A Second War Distinguished Flying Cross Group to 433 Squadron
A Second War Distinguished Flying Cross Group to 433 Squadron - Distinguished Flying Cross, GRVI (1944); 1939-45 Star; France And Germany Star; Defence Medal; Canadian Overseas Volunteer Service with Overseas Clasp; War Medal 1939-1945; and Canadian Forces' Decoration ERII (F/L W.T.G. WATSON). DFC is date engraved "1944" on the reverse, CFD is officially engraved on the edge. Mounted to a suspension with swing bar pinback, as worn by the veteran, extremely fine. Accompanied by two black and white RCAF photographs of Watson in uniform and thirty-two pages with copies of his Service Records and Service Award Computer Card, plus assorted research material, including No. 433 Porcupine Squadron Operational Records from April 1944 to November 1944. Footnote: William Thomas Glenn Watson was born on February 21, 1921. He enrolled with the Royal Canadian Air Force Special Reserve in Toronto, Ontario as an Aircraftman 2nd Class on March 16, 1942. He trained at No. 6 ITS Toronto (1942), where he was re-classified as a Leading Aircraftman on September 25, 1942. He later trained at EFTS Goderich, SFTS Exeter, SFTS Centralia (1943). Watson was promoted Acting Corporal on February 22, 1943, then reverted to Leading Aircraftman in March 1943, before seeing another promotion, this time to Sergeant on May 14, 1943, the same day earning his Pilots Flying Badge. Now ready for action in the European theatre, he was in the Reserve, Special Section, General List, Pilot Branch of the RCAF as of January 31, 1944, seeing a promotion to Flight Sergeant on February 14th, then to Pilot Officer in March 1944 while at No. 61 Base, attached to 1659 Conversion Unit. Watson found a home with No. 433 Squadron, attached to RCAF Station Wescott on operations in April 1944. No. 433 Squadron was formed at Skipton-on-Swale on September 25, 1943, but was without aircraft for nearly two months. When these arrived they were the latest version of the Handley Page Halifax, the Mk III, and No. 433 worked up on them to begin operations on January 2, 1944. For the next year the squadron was continuously operational on Halifaxes over the Continent by night. In January 1945 the Halifaxes were replaced by Avro Lancaster Mk Is, and No. 433 used these for three months, by which time the war in Europe had come to an end. Watson saw his left wartime promotion, this time to Flying Officer in July 1944. Watson flew 36 sortis between April and November of 1944, his first as a member of a crew of eight on April 27/28, where he was 2nd Pilot. By the time May rolled around, he was Captain of his own crew of seven, which were to stay together for the balance of 1944. They included F/O W.T.G. Watson (Captain), F/Sgt H.S. McNab (Navigator), F/Sgt J.B. Paul (Wireless Operator), P/O J.F.R. Descent (Air Bomber), P/O J. Zareiken (Air Gunner), Sgt. R.D. Menzies (Flight Engineer) and P/O J.M. Cochrance (Mid Upper Gunner). They were to fly 35 sortis together, all of which are documented in the detailed accompanying 433 Squadron Operational Records (May 8/9, 10/11, 12/13, 20, 22/23, 24/25, 27/28; June 7/8, 10/11, 12/13, 14/15, 16/17, 21, 24, 25, 27/28, 28/29; September 6, 11, 12, 14, 15/16, 17, 20, 23, 25, 27, 28; and October 4, 5). Tragedy struck on October 5th when Air Gunner Zareiken was killed, the crew flying the remaining sortis (October 23, 28, 30 and November 1,2) without him. It was on the night of September 6th that Watson was to lay his claim to fame aboard Halifax III "M" MZ-845. The attack that evening was to be on the city of Emden. It was important, not only as a harbour but also as the main entrance to the Ruhr Valley via the Dortmund-Ems canal and the home of large shipbuilding and repair works. The Sortis Details for that night stated "No cloud, visibility good. Target identified visually and by red and green T.I.s Bombed at 18:34 hours from 16,000 feet on eastern red T.I. Bombing was on A/F and well concentrated. Large explosion seen at 18:32 hours. A/C on three motors from English coast out. Had to jettison 2000 lbs bom 5326N o538E, 18:15 hours, 15,000 feet to gain height as A/C was engaged by predicted flak. Brought back 4 x 30 lbs." This was a successful attack, with severe damage inflicted on a large scale throughout the city. Watson was awarded his Distinguished Flying Cross for his actions that night, as cited in the London Gazette on December 5, 1944 and AFRO 293/45 on February 16, 1945: "On one occasion, namely September 6, 1944, when proceeding on a daylight attack against the German city of Emden, F/O Watson was forced to feather his port inner engine when the oil cooler failed. This happened when the A/C was just passing over the English coast on the outward trip, but undeterred by the knowledge that he would have difficulty in keeping up with the main bomber stream and the protection resulting