Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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1533637   Sergeant Alan John Tait
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Dated added: 30/12/2015   Last updated: 27/12/2020
Personal Details
Regiment/Service: 103 Squadron, Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (British Air Force)
Died: 03/10/1943 (Died by accident)
Age: 28
Summary      
Alan John Tait was the son of Robert and Margaret Tait. He was born about 1915. He married Joyce Olivia Swenerton, possibly in Essex on 17th April 1942. Sergeant Alan John Tait was serving with 103 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he was killed in accident on 3rd October 1943. While serving as a navigator on a test flight for a Lancaster bomber, the aircraft crashed shortly after take-off at Elsham Wolds, England.
Further Information
Alan John Tait was the son of Robert and Margaret Tait.
He was born about 1915.
Alan Tait was the husband of Joyce Olivia Tait (nee Swenerton). A family tree suggests they were married in Essex on 17th April 1942.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 2nd May 1942: Marriages
TAIT – SWENARTON – 17th April 1942 at Woods Church, Magherafelt, by the Rev D Mayes, B.A., Allen John (Royal Air Force), younger son of Mr and Mrs R Tait, Augher, County Tyrone, to Joy Olivia, second daughter of Mr and Mrs J C Swenarton, Lisnamorrow House, Magherafelt, County Derry.
Sergeant Alan John Tait was serving with 103 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve when he was killed in accident on 3rd October 1943. He was 28 years old.
Lancaster bomber
While serving as a navigator on board a heavy bomber Lancaster Mark III, serial number JB436, the aircraft crashed shortly after take off at Elsham Wolds, England.
Sergeant Andrews’ crew had recently arrived at the squadron. It was recorded as a test flight. The aircraft was a new machine and had flown no operations.
Those listed as killed in the crash were Sgt E J Andrews, Sgt T H Clapp, Sgt A J Tait, Sgt W G Parker, Sgt H Featherstone and Sgt S Otty. In addition to the six men who perished in the crash, Sgt John Jones was the sole survivor. He was badly injured, but recovered to be posted to other duties.
The Lancaster Museum record has crash site as Turnpike Farm, Lincolnshire. The plane suffered an engine failure on take-off and crashed just beyond the airfield boundary at Turnpike Farm and burst into flames. The rear gunner was pulled alive from the wreckage although he was very badly injured. The remaining crew members perished in the blazing aircraft.
From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 9th October 1943: Roll of Honour
TAIT – 3rd October 1943 in England (as the result of an aircraft accident), John, darling husband of Joy (nee Swenarton) and much loved younger son of Mr and Mrs Tait, Castlehill, Augher, County Tyrone. Interred in Woods Churchyard, Magherafelt.
Sergeant Tait’s remains were returned home and he was buried in the family plot at St Johns Church of Ireland, Woods, Ballyronan.
The CWGC record Sergeant Alan John Tait as the son of Robert and Margaret Tait. He is also recorded as the husband of Joy Olivia Tait of Portstewart.
Read more
Relevant Cookstown Area Locations
No Location Region Location Notes Longtitude Latitude
1 Woodschapel Church Of Ireland Loop-Ballyronan Buried in Woodschapel COI 54.723661 -6.560358
References and Links
No Link Reference Map Doc
1 Forum discussion (RAF) Details of air crash
2 Magherafelt War Dead Also listed on Magherafelt War Dead
3 Swinnerton Saga - Vol 7, No 6 Family tree includes Olivia Tate
4 War Graves Photographic Project Photo of Sergeant Alan John Tait's grave can be purchased here
Cookstown District's War Dead Acknowledgements 2010-2021