A Second War Memorial Group to HMCS Spikenard; Convoy SC-67 Loss
A Memorial Group to the RCNVR; Convoy SC-67 Loss - 1939-1945 Star; Atlantic Star; Canadian Volunteer Service Medal with Overseas Clasp; War Medal 1939-1945; and GVI Memorial Cross with Marine Suspension (D.J. WATTS Steward R.C.N.V.R.). Naming is officially engraved on the MC. Very crisp detail. Four medals are mint, in their original boxes of issue. Cross exhibits light contact, near extremely fine, in its hardshelled case of issue. Accompanied by a CD containing nineteen pages, including his RCNVR Attestation Form (Hostlities Form), Service Records, RCNVR Certificate of Service, Casulty Report, Department of National Defence Naval Service Letter, Letter of Condolence from the Naval Secretary, Navy Allotments Stop Notice, Accounts of Men Discharged Statement and a Memorandum to his Sister from the DND Regarding his Estate, along with a duotang of research material. Footnote: V/27265 Steward Probationer Dan James Watts was born on July 28, 1915 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the son of Charles James Watts and Julia Mary Watts. He had two sisters, Grace Elizabeth Watts (age 25) and Lorna Daisy Watts (age 20) at the time of his death. He lived in Saskatchewan, achieving a public school education, until 1937, when he moved to Toronto. It was here he was to take a job with The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company as a Clerk/Butcher. Watts enlisted with the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve on May 27, 1941 for the "Duration of Hostilities" for service in Canada and the High Seas. He started the next day at Toronto Duty Divisional Headquarters and remained there until June, when he was transferred to HMCS Stadacona in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was here that he was to find himself assigned to HMCS Spikenard on September 15, 1941. HMCS Spikenard was originally ordered for the Royal Navy, but commissioned in December 1940 as HMCS Spikenard (K198) in the Royal Canadian Navy. The corvette made a transatlantic voyage, escorting the convoy HX-104 to the United Kingdom in January 1941, to complete fitting out at South Shields. She finally entered service in May 1941 and joined Newfoundland Command as an ocean escort. Between 01.33 and 01.35 hours on February 11, 1942, German U-136 fired four torpedoes at the convoy SC-67 south of Iceland and reported hits on two steamers and on a corvette, later sighting debris and two lifeboats. In fact, the Heina and HMCS Spikenard (K198) were sunk. The Spikenard sank within five minutes after being hit on the port side in the the bow near the bridge. Her loss was not noticed by the other ships in the dark night and the search for her only begun during the morning. The commander, four officers and fifty-two ratings, including Watts, were lost. Eight ratings were picked up from a raft by HMS Gentian (K90) about nineteen hours after the sinking. In his Casulty Report dated February 23, 1942, it stated that he was "Missing presumed lost on Active Service. He was serving in H.M.C.S. "Spikenard" which was torpedoed and sink by enemy action on 10th February, 1942." He was officially declared dead on February 10, 1942 at the age of 26. His Accounts of Men Discharged Statement states that he "was discharged dead" on February 10, 1942 and that the RCNVR owed a grand total of $27.78. His father had died on February 8, 1931 and his mother died one week before he met his fate in the North Atlantic, on February 3, 1942. All correspondence from the respective naval departments were addressed to his mother upon his death, without them knowing she had pre-decesed her son. His Will dated June 12, 1941 named his mother as beneficiary, with a monthly pay benefit of $21.00 alloted to her. The Naval Allotments Stop Notice was issued when it was found that his mother had pre-deceased him the week before. The Department of National Defence Naval Service Letter dated February 23, 1942 and stamped by the National Defence Estates Branch on the 26th was addressed to his mother but once it was found that she was deceased, her daughter Grace executed the Will. Grace Watts also received his medals. Watts is remembered with honour at the Halifax Memorial, erected in Point Pleasant Park, one of the few tangible reminders of the men who died at sea. The Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) in the Second World War lost twenty-four ships and nearly 2,000 members of the RCN lost their lives. The memorial's inscription, in English and French reads: "1914-1918 1939-1945 IN THE HONOUR OF THE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE NAVY, ARMY AND MERCHANT NAVY OF CANADA WHOSE NAMES ARE INSCRIBED HERE THEIR GRAVES ARE UNKNOWN BUT THEIR MEMORY SHALL ENDURE".