurricane IIb
Base: RAF Coltishall, Norfolk
Location: North Sea off Winterton
Pilot: Fl/Lt. Kenneth William Tait DFC. MiD. 40441 RAF Age 22. Missing - believed killed
REASON FOR LOSS:
On the 06th May 1940 during the Battle of France whilst with 87 Squadron the Miles Master that he was in and piloted by 23 year old, Fl/Lt. Michael Lister-Robinson 37300 RAF during a forced landing due to bad weather overturned after the brakes seized at Lille-Seclin airfield. Both the crew were injured and taken to hospital.
Another aircraft from the Squadron, a Hurricane flown by 32 year old, Sq/Ldr. John Scatliffe Dewar 26029 RAF DSO. DFC. also overturned due to the poor state of the airfield - he broke his shoulder and admitted to hospital. Later as a W/Cdr he went on to become an ace before he was shot down and killed on the 11th September 1940. With 213 Squadron flying Hurricane V7306 - some mystery surrounds his loss. His body was washed up on the 30th September 1940 - some reports state that his parachute had been deployed but that his body had many wounds from bullets - indicating perhaps that he had been killed during his parachute descent.
On the 04th August 1941 Fl/Lt. Tait took off at 16:15 hrs with one other from the squadron on a reconnaissance operation for E-Boats. During their reconnaissance patrol they came across an enemy bomber, a Ju88 and decided to intercept.
During several attacks on the bomber it seems that return fire had hit his aircraft. At 17:21 hrs he informed his control that he was having to bale out of his Hurricane. His location was give as 45 miles east of Winterton, Norfolk.
An intensive search was made for him but was called off having found no trace of aircraft or pilot.
Fl/Lt. Kenneth William Tait DFC. MiD. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 29. Born on the 19th November 1918 in Wellington, the son of William John and Helen Tait, of Hataitai, Wellington, New Zealand. A very experienced former Battle of Britain pilot with 766 flying hours logged and on his 116th operational sortie.
Others in this article;
W/Cdr. Michael Lister Robinson. DSO. DFC. Croix d Guerre (Belgium) avec Palme. Runnymede Memorial. Panel 64. Son of Roy Lister Robinson, 1st Baron Robinson of Kielder Forest and of Adelaide, and Lady Robinson, of Mayfair, London, England. Shot down and killed on the 10th April 1942 whilst flying Spitfire Vb W3770 ML-R (his initials) by Fw190’s from JG26.
W/Cdr. John Scatliffe Dewar. DSO. DFC. North Baddesley Churchyard (St. John The Baptist). Grave in the North West of the churchyard. Born at Mussoori, Lahore Province, India in 1907, husband of Kathleen ‘Kay’ Bowyer, daughter of Southampton politician P.V. Bowyer. Kay passed away on the 16th September 2001 at Blatchington Court, Seaford, East Sussex, England. They had no children.
Researched and dedicated to the relatives of this pilot with thanks to the research by Errol Martyn and his publications: “For Your Tomorrow Vols. 1-3”, Auckland Cenotaph, Weekly News of New Zealand, we also recommend readers visit the Battle of Britain Monument website for further details. Other sources as quoted below: