b. 27/03/1888 Dumfries, Scotland. d. 11/08/1918 Amiens, France.
James Edward Tait (1888-1918) was born on 27th May 1888 in Maxwelltown (Dumfries), Scotland to James Bryden Tait and Mary Johnstone. He married Jessie Spiers Aitken from California. In November 1915, he enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF), and was commissioned as an officer.
Tait received the Military Cross for his conduct on 9th April 1917, the day the Canadian Corps attacked and captured Vimy Ridge in France.
Lieutenant Tait earned the Victoria Cross posthumously for his actions while serving with the 78th Infantry Battalion, CEF during the first four days of the Battle of Amiens, 8th to 11th August 1918. When the progress of his company was checked by German machine guns in Beaucourt Wood in France, Tait rallied his men and led them forward despite the intense fire. However, a concealed enemy machine gun continued to cause heavv casualties until Tait charged the gun position alone, and killed the machine gunner. Inspired by his action, his men attacked the main German position, capturing 20 prisoners and 12 machine guns. This enabled the 78th Battalion to resume its advance. On another occasion, when the enemy counterattacked, Tait, although wounded mortally by an exploding shell, continued to direct his men in the defence until he died.
Tait was buried where he fell and is believed to be buried within Fouquescourt British Cemetery, France. He had a headstone in the Special Memorials section of the cemetery. His citation was published in the London Gazette on 27th September 1918. His medals including VC, MC, British War Medal 1914-20 and Victory Medal 1914-19 are now held by the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Alberta.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: GLENBOW MUSEUM, CALGARY, CANADA.
BURIAL PLACE: FOUQUESCOURT BRITISH CEMETERY, FRANCE.
James Tait's VC on display at the Glenbow Museum, Calgary, Canada (online photo).
James Tait VC is buried in the Special Memorials section Grave 8. (top right of map).
Troqueer Church, Dumfries
Maxwelltown, Dumfries and Galloway