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Nursery Raid Over Tobruk (Part 2)

Heroes Remember

Nursery Raid Over Tobruk (Part 2)

It was fortunate because our wireless operator had been able to get the set working. He had sent out an SOS and he had locked down the key which makes the signal keep going until of course it went into the water and we weren’t sure but we felt they must be looking for us and we sat in the dinghy waiting and waiting and waiting and finally we sort of caught the glimpse a way off in the thing, it looked like a ship coming and it was coming, it looked like in our direction. Of course, we stood up shaking, you know, didn’t make any difference, literally speaking. The kind of cartridge-type things we had for alerting were all wet so they didn’t work and we watched this ship, and it was a ship, coming and it was heading towards us and then it sort of started to swing completely around in reverse to be heading away and we thought, oh God, they haven’t seen us sort of thing. And what had turned out, it just kept going in the circle and came right back and started heading for us again. The young skipper, it was a mine sweeper, and he had been standing on the prow of the ship with his glasses up and as the thing swung around, he was just swinging it with the horizon and fortunately in the up and down of the waves, as he was there, he caught this flicker and, of course, a dinghy is an orangy kind of colour and he caught this flicker of colour and what we didn’t know is we were on the edge of a minefield and he had reached the edge of the minefield and was turning to go back because he wasn’t going to go into the minefield and when he saw this flicker of colour he said we had been on many searches and we’ve never found anybody, he said when I saw that I thought we’re going to see. That’s when they made the complete circle and they came for us. And when they came, of course, they were absolutely overjoyed that they had found us as much as we were overjoyed that they had found us and they got us onboard the ship, took us down below, got us out of our flying gear, gave us some escape gear and then said you need a hot drink or anything like this. They took us ashore, we were cleared by the hospital and then we had to take a train to get back to base and, of course, we were in our escape gear on this point of view and the navy hospital had cleaned our battle dress sort of thing, so we still had our battle dress available and I even had my navigation chart tucked in because I wanted to be able to prove of what we had done. We became at that point members of what was called the Wing Goldfish Club which was anybody who used a dinghy to save their life in an emergency became a member of the Wing Goldfish Club and we became members of the Wing Goldfish Club and we got seven days escapees' leave at the time.

After landing in the sea, Mr. Watts describes the eventual rescue and subsequent induction into the Wing Goldfish Club.

Jack Watts

Jack Vincent Watts was born on November 10, 1920, and was raised in Hamilton, Ontario, where he enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force on July 2, 1940. He flew on Royal Air Force squadrons throughout his wartime service, serving with squadrons 10, 462, 109 and 105. He finished the war as a squadron leader and received the Distinguished Service Order (DSO), the Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) and Bar. He retired as a brigadier-general in 1975. On his return to Canada after the war, he played in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tigers and the Wildcats. He moved to Ottawa for his service career, and resided there with his war bride, Norma Zelia, formerly of Coventry, England.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
June 1, 2012
Person Interviewed:
Jack Watts
War, Conflict or Mission:
Second World War
Air Force
Bomber Command

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