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Robert William Tait
Able Seaman
Service No: P/SSX 22001


Robert's grave (click for a larger view in a new window) (44401 bytes)

The inscription at the bottom of the headstone reads: "Treasured memories of a dear son. His loving Mother, Father and Sisters"

Robert died when HMS Express struck a mine on 1st September 1940

On August 31st 1940, the Express and 4 other Mine-laying Destroyers left Immingham to lay an offensive field off the coast of the Netherlands. At around 23.00 hours almost to the point of dropping mines, it was reported by radio that there was an enemy convoy near at hand, which was to be attacked after the mines had been dropped. Before any mines were dropped, three of the ships, including Express, had themselves struck mines. Express was the first and some of the crew were picked up by the Ivanhoe, who then also struck a mine. Meanwhile the Esk struck and sank almost immediately. There was a considerable loss of life in all three ships, the Express lost 4 officers and 55 ratings.
In spite of having most of the bows blown off, the Express was towed back to port and eventually rebuilt.

Please contact Andy (webmaster) with any information.

Andy Wade (Webmaster)

Information provided by
CWGC and British War Memorial Project
Picture kindly provided by Len Simpson
Hon Secretary
Royal Engineers Association 
Hull & District Branch

Commonwealth War Graves Commission record:

Rank: Able Seaman 
Regiment: Royal Navy 
Unit Text: H.M.S. Express. 
Age: 20 
Date of Death: 01/09/1940 
Service No: P/SSX 22001 
Additional information: Son of Charles and Alice Tait, of Deptford, Sunderland, Co. Durham. 
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead 
Grave/Memorial Reference: Compt. 201. Grave 2.