Victor Hubert Tait

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Sir Victor Hubert Tait
Tait-02.jpg
Tait in Egyptian uniform
Born (1892-07-08)July 8, 1892
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Died November 27, 1988(1988-11-27) (aged 96)
Service/branch Royal Air Force
Years of service 1917-1945
Rank Air Vice-Marshal
Awards OBE (1938), CB (1943), KBE (1944)
Other work President of the British Ice Hockey Association, 1958-1971

Air Vice Marshal Sir Victor Hubert Tait, KBE, CB (July 8, 1892 – November 27, 1988) was a Canadian-born soldier and airman who served with the Royal Canadian Engineers, the Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Air Force, and the Egyptian Air Force. He represented Great Britain at ice hockey in the 1928 Winter Olympics. In later life he was an executive of BOAC.

Early life[edit]

Tait was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the son of Samuel Tait, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Manitoba.[1]

Military career[edit]

With the outbreak of World War I, Tait joined the Royal Canadian Engineers as a sapper before being commissioned into the London Regiment in 1916. He was seconded to the Royal Flying Corps where he focussed on radio and aerial navigation. Tranferring to the new Royal Air Force in 1918 he was an instructor at the RAF's Electrical and Wireless School in 1919. After a period of illness Tait served on No. 4 Squadron in Constantinople from 1922 to 1924 as a pilot and wireless specialist. On his return to the United Kingdom, Tait was appointed to signals staff officer duties.

By 1930 Tait was back in the Middle East where he continued his work in RAF signals. In 1932 Tait was made the Senior Air Advisor on the British Military Mission in Egypt. At the same time or not long afterwards he was seconded to the Egyptian Army Air Force which he effectively founded, flying eight aircraft to Cario. The Egyptian monarch, King Fuad, was impressed with Tait and granted him the rank of kaimachan (lieutenant-colonel) and in 1937, King Farouk made him a Commander of the Order of the Nile.[2] In 1937 the Egyptian Army Air Force was transferred from British to Egyptian control and the last British Sirdar, Major-General Sir Charlton Spinks instructed Tait to relinquish his position. Tait responded by stating that he now only took orders from the Egyptian minister of war and after a meeting with the minister was convened, Tait was made air advisor to the EAAF (a position created especially for him) and promoted to group captain.[3]

Returning to the RAF, during World War II, Tait transferred to the RAF's Technical Branch in 1940 and was promoted to Air Commodore. After a spell as Deputy Director of Signals, he was appointed the Director of Radio in 1941, the Director of RDF in 1942 when he was promoted to Air Vice-Marshal. In August 1942 Tait was made Director-General of Signals,[4] a post he until his retirement from the Air Force in 1945. During the preparations for the D-Day landing and the invasion of Normandy, Tait was responsible for planning the attack on German radar stations and spoofing other radar.

After the War he joined the British Overseas Airways Corporation, working as its operations director from 1945 to 1956.

Sportsman[edit]

Tait represented Great Britain at ice hockey and competed in the 1928 Winter Olympics, the British team finishing fourth in the Olympic ice hockey tournament of 1928.

He was president of the British Ice Hockey Association from 1958 to 1971.

Selected honours[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ TAIT, Air Vice-Marshal Sir Victor Hubert, in Who Was Who (A. & C. Black, 1920–2008; online edition by Oxford University Press, December 2007)
  2. ^ Davies, David Twiston (1996). Canadians from Afar: Summing Them Up. Dundurn. p. 10. ISBN 9781550022520. 
  3. ^ Nordeen, Lon O.; Nicolle, David (1996). Phoenix over the Nile: a history of Egyptian air power, 1932-1994. Smithsonian Institution Press. p. 33. ISBN 9781560986263. 
  4. ^ http://www.dnw.co.uk/medals/auctionarchive/viewspecialcollections/itemdetail.lasso?itemid=53996
Military offices
New title Commander of the Egyptian Air Force
1932-1936
Succeeded by
Unknown
Preceded by
C W Nutting
Director-General of Signals
1942-1945
Succeeded by
W E Theak
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Philip Vassar Hunter CBE
President of the BIHA
1958–71
Succeeded by
John F "Bunny" Ahearne