TAIT, Mona Margaret Anderson

  1. Service Details
  2. Personal Details
  3. Unit and Rank Details
  4. Fate
  5. Commemoration
  6. Notes
  7. Sources

Service Details

Branch of Service
Army
Conflict
World War II
Date of Enlistment
13/01/1941
Place of Enlistment
Sydney NSW

Personal Details

Gender
Female
Date of Birth
06/02/1915
Place of Birth
Booval, Queensland
Address (at enlistment)
Newcastle NSW (previously Canberra ACT)
Occupation
Nurse
Next of Kin
Daughter of Robert and Maggie Tait of Darby Street, Newcastle NSW

Unit and Rank Details

Service Number
NFX76281
Final Rank
Lieutenant
Final Unit
13 Australian General Hospital

Fate

Died on 16 February 1942 at Radji Beach, Banka Island, Indonesia aged 27 years.

Commemoration

Memorial plaque, Canberra Hospital, now located at the RSL Headquarters, Constitution Avenue, Campbell ACT

Notes

Sr. Tait trained as a nurse at Cessnock and was sister in charge of the X-ray department at Canberra Hospital for three years prior to enlisting in January 1941. She was attached to Victoria Barracks for eight months before being sent to Malaya where she nursed with the 13th Australian General Hospital at Malacca and Singapore. She was among the last 65 Australian nurses evacuated from Singapore on the SS Vyner Brooke on 12 February 1942. The Vyner Brooke was sunk by the Japanese off Banka Island and some of the survivors attempted to arrange a surrender while the others remained on Radji Beach. Japanese soldiers arrived at the beach and after bayoneting the men forced the remaining 22 Australian nurses and one British civilian to wade into the sea where they were shot from behind. Sr. Tait was killed; only Sr. Vivian Bullwinkel survived.

Sr. Tait and Sr. May Hayman (a missionary nurse who was killed by the Japanese at Gona, New Guinea in 1942) were commemorated by a plaque at Royal Canberra Hospital. When the hospital closed in 1991 the plaque was removed to the RSL Headquarters in Campbell. The Mona Tait and May Hayman Memorial Prizes were awarded annually to the most successful candidates in the final nursing exams. The AWM has in its collection a letter written by Sr. Tait to Anne Burrows in Canberra in February 1942 where she mentions meeting Frank Burrows, Anne's brother, who died as a POW on the Burma-Thai railroad.

Sources

Arthur Ide, Royal Canberra Hospital: The First 40 Years, 1994
WWII Nominal Roll http://www.ww2roll.gov.au
AWM Roll of Honour Database
AWM Roll of Honour Circular
AWM Collections Record : PR01561, P02783_035
Stories from the ACT Memorial, 'Dangerous Seas', ACT Heritage Library www.library.act.gov.au/find/history/stories_from_the_act_memorial
The Canberra Times - 1 July 1944, 10 September 1949

Create Certificate
Mona Tait enlistment photo. AWM image P02783_035.

Mona Tait enlistment photo. AWM image P02783_035.

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