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Experiencing A Suicide Raid (Part 1 of 2)

Heroes Remember

Experiencing A Suicide Raid (Part 1 of 2)

Before I finished my first tour, we had transferred onto Halifaxes which are four-engine aircraft and one of our most outstanding raids at that point was when we went on what was really considered to be a suicide raid which was a night moonlight attack up in Trojjen Fiord in Norway where we had a low level attack on the Tirpitz. We had to go in at mass height at night as they say, in moonlight and drop monstrous big mines under the tail of the ship. We had to go to Scotland to a forward base in order to be able to reach Trogan and back with a load. When we went up there we waited for the moonlight and for clear weather. We went on the attack. It was a wonderful experience up to that point flying down the fiord at Norway and this was wintertime, it just looked like a, it was more like flying in an ice castle kind of thing, down the mountains on either side and water down the fjord and then we went into the smaller fiord, the open fiord where on the cliff wall the Tirpitz was moored inside on the edge of the thing while they worked on it and we had to come down as I say at 150 feet, drop these and come up. Everything was fine until we came into the small fiord, they had been alerted as to our coming and the fiord was full of white smoke. And we were flying, at this point we had to with the dive pick up 250 knot speed, 150 foot height in this smoke atmosphere. We were blind and it was like flying in snow, I mean it was just hopeless but the thing was you had to try and we had to try and time it from where we entered and drop our weapons and then you had to pull up to miss the cliffs at the end and then come back out. I don’t know whether we lost anybody on that particular one but by the time we got back at base at Lossiemouth in Scotland our air officer commanding was there personally to debrief us and after we were debriefed about this smoke and blind approach everybody was having a cup of coffee with a little bit of rum in it relieved by the fact that it was over when the AOC climbed up on the table and said, “Gentleman, Quiet!” he said, “I have something to say, He said, "I am sorry to tell you, we can’t be certain that the Tirpitz has been damaged or put out of action, so go to bed, we’re off tonight!”

Mr. Watts describes the dangerous moonlight attack against the Tirpitz.

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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