Monia TALAN (aka Tai) [1913-1999]

Submitted by David on Mon, 04/08/2019 - 20:09
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Hello all

I have come across the name 'Monia Talan' in some legal documents relating to the company Talan, Glemos as part of my research into the missing Lyall James Scott Glendinning. Could this be the same person? Other details for Monia Talan include:

- Russian nationality

- residence at 7, Douglas Apartments, Peak Road (1950) - is this the same as 7, St John's Apartments?

(A Mrs Alyson Talan appears at the same address at Peak Road  in 1952, but not sure how she is related. In 1957 she is recorded as living in London)

- Managing Director, American Lloyd Travel Service (1953)

- residence at 15 Peak Road (1954)

- residence at 7, St John's Apartments (1953, 1957)

- resident at 5 Stanley Beach Road (1958)

Also, associated with Talan, Glemos is Ernest S Moses and Lyall Glendinning

Interestingly the 1941 Juror's List records a 'Moses Talan' as Manager, American Lloyd.

Anything further information on any of these people, particularly Lyall Glendinning, would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!


Australia Electoral Rolls Woodfull Road, Lower Plenty, Eltham, Diamond  Valley, Victoria 1980

Monia Talan

Michael  Jonathan Tallan  student

Passenger List  22 March 1958 departing Honolulu

Monia Talan British age 45 born Russia 28 May 1913 Last residence Hong Kong

Victoria Australia Wills and Probate Record

Monia Talan died 27 June 1999 Whittlesea, Victoria, Australia Occupation gentleman


Public Tree Ancestry gives his parents as Mendel Talan and Sophie Pressman and wife Tania Ermachuvalavech who died 10 April 1979 in Melbourne

I have no connection whatsoever with this person or with anybody else mentioned on this page, but noticed that the word "Glemos"  in "Talan Glemos" may have been formed from the first three letters of the names "GLEndinning" and "MOSes".  I don't know whether this helps, or whether I have just been doing too many crosswords!

Details from his Naturalisation Certificate in 1958:

  • Full name: Monia TALAN
  • Address: No.24, Oxford Road, Ground floor, Kowloon, Hong Kong
  • Occupation: Company Director
  • Place and date of birth: Novonikolaevsk, Russia: 28th May, 1913
  • Nationality: Stateless
  • Single, married, etc.: Married
  • Name of wife: Alyson TALAN nee SCOTT
  • Names and nationalities of parents:
    • Max TALAN, father (deceased): Stateless
    • Sophie TALAN nee PRESSMAN, mother (deceased: Canadian by Naturalisation

Notes from Monia's son Michael:

I am Monia Talan's son Michael Talan. We live in Bundaberg Qld Australia . I have been intrested in seeing what was in Monia Talan's file. we all moved to Australia December 1978. However, Monia never became a naturalised Australian, when his British passport ran out he flew to Canberra and marched in with his MBE citation with him and procceed to inform the British Embassy that he was a British citizen with a MBE and needed his passport renewed which they did. 

Another story he told me was when he was in London during the war or it could have been at the end of the war, apparently non-british soldiers of the British Army had to report to a police station every couple of days. Anway, he walked into a police station to report and the police SGT saw him and told him as he was an British Army officer he was to come in the front door and not to use the rear entrance.

I stumbled across Talan's name while scrolling through the programme of the Centenary Dinner of the Shanghai Volunteer Corps (SVC), held in the Royal Hongkong Yacht Club on the 2nd of April, 1954.

Talan's name was mentioned on the Roll of Members, here's the description:

Talan, M., M.B.E. Jewish Coy 1926-1934

So apart from serving in the Z force and in Britain during the war, he was also a member of the SVC (Jewish Company) for 8 years before the war. Does anyone have any other records on Talan during his stay in Shanghai?

Thank you!


Passenger List Japan to Honolulu

Admitted 17 March 1958 Birth 28 May 1913 Birthplace Russia Nationality British

Permanent Address Hong Kong

Victoria Australia  Wills and Probate Records Monia Talan  Death 29 July 1999  in Whittlesea  Occupation Gentlemen

So... after my previous encounter with mentions of Talan during his service in the SVC, I stumbled across his name again while reading "Escape from Hong Kong" by Tim Luard, a book about the Chinese naval rescue mission of British troops during Hong Kong's surrender on Christmas Day, 1941. After some more research and wandering across the internet, here's what I can gather about Talan's wartime experience.

Prior to the Japanese invasion, Talan served in the Far East branch (I suppose there was an independent Hong Kong/ China office?) of the S.O.E. (Special  Operations Executive), aka the Z Force. He volunteered his service as an undercover under intelligence officer F W Kendall until the war broke out. Talan, alongside Kendall and another man called Colin McEwan escaped Hong Kong with the assistance of the Chinese Navy on Christmas Day 1941. 

According to "Escape from Hong Kong", Talan left China with Kendall in July 1942 and joined Force 136, another branch of S.O.E. in India. He was stationed in Calcutta as a general staff officer III and later as an assistant quartermaster general before returning to Hong Kong when the war ended. The book also included a few sentences about Talan's post-war life. I'll attach the link to the book's online free version here:

So, this turns out to be much more interesting than what I anticipated. It is quite certain that there's more to Talan's wartime experience somewhere on the internet. I'll come back and update this when I stumble across more. Does anyone have more to add to Talan's wartime experience?