therefrom, F/O Watson continued on to the target and successfully pressed home his attack following which he succeeded in bringing his A/C back to base. By his courageous action and skillful and calculated handling of his A/C this officer set a magnificent example to the balance of the squadron." He had proved himself to be a cool and skilful pilot and a very fine captain, piloting an aircraft detailed to attack Emden in daylight. When crossing the English coast on the outward flight, Flying Officer Watson was compelled to feather the propeller of the port inner engine when the oil cooler became defective. Despite the loss of engine power Flying Officer Watson continued to the target and executed his attack. He received his DFC by Registered Mail on March 30, 1945. He was not the only member of his crew to earned the DFC. P/O J.M. Cochrance was the Mid Upper Gunner flown by Watson on the fateful night of October 5th, which was detailed for a minelaying mission off Heligoland in the North Sea. When leaving the target area, the aircraft was struck by a burst of machine-gun fire from an enemy fighter. A great deal of damage was sustained and Rear Gunner P/O J. Zareiken was killed. All the aileron controls were severed and evading action could not be taken, as the fighter closed in for a second attack. Despite this, P/O Cochrance withheld his fire until the attacker came to close range. Then, with a well-placed burst of fire, he shot the enemy aircraft down. It was for these efforts that Cochrance was awarded his DFC. At the conclusion of the sortis, he was transferred to No. 1 Repatriation Depot for Repatriation Proceedings in December 1944, before returning to Canada, at No. 4 Release Centre Toronto on Release Proceedings. He qualified for and was authorized to wear Operations Wings as of January 1, 1945 and was discharged from his war service on February 16th, credited with having served in Canada (March 16, 1942 to June 22, 1943 and December 22, 1944 to February 16, 1945) and the United Kingdom (June 23, 1943 to December 21, 1944), having served in the ranks in Canada and Overseas (March 16, 1942 to January 30, 1944). He later continued his service in the RCAF, as he was on appointment at the Recruiting Unit at Victoria, British Columbia in July 1952, then transferred to the Royal Canadian Air Force Regular as a Pilot Officer with simultaneous promotion to Flying Officer on July 24, 1952, in Air Service Fighter Control. He continued to move around Canada, even making a foray into the United States, including: No. 1 Officers' School, London Course (August 1952), No. 12 Air Control and Warning Squadron, Mont Apica, Quebec (October 1952), Canadian Joint Staff, Washington (duty Tyndall Air Force Base, Panama City, Florida, December 1952), No. 3 Air Defence Control Centre, Scarborough (February 1953), No. 2455 Aircraft Control and Warning Unit (Auxiliary) Officer Commanding Support, Secretary Officers' Mess Committee (March 1953), No. 5 Air Defence Control Centre, Vancouver (November 1955), No. 5 Air Division Headquarters, Vancouver, Flight Controller, On Shift Duty Controller (February 1956). He was promoted to Flight Lieutenant in January 1957. By the fall of 1957, as part of the new NORAD defence system during the Cold War, he was transferred to Station Falconbridge (Ontario) in September, taking on an number of positions (Controller, Officer Commanding "B" Part of Crew, Deputy Flight Commander, Air Cadet Liaison Officer 200 RCAC Squadron, Honorary President - Corporals Club Committee, Honorary Chairman - Corporals Club Committee, Entertainment Officer - Officers' Mess Committee, Assistant Housing Officer - Mess Committee). He is also on record as having taken a course in Electronics Warfare Indoctrination in February 1961. He was again transferred, to Station Lac St-Denis (Sector Surveillance Officer, Station Benevolent Fund Committee) in November 1961, then to Ottawa Sector, Edgar (Sector Training Officer, Nuclear Training Officer, Training Standards Officer, Squadron Control Operations Officer, Member Benevolent Fund Committee) in September 1962. Watson was awarded his Canadian Forces' Decoration on October 11, 1962. In May 1964, he returned to Station Mont Apica, taking on an number of positions (Fighter Controller, Station Ground Training Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Honorary President - Airmens' Mess Committee, Chairman Station Library Committee, Mayor Permanent Married Quarters Council, Unit Historian, Credit Union Director). Under the Armed Forces' Reorganization Act of February 1, 1968, Watson was re-designated as a Captain. He is listed as being "non-effective strength during terminal leave" in May 1968 at Canadian Forces Headquarters. Watson was discharged on November 2, 1968, having served his country for twenty-six years and is mentioned in "The RCAF Overseas" on pages 12 and 44.