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Vice-Admiral Sir William Campbell Tait (1886-1946)

Oil paintings

Object connections:

Collection Oil paintings, Fine art
Gallery locationNot on display
PeopleDepiction: Tait, William Eric Campbell

Object details:

Object ID BHC3049
Description A half-length, full-face portrait showing Tait in his vice-admiral's full dress uniform with cap against a grey background. (William Eric) Campbell Tait was the eldest son of William Tait, a naval surgeon. He entered ‘Britannia’ in 1902. He served in the Pacific in the cruiser HMS ‘Grafton’ and in HMS ‘Drake’ in the Atlantic. Tait was promoted sub-lieutenant in August 1906 and joined HMS ‘Prince of Wales’ in the Mediterranean in May 1907 before transferring to the cruiser HMS ‘Flora’ on the China station that August. He was promoted lieutenant in April 1909. Numerous postings followed and he saw action in HMS ‘Collingwood’ at Jutland in 1916. He was promoted lieutenant-commander the following year, moved to HMS ‘Malaya’ and was acting equerry to Prince Albert. He joined the RY ‘Victoria and Albert III’ in June 1919 and was promoted commander in August 1921. He returned to sea in September 1922 after training, spending two years as executive officer of HMS ‘Hawkins’ on the China station. He was then training commander at Chatham and was promoted captain in late 1926. Tait undertook the senior officers’ war course at Greenwich before returning to sea in February 1928 with a series of four cruiser commands. He was then in the intelligence division at the Admiralty, on the China station, and commander of another cruiser, HMS ‘Shropshire’, in the Mediterranean. He was promoted commodore in August 1937 and rear-admiral at the barracks in Portsmouth in 1938, overseeing the mobilization of the fleet in 1939. From October 1940 he was director of personnel services at the Admiralty until promotion to vice-admiral in October 1941. He was then second in command of the Eastern Fleet before becoming commander-in-chief, South Atlantic, in May 1944. He was appointed KCB in 1943 and retired at the end of 1944 when he was made governor and commander-in-chief of Southern Rhodesia. He was promoted admiral in May 1945 and, in failing health, died at Government House in Salisbury on 17 July 1946.
Date made 1942-1944

Artist/Maker Roworth, Edward
Credit National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London
Materials oil on canvas
Measurements Frame: 925 mm x 775 mm x 65 mm;Painting: 710 mm x 595 mm
  • Vice-Admiral Sir William Campbell Tait (1886-1946) (BHC3049)
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